Intentions for 2017

I hate resolutions, and I think they’re an utter waste of time. Resolutions seem like a one-off list of things to accomplish, they seem to rarely have any concrete action plans behind them. Perhaps that’s why so many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after a few weeks.

I kinda hate goals, too. As someone with the rebel tendency 1 it’s difficult to hold myself accountable to goals, no matter SMART I try to make them.

But I ❤️ intentions. Instead, I tend to note down things that sound interesting, add a bit of a description, and if I have the time / motivation, I’ll flesh out a plan of attack. For me, it’s a low-stress way of achieving my goals, while also keeping a list of things I can tinker with in my free time.

Learning

There is this weird snowballing effect when you first get into development. At first, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, I just need to learn some HTML, CSS, and maybe some JavaScript, and I’ll be good to go.” But reality often sets in after those initial lessons. You start feeling comfortable, and realize there’s even more you need to know, and it starts to feel overwhelming. I’ve finally gotten to the stage where I’ve accepted I’ll never know it all, but I still want to keep learning.

Learn JavaScript Deeply

I know everyone in the WordPress community has been banging on about learning JavaScript deeply since Matt Mullenweg uttered that phrase in his 2015 State of the Word. From a WordPress fan in the Bay Area, I’m interested in JavaScript not only because of the WordPress REST API, but because even Silicon Valley has been going nuts for JavaScript in the past few years. Learning JavaScript seems like a good way to future-proof my career (for now, at least).

I’ve had a lot of false starts learning JavaScript, but I’m ready to make 2017 The Year of JavaScript!

JavaScript for WordPress Master Course

Zac Gordon used to be the WordPress teacher at Treehouse, and after Treehouse decided WordPress—which powers 27 percent of the world’s websites—wasn’t a worthy technology to teach any more, he undertook teaching the WordPress community JavaScript. I was an early-bird enrollee for the course, but only recently started working through the lessons, and I’ve already learned a lot. I actually feel like I could drop jQuery in favor of vanilla JS soon! 😎

ES6 for Everyone

My employer, WebDevStudios, very kindly signed the front-end dev team up for Wes Bos’ latest JavaScript course. I worked through almost the entire first section of the course before deciding it maybe I should learn more about basic JavaScript before digging into ES6. 🔥

JavaScript 30

JavaScript 30 is another Wes Bos course, and another course I got partway through before deciding I need to take a step back to review some JavaScript basics. The simple projects I did complete were fun, and I’m looking forward to digging in again in a few weeks / months. 😬

React for Beginners

I feel like a fucking Wes Bos fangirl now, but I signed up for this course when Wes offered it on sale over Black Friday. React is the shit in Silicon Valley, and I’m not only excited to learn more about it, but I’m excited to learn how to build JS-driven web apps. And from what little I do know about React, this web component approach is very, very interesting.

Miscellaneous front-end topics

Not unlike one’s stock portfolio, it seems important to diversify one’s learning plan. While JavaScript will be the core focus of my 2017 learning, I’d like to sprinkle in a few other topics.

Front-end performance

Now that I have a more-than-reasonable grasp on front-end development, I’d like to learn more about writing better, more performant front-end code. I also feel like this ticks my maximizer strength 2 nicely—taking already good code, and making it better. ✅

CSS Methodologies & Sass

After exposure to several large-scale development projects involving larger teams of developers, I’ve developed an interest in better organization of CSS and Sass. There are loads of different methodologies out there including SMACSS, OOSCSS, and ITCSS, as well as different suggestions for methods for naming CSS classes (BEM, for example). I’ve already been experimenting with SMACSS and BEM, and look forward to sharing more of my findings in the future. 🙌

Test-Driven Development

This point goes hand-in-hand with learning JavaScript, but I’ve come across a few really great articles in the past few months about other front-end development tests (such as visual regression testing), and would love to learn more about these areas. Optimize all the things! 👩‍🎤

Passion Projects

I love having a variety of side projects. I find side projects to be a nice way to relieve stress, practice new language skills, and otherwise try out new ideas.

Redesign & Develop a new theme for this site

I hired my friend Clayton Gerard to design a logo when I thought I’d still be freelancing 3. And even though I’m no longer interested in freelancing, I am still very interested in updating my site, and utilizing the new visual identity.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz is a theme framework I started with my friends Braad and Jordan. We were hoping to solve two problems: 1) frustration with a shitty Theme Forest theme heavily utilized at my former studio; 2) boredom (because of said shitty theme). I’m basically the sole maintainer of the project now, but I’ve been actively working on the theme through 2016, and am hoping to merge my mega pattern-library branch back into master before the end of January!

WP Style Tiles

I’m really hoping to release WP Style Tiles to the WordPress repo before the end of the year. It’s in a good, workable place right now, but there are things I definitely need to tackle.

A To-Do List React App

How I organize my learning intentions in Basecamp 3
I use Basecamp 3 to organize and manage all of my intentions.

I know absolutely nothing about React at this point (other than a few passing mentions), but I feel like it could be a good candidate for making a little to-do list app. Right now, I use Basecamp 3 to track all of these intentions and each little step within them. It works wonderfully, but paying $30 a month for multiple non-revenue projects is a bit shit.

Managing These IntenTions

I listed a lot of stuff to focus on in 2017. One might say too many things. But that’s the beauty of intentions. I list out all the things I am interested in, and use them as focus for my free time, not a hard and fast list of deliverables that I need to finish by the end of the year (I’m certain many of these intentions will carry well into 2018).

If you have a hard time sticking with resolutions or New Year’s goals, consider trying intentions in 2017.