Sunday, February 26, 2012

haml, sass, North Carolina and Book Reports

Hey remember how I was going to do some new code related thing every day in February, and blog about it every day? And then I didn't update this blog for three weeks? WHOOPS! CODETOBER is dead in the water, but I'm still coding. I promise!

So here's what's been going on. My new schedule has proven to be too busy to blog or work on other things as much.

Last week most of Expected Behavior (minus Michael) headed to North Carolina on a business trip. My buddy Joel (what's up Joel) loaned me several design related books:

Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Don't Make Me Think was probably the most useful of the books I read last week. Tons of great advice about UI design, and common mistakes to avoid. It's a few years old (and the age definitely shows in a few places) but it's still a great resource.

Handcrafted CSS: More Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cedarholm

Handcrafted CSS is definitely my favorite book I read. I've always loved web design, and I've always wished I knew more about it. Last week was a great chance to work on my design chops, and this book explored graceful degradation, css frameworks and other easily applicable ideas.

Fluid Web Typography by Jason Cranford Teague

Fluid Web Typography is mostly about typography (WEIRD) and while I still haven't finished this book, I've been interested in fonts and typography for a few years now. I'm sorry I can't provide a more in-depth book report on this one.

I read through Don't Make Me Think on the way to North Carolina, and Handcrafted CSS on the way home. I also started Fluid Web Typography, but that was enough reading for one car trip.

I spent a lot of time working with haml and sass last week, so I don't want to give the impression that I'm not coding these days. I don't typically enjoy reading through less practical books, but I picked up a lot of great ideas from reading through these books. And I've always loved web design, and getting to work on redesigning our product StatRaptor was pretty awesome. I'm not as far along as I'd like to be with the redesign, but I've made a lot of progress.

And I'm still using Emacs, since it's not as intimidating now that I know how to do some basic things like open and save files, switch buffers, kill buffers, and so on. I still feel I'd be a bit more productive using TextMate or Sublime Text, but I don't think Emacs is tripping me up as much as I thought it would a few weeks ago.

So that's where I am with coding now. It's awesome to work on interesting problems. But that's what coding SHOULD be about, right?

Lastly, I am absolutely STARVED for more book recommendations. I'm planning to finish up Fluid Web Typography, then dive back into the Pragmatic Programmer. What other books should I be reading? I'm especially interested in web and user interface design books, but anything, anything, ANYTHING you've found valuable is highly appreciated.