I take a big interest in most aspects of web design/ development, coding and what the industry is doing. I get information about the subject in a few different ways. I attend meet-ups, I’m very lucky to be based in London, most days there are a few interesting meet-ups taking place all around the capital. They usual consist of meet and greets, informal discussion and one-to-many professional speakers on a given subject. Most of the organisers also throw in beer and pizza and nearly all of them are free, it’s a great deal. I usually go to these for guidance or help for something I use currently use, or for advice on something that I want to start using (I will go into more details on these at a later date). I think everyone in this industry is pretty lucky there are so many people that are ready and willing to help, it’s something I occasionally take for granted, until I speak to friends and family who do not have the same open and helpful community at hand.
I also tend to buy lots of text books. I buy many more eBooks than I used to, a few years ago I hated the idea of eBooks replacing my text books, I like to write notes all over them and enjoy flicking through to find what I need, however they are just so heavy and take up so much room. Carrying just the one text book around would usually fill most of my bag, and by the end of the week I would be walking with a slight hunch. I finally purchased my first kindle a few years ago and soon realised how much nicer it is to carry something so small and light. I think making notes of my laptop or moleskin is a small price to pay. They are also much cheaper; Apress have some crazy sales, and even Amazon seems to have some reasonably priced textbooks/ eBooks. These eBooks are great for when I want to go in to detail in a particular field, to really brush up on my skills and trouble shoot a problem I am having, but sometimes they are a bit too much to take in, if I want something lighter, more accessible and continually updating, well then I turn to the industry and all their feeds!
I subscribe to a lot of blogs and feeds, not just for my professional life, I also subscribe to blogs for news, technology, music. For every aspect of what I am interested in there is probably a lovely person out there writing a blog on the subject that both of us find interesting. At the time of writing this I currently read 81 blogs on programming. Lots of them only have one or two articles, or have not been updated in a few years, but the majority of them are a great source of relevant, new information. A collection of hints, snippets, introductions to new tech, outlines of different ideologies, and many other great nuggets of knowledge.
Obviously I would end up wasting far too much time if I was to check all these sites everyday manually, so I use an app. I’m currently using feedly to store all the feeds I subscribe to. I use NextgenReader on my Surface (this can sync and store for offline reading, great for the train), the feedly app on my android and the feedly website on my work desktop. It’s a pretty great service, similar to google reader used to be, It keeps track of new articles, what I have read and can link up to IFTTT to do some pretty neat things.
My OMPL file can be found here, it is an export of all my feeds (only under my programming label), some of the blogs don’t seem to be updated very much, and some are updated daily, but that is the beauty of subscribing to so many feeds, I constantly have news on a subject I find interesting. I am updated if something changes, bugs are found, etc. It makes staying up to date with the rest of the industry really easy.
A few blogs that really made a difference (in no particular order):
I truly believe without access to these great sources of free information I would not be able to code in the way I do, I would be years behind if it wasn’t for other coders sharing their trials, mistakes and breakthroughs. So I guess I’m saying thanks guys, you all rock!