Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew

co-founder of Perch CMS Joined over 6 years ago

  • 7 stories
  • Posted to How can i upgrade my skills about CSS layout? (A Learning Path?), Dec 04, 2017

    There is some excellent free material on MDN.

    I have a whole bunch of material on Grid over at Grid by Example including a free video tutorial.

    People like Flexbox Froggy and Grid Garden to learn by playing.

    Some stuff about using Grid or other new things while supporting older browsers here.

    A couple of paid things I have put together:

    My recent book covers modern layout, explaining how shiny things like Flexbox and Grid fit together with existing layout methods - The New CSS Layout.

    I have a course which essentially covers the whole gamut of layout stuff. The CSS Workshop - here is the TOC.

    2 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Brad Frost , Apr 07, 2016

    It mostly comes down to being willing to sit down and just do the stuff. My main talent has always been showing up and working hard, however it has generally been the case that this approach has served me well, even when other people are far more talented than I am at the actual work itself.

    I try and mix up my days, there are always tasks I like doing and those I don't. So even if I have to work a long day I try not to make it all about some task I hate, and instead spend a chunk of the day dealing with the boring thing and look forward to doing something I enjoy.

    I have a context in OmniFocus for tasks to do when my brain has stopped working. If everything I try and do isn't working due to brain fog, I switch to that stuff.

    I do think that we make time for things we believe to be important and if I am procrastinating something, if it constantly gets pushed back in my list, at some point I take a good look at it and see if it really is an important thing to do.

    I make use of odd bits of time - again by having all the things I need to do in OmniFocus. So if I'm waiting for someone to call, or I'm sat at the airport, or I've got 30 minutes before I need to head out to a meeting, I'll be doing something.

    I also make sure that I'm set up for all my different projects, and I do that by using Virtual Machines with Vagrant. So whenever I need to switch to something different I just vagrant up that VM and can work on it, those environments are also in Git so I can grab them on my laptop when I'm on the road.

    So that's a bit of a brain dump! Productivity is very personal I think, and I'm certainly wired up to be able to multi-task, I like being busy, and am also one of those fortunate people who genuinely doesn't need a lot of sleep.

    3 points
  • Posted to Being tired isn’t a badge of honor, in reply to Bryce Driesenga , Apr 06, 2016

    Plenty of self control - that's why I don't waste time on them :)

    5 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Chris Droom , Apr 06, 2016

    Hi Chris

    I think this reliance on frameworks has increased and it very much is to do with the fact that layout on the web is a mess of hacks. I completely understand that - especially being a person who runs a business as well as a CSS nerd. I'm using Foundation for a site I'm building now - I live in the real world too.

    I also don't think this stuff is bad, I do think that people outsource their understanding to it though. There is a world of difference in the person who has a job to do, and uses one of these tools because it is a good choice given their understanding of that job and the person who uses the tool because it is the only way they know to do layout.

    I'm finding more and more that people who are working professionally on the web don't understand the basics. Don't understand how to build a simple floated layout for example. That's worrying and leads onto your second point, because if people don't understand CSS it will be hard for them to make the leap that moving from old methods to new methods requires.

    I think we will see a lot of CSS Grid based frameworks initially that try and map CSS Grid Layout to the markup-centric model we see in Bootstrap etc. (assuming not using Sass to replace the presentational classnames to something more semantic). Hopefully we will also see more people exploring the new abilities that being able to define and redefine your layout right there in the CSS brings - and I'm looking forward to that!

    2 points
  • Posted to Being tired isn’t a badge of honor, in reply to Dan Tilden , Apr 06, 2016

    There is a definite difference between video games and TV though. I get sucked into strategy games, I don't start playing them because I'd get obsessed and they would become a real time sink. I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do it is basically to get the code out of my brain so I can go to sleep without dreaming in PHP or CSS or something :D so it's not a time sink, it's a wind down, the opposite really of what games would do for me.

    3 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Greg Smith , Apr 06, 2016

    Thanks Greg!

    0 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Kyle Bavender , Apr 06, 2016

    Thanks Kyle

    firstly that you don't need to start acting like some sort of inspirational speaker, to be a good speaker and educator. I feel exactly as you stated "Sharing & teaching with others brings me a lot of joy" so that's my aim when I get up on stage. The same aim I have when I write an article, and I've been a writer a lot longer than I've been a teacher. There are plenty of people on the conference circuit who deliver far more "wow factor" that I do, and that's fine as the sort of talks I do tend to be about teaching and sharing knowledge. A good event will have a mix of people speaking to create balance.

    I shook so hard I could barely operate my remote in my first few talks, it really does get easier with practice. So find local meetups and small events, and get into the habit of standing up in front of people. Just doing it makes it a bit easier each time. As you start to relax more you find you are able to get your personality across, and to do things off the cuff. I still have a full script for every single talk, even if I don't use it, it is there if I lose my thread and need to centre myself again.

    Practice far more than you believe is reasonable :) being confident in your material is key.

    In terms of your local meetups being more dev or UX, you can probably come up with some material useful to that audience, given that developers often have to do design things, CSS is useful to everyone. So don't assume that the things you talk about won't be interesting to that audience - it might just be that you need to have a different take on it.

    And a general tip for speaking introverts, don't feel bad for taking time to recharge. For me it will be finding spots in the schedule when I can go hide for a while, getting out for an early run, getting up early and having breakfast alone to think about the day. If I don't do that I get all peopled out pretty quickly. I love all of the conversations that come up when I'm speaking so I try and save energy for the breaks and places when attendees want to be able to chat with speakers. I want to be able to be there then, so I don't feel bad about doing brief vanishing acts to make that possible :)

    6 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Andrew Zimmerman , Apr 06, 2016

    With CSS Grid there is really no reason to describe your layout in markup in the way that things like the Bootstrap Grid will do. You don't even need a preprocessor to work with a 12 or 16 column flexible grid right in your CSS.

    Here's an example: http://gridbyexample.com/examples/code/layout12.html

    We're seeing a lot of Bootstrap-a-like markup based layout systems right now, I hope that people will understand the different paradigm of Grid, and start putting layout into the CSS as opposed to embedding it in markup.

    1 point
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Ryan Glover , Apr 06, 2016

    Thanks Ryan,

    The original article for anyone else following along: http://alistapart.com/article/the-high-price-of-free

    I work on the things I think are important, so that's mostly the driver. I think it is the same for anyone who is contributing to the open web, or to open source projects, or writing tutorials and so on. We care about this stuff.

    However I also care a lot about people being able to sustain themselves as independent professionals and businesses, as I think indie voices are very important in any industry. I try and ignore people complaining when I charge for something I do, point them to all the free stuff I've released instead.

    I also try and support other independent people. So I'll buy products from people I know are also doing cool stuff for the community, or if I don't need what they are selling I'll tweet about it and pass on the details to my networks. I try and recommend good people to good people and products as much as possible, that doesn't cost me anything and helps to support the things folk are doing. I think that's something everyone can actively do - even without money to throw at the actual products people are selling.

    2 points
  • Posted to AMA: I'm Rachel Andrew, co-founder of Perch, web developer, writer and speaker, in reply to Andrew Zimmerman , Apr 06, 2016

    Hi Andrew,

    I'm actually going to reply with a link to a recent blog post as I answer exactly this question with code examples. Have a look at https://rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2016/03/30/should-i-use-grid-or-flexbox/

    The key things to remember is that Flexbox is for laying things out in a row or a column, if you want to control both rows AND columns, you need grid.

    In terms of browser support, there is a lot of support for Grid in browsers it just hasn't shipped from behind a browser flag yet. I'm trying to keep up to date with where things are with grid and browser support on this page http://gridbyexample.com/browsers/

    1 point
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