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Yesterday I got an email from a reader that meshes perfectly with what I presented on earlier in the week. Here is his email:
I understand other people's code but I am not able to write my own yet. I also find overwhelming the amount of new libraries that are born every day and I do not know where I should start.
While that is unfortunate, it is at least a good thing that you recognize what you're doing. I know I've done this myself many times in the past but I try to at least flag the respective technology/routine/library/etc for follow up as soon as possible.
I'm spending time next week working with SVG and their guide will be my primary learning resource.
One more point I'll make here. For me, nothing "sticks" code-wise until I open up an editor and write a quick sample. Hell, I'll even do it for something as simple as document.writeln(new Date()). Just being able to see it run and see the output in my own browser makes it persist a bit better in my brain. I also like having these sample files so that I can experiment with them later and see what happens (i.e. what breaks) when I try new things.
Pro Tip: Before you Google for anything web related, prefix it with "mdn". For example, "mdn array". This will ask Google to focus on MDN resources first. (Which means you will skip the W3Schools site!)
Another resource is WebPlatform.org, spearheaded by my own company and many others. This is still in the growing stages though so for now I'd probably stick to MDN.
I hear this a lot and I always say the same thing. The most important thing you need to remember is that every single one of these libraries is meant to solve a problem. If you don't have a problem, you don't need 'em. If you find yourself developing something and run into an issue, then try to figure out the general category of your issue, let's say date formatting, and then focus your Googling on that. If you see a random Tweet about Cowbell.js (I have no idea if that exists), click on it, read it, see what it concerns, and move on. Just keep a little nugget in the back of your head that "There is a library out that there solves problem X, when I have it, I'll go look more."
As always, I would love to hear the opinions of others, and since I'm in an airplane all day, today is the perfect day to disagree with me violently as I won't be able to respond. ;)