This is my first post ever about working towards web development. There is a bit of backstory associated with it that may be interesting to someone, or hopefully at least to my future self in a few years from now.

Background

I have been teaching myself a React/Redux/Firebase stack independently and part of a small web dev team for a few months now, and one of the most prominent things I learned very early on was that good information (specifically for learning) can be difficult to come by.

As someone starting out learning modern web development, I was blown away by the number of beginner tutorials I encountered that just would not compile, or had whole sections were missing, or were dependent on plugging multiple packages together but didn’t actually teach you anything. It seems that quantity of content is very high, but the quality and accuracy varies drastically.

Trying to stick to official documentation whenever possible has served me quite well to this point, as far as foundational understanding. When that fails, Stack Overflow and GitLab/GitHub issue pages have been an excellent source of insight and understanding of where problems come from and how/if they have been resolved, or what the developers intend.

Moving forward, and with the sheer quantity of information and learning required to grow and build skills, my intent with this log is to chronicle major learning sources both for record keeping and future reference. Searching towards this end, I came across this repository from Skynapse on GitHub and was really inspired to implement something similar.

Process

I am already using Markdown for nearly all of my personal documents and documentation at my day job, so the repo-style approach seemed like a very comfortable fit. However, the repo page doesn’t seem very easily searchable, and requires some basic familiarity with GitLab / GitHub to navigate to all content. I had passively encountered a LOT of references to Jekyll over the past few months without really understanding what it was for, yet immediately encountered it again while searching for a way to quickly serve documents in Markdown.

A stand-alone site would be an excellent way to reduce the barrier to entry, give me more control over the formatting and appearance, and also help benefit my public development ecosystem in general through use of SEO and project/site backlinks.

Learning Ruby and the related environment is perhaps adding additional learning stress that doesn’t directly benefit my more immediate React/Redux/Firebase stack objective. Even so, I currently feel like it will ultimately result in less maintenance and overhead and allow me to very rapidly produce content, and my comfort with GitLab CI/CD will allow me to deploy the site with my first content-containing commit.

Planning

My initial concept for the site consists of a few key sections:

  • Learning Journal
    • An entry-style journal of development learning, calling out my objective, references used, insights gained, etc.
  • Learning Log
    • A checklist of resources (tutorials, courses, conferences, books, etc) used to gain knowledge and familiarity with skills
  • Skill Log
    • A list of software development skills, backed by learning logs and the journal, to help validate my skill claims

I anticipate that the scope and execution of this will become more refined as I learn Jekyll. My intent is to initially focus on content and structure, and eventually look into making things aesthetically acceptable.