Build better daily coding habits

Programming can be fun and challenging. Writing good code even more so. At times, we can be confused looking at code that we just wrote or code we wrote several months ago. We can write better code by incorporating these four coding habits.

Build Better Daily Coding Habits
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Learn new things

Learning new things can help you elevate boredom. Yes, sometimes programming can get boring. You can fix that by trying out a new tool, technique or programming language. As technology and programming constantly changes, you may be wanting to learn the latest language that everyone is talking about. Try to learn one language at a time. By focusing on a single language, you can learn how to use it and when.

Read

Read about programming and technology. Don’t get your information from only blogs and online magazines. Read books. Books can teach more than a blog post can. Also, read code. Not code included in tutorials but actual published code. By reading the code you copied from Stackoverflow or downloaded from Github, you can learn new ways of writing and organizing your code.

Experiment

The best way to learn a new programming language or framework is to build something with it. You can start with a tutorial or a throwaway project. Throwaway projects help you learn new skills while creating something new. These projects are for experimenting and learning you don’t publish them.

Share what you have learned

Share with others what you have learned. Write a blog post on the things that you learned from your experimental project. If you don’t like writing, create a video on YouTube or talk at a Meetup. By sharing what you have learned, you may can new insights on what you had created.

Summary

Keeping up with new technology can be a full-time job by itself. To keep your programming skills fresh, you should set aside time to learn new things, read about programming and technology, create your own programming experiments and share with others what you have learned.

Looking for more habits to help make you a better programmer? Sonny Recio describes the habits he uses to be a better software engineer.

Tips for UX Writing

What is UX Writing? It is the practice of writing copy that is used in user interfaces to guide the user and help them figure how to use the website or app. You write your copy to ensure that everything matches the tone and style of your brand. Microcopy is the small pieces of copy that helps the user get stuff done. These little pieces are typically error messages, button text, helpful hints, notifications and more.

Tips for Ux Writing
Photo by Sarah Pflug

Why UX Writing?

It affects how the users interact with the UI. Good copy makes the user interface easier to learn and to use. It guides the user on what they need to do and doesn’t interrupt them. Bad copy ruins the experience for the user. It makes it harder for the user to learn and use the UI.

Tips for Good UX Writing

  1. Have a conversation. Talk to your users. Avoid writing robot-like messages. Use words like “you”, “we” and “our”.
  2. Keep it simple. Be brief and avoid complex technical jargon.
  3. Don’t be too quirky. Trying to be fun and cool can backfire. Use it sparingly.
  4. Test your copy on a variety of users. If they are having trouble understanding or using the UI, you need to change your interface or simplify the copy.
  5. Reflect your brand. Make sure your copy matches your voice and tone. Refer to MailChimp’s Content Style Guide for tips on writing for your users.

Copy is an integral part of your UI. The copy should guide the users and be unnoticeable. Good copy improves the usability and functionality of the UI. It helps a user to intuitively understand what they need to do. If you have to explain your UI, it isn’t done right.

More Posts on UX

CSS Grid Starter Projects

What is CSS Grid? CSS Grid is a CSS Grid layout method. It is designed for creating two-dimensional layouts for websites and applications.

CSS Grid Starter Projects

How to learn more about CSS Grid?

CSS Grid Starter Projects

You can learn CSS Grid with starter projects. They can help to build basic layouts. For most of your projects, you’ll need to build two, three and more column layouts. You can use starter projects to learn how to make these layouts.

Two Column Layout

Start building a two column layout. Two column layouts are quite common on the web. You’ll find them on most websites from blogs to startups.

Three Column Layout

After building a two column layout, you will want to be able to add more columns. Three columns is another common layout that you will need for your projects.

When learning a new layout technique, start small and build more complex layouts as you learn how to do it. By building with starter projects, you can see how you would use it in your real world applications. Not all of your projects will be simple. They may require more columns or additional features like a hero image or even a carousel. Build on your new skills by creating a production ready CSS Grid layout.

Photo by meisjedevos

Find Design UI Inspiration

You are working on a new UI. It isn’t working out. Where do you find inspiration? How do you make it unique to your design?

Find Design UI Inspiration
Photo by Matthew Henry

You find inspiration from live websites, design collections and design inspiration articles. Use these tools to help you create unique and better UI.

Why Design Collections?

Design collections can are curated by other web designers and developers. They submit the designs that they are working on and are their best work. From these collections, you can see what others have done and apply new ideas to your designs.

Design Inspiration Articles

You can use articles that discuss design inspiration on a specific UI feature. Like best sign up forms, call to action forms or newsletter sign ups. These small collections can help you to solve a specific problem.

How do you incorporate these ideas?

1. Analyze what inspires you

What do you like about the design? Do you like the fonts? Look at the type, size and line spacing used. Try changing your font sizes and spacing to create a similar effect.

2. Get inspiration from other sources

Look at print magazines layout and graphic ideas. Find book covers with color schemes and fonts that you like. Analyze what elements you can use for your design.

3. Pick an element

You may like the fonts, color scheme or even photos used. Choose one of these elements and adapt it for your design.

Summary

Design is about solving problems. It is about learning what works and applying different elements to your design. You can find inspiration from a variety of places. Draw inspiration from the designs you like, don’t copy them exactly. Take what you need and adapt it to make your design unique. It should look like it belongs there naturally and not somewhere else.

4 Tools for Writing Documentation

How do you document your projects? Do you keep a programmer’s notebook? As you write code, you will have ideas, notes, code snippets and other things that you have learned. You’ll want to keep code that you didn’t use and save for later. By keeping a programmer’s notebook, you’ll create a personal reference that you can use for other projects and documenting your code for your users.

4 Tools for Writing Documentation
Photo by Jan Vasek

What tools do you use for writing documentaion?

You can use pen and paper to create a bullet journal or collect your notes and ideas. If you want to use an app, I have collected 4 tools that you can choose from.

Boostnote

Boostnote is a note taking app for programmers. You can take notes and collect code snippets. Boostnote is customizable and usable anywhere. You can write notes on your laptop and share with your mobile devices.

Bootsnote App

Quiver

Quiver is a programmer’s notebook. You can mix code, text, Markdown in a note. You can install Quiver on your Mac and iOS devices.

Quiver app

Bear Writer

Use Bear Writer to create notes and prose. You can organize your notes any way you can. This app is available on your Mac and iOS devices.

Bear Writer

Write the Docs

Write the Docs is an open source community dedicated to creating wonderful documentation. They provide guides on writing great documentation, conferences and meetups. Write the Doc is build using the Sphinx static site generator.

Write the Docs

Whether you use pen and paper or an app to document your projects, you’ll have a reference that can help you better understand the problems, solutions and things you have learned. Writing documentation for yourself or your users makes you a better programmer. If you want to write better documentation for yourself and your users, Mark has collected tools and resources for creating great documentation.