In the age of WordPress, block editing, page builders and themes like Divi, Elementor, etc…there is a very common but important question I often see: how much code should I learn?
The answer will vary depending on your goals in web design and whether or not you want to go deep with development and customizing sites yourself or if you want to focus more on the sales, business, marketing/design side of your business but either way, I highly recommend knowing the basics of some code.
In this episode, founder and instructor of online coding school FrameworkTV, Mark Lassof, shares his thoughts on how much code you should learn nowadays in 2021 and beyond.
As someone who struggled his way through code but eventually found a love for CSS, I’m here to tell you that the good news is, you can learn as much or as little as what you have interest or capacity for! This episode will help you determine how far you want to go in code 🙂
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
05:51 – Is coding becoming extinct
09:18 – Creating innovative products
11:37 – How have tools changed
16:29 – Do you want to build brands or tools
20:06 – What are the fundamentals
35:42 – Winning the browser war
41:25 – Difference of mobile to desktop browser
44:34 – Design for mobile first
48:27 – Don’t forget about the desktop user
52:17 – Misconceptions of behavior since 1995
55:04 – Learning from doing
58:21 – Reading documentation is a skill
1:00:23 – The arrogant IT culture
1:07:35 – Final thoughts for the future of code
The Framework Professional Membership provides the competence, confidence, and certifications you need to become a professional developer– for just $9.95 per month. Join at FrameworkTV.com
Connect with Mark:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #145 Full Transcription
Hey, friends, welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 145. And we’re gonna dive into the topic of a very, very important and fairly common question, especially when you’re getting into web design, which is, how much coding Should I learn. And we don’t talk about code too much on the podcast, mainly because generally, if I’m going to talk about code, it’s going to be visual. And I’ll do it through courses or tutorials. But I wanted to just glance over the idea of what we need to know as web designers nowadays. And I’m bringing on somebody who is he, I think he calls himself in the interview a dinosaur, I wouldn’t call him a dinosaur, but he is a, he’s an experienced human in code. Because he’s been in web design for a very long time.
This is Mark Lassof, who was a blast to talk to really entertaining and fun guy to chat with. And we talk about code because he is actually the founder and instructor at a site called framework TV, where they essentially do all sorts of coding programs for a very, very, very inexpensive membership offer for for all their students. And he is very well versed in a lot of code and has a lot of experience in web design over the past couple of decades. And this is a really blast of a talk because we dive into this topic of like how much code you need to know now,
This is going to be for you too, you’re going to find out what you need to know, and what our recommendations are for you to know enough code to get dangerous, but also to make sure you enjoy every day running your business. Because there really are kind of two people in web design people who are the operators and love the code and the tech and the people who want to run the business and sell and market. So really excited to see what you take from this episode. Again, Mark was a really fun guest. And I really enjoyed talking with him and having him on.
Now, like I mentioned, I’m a CSS guy. Pretty much all the customizations that I did on my websites were purely done with CSS, a little bit of PHP, but by a little bit, I mean, like a few lines of that. So if you are interested in learning what I learned and getting to know what I know, in web design, I put all of my CSS knowledge into my Divi CSS course in this course while is a Devi course, is actually not exclusively for Divi, everything you learn in the course is just broad CSS, and you’ll be able to apply it to Elementor. Other themes, I actually have a lot of students that use different themes, and still got a, you know, 100% what they needed to out of the core. So if that’s you, if you hear this talk, and you’re like, Okay, I want to get going with HTML and some CSS, join my CSS course today, I would love to welcome you in there. And I’ll clear up the mystery of CSS Borya, you can actually go to Josh Hall co slash CSS, and then I’ll zip you right there. So if you have any questions, let me know otherwise, here is Mark. Last off, we’re going to have some fun. We’re going to talk about how much code you need to know right now. Enjoy.
Mark, welcome onto the podcast, man. Great to have you on the show.
Thanks for having me on Josh.
I want to start this conversation off with a question about coding, particularly the state of coding in 2021. Now, before we get to that, though, I would love to have you introduce yourself to my audience. Can you let everybody know where you’re based out of? And then if you could summarize what you do, how would you say that cuz I know you do a lot, but what would you say you do? Exactly?
So I run a company called framework tech media and we produce Video Course Content, video training around the idea of learning coding. So we produce things that are found on massive course libraries like Udemy and LinkedIn learning. And we offer our own platform where people can learn to code with us directly at framework tv.com. I’ve been, I would say a lifelong coder. Even though coding didn’t exist really in the same way when I was a kid. I started with the Commodore VIC 20 and worked my way up to my current new Mac setup. They’ve got probably had every computer produced along the way and learned how to code on all of them. So I am a coding originalist.
Gotcha. Gotcha. And are you based in Austin, Texas? Is that right?
I lived in Austin. For years, I went to the University of Texas at Austin, hook em horns. But now I’m back home in the Fairfield County, Connecticut area just outside of New York City.
Okay, awesome. Awesome. Well, what you do transitions perfectly to my first question in regards to coding, because there is such a movement now, for builders, and I might be partially a cause to this, which is people who are using themes like Divi, which is what I use. And a lot of people are straying away from code and a lot of people and I’m not saying I’m one of these people, Mark, but a lot of people are saying, you don’t need to code anymore. How do you feel about that statement?
I think we’re in agreement, I think you know, a lot of what can be done can be done with the tools that are available, including Divi. And if your practice is within the scope and capabilities of those tools, then while coding will make you more informed about those tools, it is not a requirement. But here’s where I think coding has a strong place and that’s in being innovative and where innovative products are going to come to market. Probably someone has an anticipated necessarily the needs that your innovative project has. So there you’re probably going to need to write some custom code. The other place is tying in with major tool ecosystems that already exist in the market. For example, if you need to tie your project into Salesforce, or tie it into a another major ecosystem that’s out there. And that’s where coding can be very helpful. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should run out and learn to code necessarily if you’re a web developer, even if you’re doing sites for other people, but you should have an understanding of the coding process because Perhaps you’ll work with a developer. And you’ll need to understand enough of the process in order to work with that developer effectively, and not be wasting time or money or you’re chasing down things that, you know aren’t necessarily possible within the scope that you have.
Yeah, I think that’s a great point, man, I, I got into web design in 2010. And I really dove into Dreamweaver, and of course, CSS, where I learned the basics of all that. And there was not near of a push or a market for the build websites without code, it was still very much code heavy. And then once WordPress seemed to, to get bigger and bigger in the marketplace, and then these page builders and more themes came out, I saw such a massive shift from being a web designer, knowing you need to decode to, you could be a web designer and just know a little cold code, which was what I was thrilled about.
But then there was also this blurred line between di wires of business owners that were trying to build their own site, they had no interest in doing anything with code, nor should they have. And the problem though, I think with a lot of these builders, including Divi, which I still use today and love, is they’re appealing to kind of both markets, you’re appealing to the DIYers, you shouldn’t code don’t want to code and web designers who, you know, maybe they don’t want to be your level with coding, but maybe they want to be more like me, they want to know enough to be able to do some stuff themselves, but not get too far along in that. What was your perception being that you’ve been in the industry for a long time? What is your perception of code and page builders been for the last like decade or so?
So you said you started in 2010? Right?
I started in 1995. To date myself a little bit, but I I’m I’m elderly, when it comes to this industry. And I saw the number of cycles between heavily heavy dependence on tools and heavy dependence on code. And it seems to be the preferred industry methodology has gone back and forth, back and forth, like a lot of things over the years. So the original tool that I used back in 1996, that wrote code for you was called Microsoft front page. It no longer exists. And it was terrible. There was also a number of other tools, there was one from Adobe, and it preceded Dreamweaver that I can’t remember the name of. And I actually wrote a book on that, and it was awful. And those tools really, you know, 25, 30 years ago now weren’t fit for any human to use, whether they were sophisticated, technically, or a small business owner, but they were always marketed towards you don’t need to hire an expensive web developer, you can do this yourself. And they were great marketing tools for web developers. Because after someone tried to do it themselves and crashed and burned, they’d come hire a web developer. The other thing that I think is interesting when it comes to the history of these tools is the genesis of the web. What back when there was something called a webmaster, which actually sounds a little dirty to me, but it’s never a title that I used. But webmasters tended to come from the technical side, they tended to come from programming and server management and things like that.
That’s how I view that term. I view them as like your you talk to your webmaster about anything it related or email, DNS code, whatever.
That’s because you’re a normal human, I think of like dungeons and leather, and all sorts of things when I hear that term. But regardless, it was an IT position. And then what happened around 2000 is designers, graphic designers got involved. And all of a sudden, we had all these mixed metaphors in the tools because they were trying to appeal to the technical folks, the coders, and they were trying to appeal to the designers. So I think with some tools, you still see some vestiges of that. But I also think the tools have come a long way. And now the companies that are producing tools, including Divi have a real handle on who their market is.
And you see other tools and DIY. DIY systems like Wix, for example, that really require no knowledge whatsoever. But obviously, you have a limited scope of what you can do with them. Every every tool, there’s a continuum between how easy it is to use and how much is done for you. And on the other end of the continuum is the amount of flexibility that you have.
That’s a great distinction, man that is so important for people to understand is with a lot of these builders. Yeah, if you I mean, you can keep it easy and simple as you want. But that’s exactly what you’re gonna get, you’re gonna have a lot of limitations, whereas and I think this goes back to where, at least a little bit of HTML and CSS, you can really use that to take your website along way for me, it was all about styling I once I learned CSS, I’m going to call myself a web sorcerer. Instead of webmaster. I learned how to code to harness the power of a little bit of code and how far that can go with any theme with any plugins, so there’s, there’s definitely I think you’re right, I think it’s very clear to make the distinction of where do you want to be in the spectrum of web design?
Do you want to be more of a DIYer and not touch any code and just know you’re going to have limitations? Or you’re going to need to hire a lot out? Do you want to be somebody like myself? Who is a web designer? Who wants to, you know, get a little dangerous with coding to do quite a bit? Or do you want to be somebody who is doing a lot more high level type of coding that can really take these things to the next level? And actually transitions to the next question? Well, I was gonna ask this later. But I think now might be a good time to ask this. And that is, if it is somebody who is more on my level, who wants to be, you know, dangerous enough to be able to do some stuff, but also be able to talk to developers? What languages do you think this type of person should learn?
Well, let me let me reframe this a little bit, if I may, I think the right question to be asking is, what types of projects do you want to be doing? Because that’s going to lend itself to a specific path, whether it be becoming more technical, and learning the technical end of things, becoming a better designer and learning more about the digital design aspects of things. I happen to be one of these weird hybrids who do both. I’m one of the few programmers who’s won an American Graphic Design Award. So you know, I understand both of those worlds. And you’ve got to understand the types of projects that you want to do. You know, do you want to be building brands in the digital space? Or do you want to be building tools in the digital space, if you want to be building tools, then you need to be looking at programming languages.
Here’s a good example, I did a project for a video that I’m doing from last week. That is the kind of weather map that you see behind a weatherman, that gives you the seven day forecast. So that project required HTML for the scaffolding. HTML is the scaffolding of everything that appears on the web. It shows it’s how you identify the purpose of every piece of content. css was for the design, and CSS is so powerful. Now with CSS, we did gradients, we did animation, we did all sorts of things, just with the CSS, and it looks really cool. It looks I mean every bit as good as something you’ll see on the evening news.
Now, that’s, again, if you’re wanting to build highly customized sites and tools, if you want to build designs, and you want to build brands, and you want to if you care how every icon looks, and you want to make pixel perfect designs, then the languages aren’t as useful to you as design tools like figma, where you’re going to be able to build prototypes that are pixel perfect, and then translate those into a WordPress theme or get those into some type of tool that allows you to build websites and make them pixel perfect. So again, you got to understand what are you trying to do? What’s your goal?
Well, that’s a good distinction. I like that you reframe the question like that, I back you up on that, because most of my audience are building websites for small medium sized businesses, a lot of startups, primarily moreso brochure type sites, but there are a lot of my students doing more advanced projects, particularly in the realm of e commerce. And a lot of times we have sites where there might be a booking plugin, or a calendar or something where again, like I mentioned earlier, you may use Divi, and you may not be able to earn may not need to touch any code in the initial bill. But as soon as you add that calendar will suddenly it looks completely different. And if there’s no plugin, or no styling options, that’s where the magic of CSS can come in. And the beauty is, and maybe you’ll back me up on this Mark. It’s not rocket science, like there really are just a few core concepts you need to know particularly with CSS and HTML, and then you can run with it and you can go from there.
And what I’ve learned and I’d be curious to get your take on this, when I became more and more efficient with CSS is when I started using Inspect Element, and I would just look at other websites and Divi, just like you said earlier, Devi is you know, built on code. If you add one of the effects that is pre built into Divi you can just inspect element and look at the CSS behind that. That’s kind of how I learned Are there any other I know you have a pro you have a lot of programs and tips for learning but Are there any other tricks like that for just, you know, dipping your toe into the water with with CSS and HTML in particular?
Well, I think first off, you CSS and HTML are fundamental for everything that happens in digital. So you can look at anything that’s happening interactively on a screen. And there’s HTML and CSS behind it 99% of the time. So exactly what you identified reverse engineering, what you see on the web is a great way to learn, once you have some fundamentals out of the way, and how you learn the fundamentals. I mean, it really depends on what your resources timeline is, and how you prefer to learn. You know, obviously, since I do online courses, that’s what I recommend. But there are there are great free materials, there are great courses at community colleges on this stuff. And there’s also a great books that had been written, that’ll teach you it’s really how do you prefer to learn? And what kind of resources do you have, but I do think the best thing to do is to become a critical consumer of digital products. And when I say that, I don’t know if this happened to you. But in college, I took a film class and all of a sudden, I can’t look at film the same way. You know, I walk, I walk out of a movie, and I’m like, Well, I don’t think the protagonist was well defined. Talking in this kind of inside baseball way about movies, because now I have this knowledge of how films are made and how to look at them critically.
Yeah, I was thinking like, from a coding perspective, Mike, my CSS course, one of the first things I show in there is I it’s a warning on my heads up, after you go through this course, you’re not actually going to get too far before you’re going to start looking at websites, and it’s gonna look like the matrix like suddenly, you’re gonna see things in pixels, or percentages, or M’s, and then suddenly, you’re gonna say, I bet the padding is, you know, 40 pixels on this menu of this button, or I can tell that this menu has 20, you know, pixels of padding on the top and then 40 on the bottom. It really is I totally back Yep, you get into and then suddenly your your perspective changes, and you’re like, you’re kind of an insider, you’re an insider on it.
Right. And I think that CSS knowledge is so foundational to everything that you do that it is important to be able to have that inside baseball conversation about it. And the other thing that code does is it’s the equalizer for people who use different tools. Because no matter what tool you use, the end product is that HTML and CSS code. So if you want a way to talk to someone about a digital product, whether that be a website, mobile site, whatever. Understanding the code gives you a common communication platform. If you don’t understand the code, and someone did this in Divi and someone else doesn’t know Divi is a tool or whatever tool that you use, it’s difficult to talk about it from that kind of critical building perspective that you need.
Yeah, that’s a good point. And I was thinking back to when I started teaching, because I don’t know how much you know about my path Mark, but I was a web design Freelancer and business owner for nearly a decade. And then towards the last couple years of running the business myself, I started teaching and the way I started and how I built my authority was I was creating tutorials mainly around Divi. And it was mainly about how to customize Divi with CSS. So it was just these little snippets. And it was fascinating as I look back, but like kind of figure out who I’m attracted, it was mostly people a lot like me, who could get dangerous, but they were kind of stuck, or they broke something on their side. And I didn’t really have a great understanding of CSS,
Or it was the people who to your point earlier started it. And then they were like, Oh my gosh, I can’t screw it, I’m never gonna do this, again, somebody else hired out. And that’s kind of how I attracted and built my brand was was really those two segments. And it the reason I say that is it is kind of interesting, you can kind of, I think, figure out what path is best for you, depending on you know, how you’re feeling about it, and what resources you go into, like I hated CSS for a long time, because I didn’t really have any formal training in it. I did, I was doing night school at a community college, there was a class on CSS, that really taught me a lot. And that made me feel so much more comfortable.
What a nightmare that sounds like.
Gotcha. In what about PHP because I always because I’ve always built off of WordPress, inevitably there were times where I would get into the PHP and I mean when I say get into the PHP I mean like very rarely what i do that i can i can do barely just enough to not break.
Last Resort. You get into PHP.
Well, I do it in the order, I do it because I want people to be employable, I’m not trying to prepare them for a specific stack of technologies to work in. Because WordPress is so closely coupled with PHP, that might be good advice. There is an important dichotomy that people have to understand. And that’s languages either work client side, meaning they’re executing within the browser themselves itself, or languages are executing server side, which means they’re executing on the server, and they’re processed before the data is sent to the end user. PHP is a server side language. So it tends to deal with issues that are on the macro level, for example, executing an e commerce transaction, because that’s processed on the server, or logging data, or sending an email.
Yeah, that’s good. So you talked, you touched on browsers, and I have to ask you about Internet Explorer as a code guy.
I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is.
That’s the thing like, what is the state of Internet Explorer that you have now? Is that going to follow up? Oh, I was gonna say like, are they not supporting it at all moving forward?
I don’t know what the current I mean, to be blunt, I’m a Mac guy, and I do more educating them building at this point. So I don’t know the current state of Internet Explorer support. I know that there’s still you know, a lot of companies that are doing polyfills, meaning they’re writing code to provide backwards support to Internet Explorer in earlier versions, but less and less it’s it’s going away. I think, right now that Chrome and Firefox and Safari have the market? Yeah, um, you know, Microsoft is just I think they’ve they’ve decided that they are not in the browser business.
Well, thank goodness, because that was an issue for me for so long. because inevitably, I would make something that would look awesome in Chrome and look really, you know, look fine, and Safari and Firefox. And and even if they didn’t look good on those, I’ve just with CSS, you can add the extensions to make that, you know, transition or effect beyond there. But inevitably, I would get somebody who said, Yeah, I’m looking at my browser, and it doesn’t look right. And I’m like, Well, what are you using, like, Internet Explorer, whatever’s on my computer? And I’m like, Oh, my gosh. So I was just curious what you knew of Internet Explorer, because I do kind of wonder, I mean, I know thank goodness, it’s, it’s been less than it’s less and less popular. But I imagine there still are a lot of dated corporate organizations who are still using Internet Explorer as the main browser. And look, to be honest, there’s a lot of older folks I worked with who they just didn’t know any better. They just they had their computer and Internet Explorer is what was on it. It was Microsoft computer.
So as of June 2021, browser market share, you may or may not find this surprising. Chrome 65.27% of the market. So that’s that’s that’s that’s two thirds. Safari’s got roughly 18% Firefox got the 3%. Samsung has 3%. Oprah, which I call it the Oprah browser. It’s actually the Opera browser. I used to tell my students that Oprah had her own browser browser. But anyway, so that’s 2% edge, which is Microsoft 3%.
Yeah, I’m looking at one right now. Are you looking at that counter?
Yeah. I mean, so how much do you want to bend over backwards for 3% of the market that’s, that’s behind. I remember so when I started in this used to see a lot of things like this site looks best in, you know, Netscape, or whatever it was, and they would try and point you to a certain browser, then they realized that doesn’t work. So all these polyfills were developed for browsers that were outliers. And when I say browsers that were outliers, I’m talking about Internet Explorer, that didn’t conform to the standard. And then Microsoft decided, well, we need to conform to the standard too. And by then it was it was too late, people had really adopted either Chrome or Safari as their primary browser and the browser wars were over.
Oh, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful news. I always like in my business course. And one thing we have in there in our contract is you want to make sure you make a note that you’re not going to support Internet Explorer past a certain version. And it sounds like we could probably just say not support Internet Explorer at all now, because it’s not a valid browser. But I guess maybe this question isn’t fair to you being that you’re not talking and client side stuff. But I was curious as to for as far as like, what you would tell a client if they were asking about you know, looking at your designs on their explore their their browser, but what would you tell the students who I mean are all your students and a lot of jobs just not catering to Internet Explorer at all. Now, since it’s so far behind, and you know, in a review me at this point,
Well, look, plus one for adding a hockey analogy in there as a hockey fan. So I want to ask you a question almost like, I’m going to take this time as a little bit of a free teaching session for myself, because being that I’m not a coder, I always kind of wondered what the difference was between the mobile browsers versus desktop desktop browsers and think, you know, thankfully, when you write CSS, you don’t have to do something separate for mobile, you can just add a media query, or there’s, you know, most CSS will often you could do a percentage base where it just looks perfect on desktop and mobile. What is the difference between like Chrome on my desktop versus chrome on my phone? Are those basically two different type of like, are they coded differently? I’m just curious, or or is it just a mobile version of the browser?
Much more now, they’re similar, because the mobile devices have much more powerful processors. You know, the new iPad has the same m one chip as the MacBook Air Pro. So as we start to see the mobile devices, getting more powerful processors and having more resources, the browser’s are going to be much closer together. Originally, they were very stripped down versions, because so many resources needed to be conserved on the mobile devices.
Is that why is that why sites used to have like, you had your website, you know.com on desktop, and then you’d have like mobile dot your website,
When was the big turning point for that? Because I was thinking back, I feel like 2013 is when I really started paying attention to responsive design. And of course, that’s when I got more and more familiar with WordPress, and I was started using themes that would adjust perfectly to mobile as they would on desktop.
There’s definitely I agree, I think there’s definitely a lot it’s easier to tweak the design from mobile today. desktop versus desktop to mobile. That said, for most of my small business clients, I always found it really important to look at Google Analytics to see what percentage of traffic was mobile versus desktop. Because like, my site, for example, is over 70% desktop right now, because most people are learning and most people are going through courses on their laptops or on their, you know, bigger devices, I have a lot of people on the phones and tablets as well, although I found tablet traffic overall is going way down. I’d love to get your thoughts on that here, too. But that is that’s a great point, particularly depending on the industry. And I think a lot of it’s common sense to like, for my, for some of my clients, I had a piece of pizza shop, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out I bet a lot of their traffic is gonna be on mobile, because people are on their phones Friday night looking for pizza. Whereas you know, if it’s a learning site, yeah, there’s gonna be a lot of mobile, but there’s also going to be a lot of desktop too. So I definitely that’s a worthwhile point to dive into the tablet thing. Have you seen? Have you seen any trends on tablets?
You know, I haven’t, that’s interesting that you say that. I wonder if it’s again, because now mobile phones, some of the funds are getting bigger. And the browsing experience is better, that there’s no reason to put down your phone and reach for a tablet to visit a website. I wonder if that’s part of it. Because that’s certainly my experience. And I’m now and I was never even To be honest, I was never a big tablet guy except for reading books. But now I’ve abandoned that and I’ve gone back to just paper you know, like actual books you can hold in your hand. So it was the best I don’t know. I don’t know what tablets are for anymore.
You know, that’s a great point. Man. I wondered that too. Because I tried I really tried like I gave tablets ago because I kind of thought that was gonna be the new thing. And I just hated it. I just I just didn’t care for it.
Apple thinks I mean Apple’s promoting their tablets the way you’d promote a laptop now with the keyboard and that it’s your computer. Yeah, and if I look at my parents who are in their 70s that’s kind of their computer but I have a computer but they tend they tend to be tablet or phone first.
Yeah, you know, and yeah, and again, I think it depends on you know, the type of services that people as far as websites in particular that they would go to I just looked at my stats real quick just to kind of do a case study. So interestingly enough, my sight is actually even further on desktop than I thought so far in 2021 we’re recording this conversation in mid July 2021 my desktop percentage is 87%
Yeah, but this isn’t that Josh isn’t that going to be skewed by people returning to take their courses not necessarily discovery?
Yes, yes, it is but but the the thought would still apply to like how I design the site because if I design mobile first would luckily it aligns fine but and I’m not saying this to you know, try to prove you wrong Mark by any means. But I’m just saying it’s kind of an interesting case study here and mobile is 12% and to our tablet discussion, it’s point 7%. So it’s really interesting now my site is different than most portfolio style sites, I would venture to say most small businesses are much more in the range of like maybe up to 50 and desktop more so more mobile I would definitely back you up on that mobile is is definitely more important than ever and I think it’s gonna continue to be more important particularly for like e commerce shops and stuff.
I just hope they don’t forget about us desktop users I mean for what I do because I’m spending a lot of my time in videos it’s we’re producing video you know, video content video instruction. I did there’s just I haven’t seen anything in the mobile format that excites me even though there’s mobile video editors and things like that all of them seem awkward and difficult compared to sitting here with my big screen and you know, having all of that visible real estate in order to do things like edit graphics video, or code. I hate coding on a on a mobile device to be just,
Oh, what a nightmare. Yeah, I think mobile is definitely just client side and in customer facing, because yeah, I anytime I get a chance to get on my computer and do stuff, I’m always gonna do that over a phone. I even do that. Like when I’m ordering a product or like even sometimes Amazon or something. I’d rather just do it on my laptop or desktop and do it on my phone. It seems like whatever I do on my phone takes 10 times as long.
Well, I have these big fat fingers.
You know stuff, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I totally agree. I feel like particularly for coding and graphics and stuff. I can’t imagine you know, the desktop and things going away. I know, like apple and a lot of other companies and Microsoft, like whatever. Some of the new tablets are out there. They really they’re pushing these graphic programs, where you see people with their tablet on a train. Like who wants to do that?
I don’t think anybody’s really do that. But here’s what’s interesting. You have a kid, right?
You have to you have to do their little. Yeah, three in one.
I want to be like get off your phone and I find out they’re taking notes on what I’m saying, you know, they are so phone centric, and they are faster with it. – Mark
Yeah. So I mean, I look at older kids. I look at like my niece and nephew. And the phone is everything. I mean, it is, you know, I mean, what they’re doing on their phone, I have employees just out of college who work for me, who, you know, I want to be like get off your phone and I find out they’re taking notes on what I’m saying, you know, they are so phone centric, and they are faster with it. So I wonder if there’s some some generational change there. You know, me at four at 47. You know, I just grew up with, you know, like I said, start with a Commodore VIC 20. And I like this keyboard and mouse interface. And it’s fast for me. Yeah, this is just as fast on our phone.
But that’s a good point. I’m glad you made that distinction. I think that’s definitely a part of it. how that translates to learning and the type of ways they work. Yeah, well, I guess we almost have to see particularly when it comes to, to coding and
The disaster that was school during COVID. I don’t I don’t know if we really know that much about how to how children interact in a learning environment with the web. But that’s that’s another that’s a whole other podcast.
Well, but even even that point you made of they’re taking notes on the phone, I would never do that. So I would much rather pull a pen and paper out and do that, then yeah, right. Now, what’s interesting, though, I think when when responsive design and phones in particular really came into the forefront? was the difference between scrolling on websites just like you would with social media? Because I know when I first started in design, even just in 2010 11, and 12, I can’t tell you Mark, how many clients told me can you make sure everything fits right on the page, so they don’t have to scroll clients were terrified of scrolling. And I always wondered, why are you so afraid of scrolling? And eventually, I told clients, this is what we do. We scroll constantly on our phones. It’s no different behavior on websites. So I’m just curious, what did you see as a shift in that as well with how responsive design of effective desktop,
And I think the other thing was like the never ending page, right? When Facebook and Pinterest and some of these sites started the never ending page, where it’s gonna keep generating content for you, as long as you keep swiping upward? I think that’s something else that changed that attitude. But you know, I mean, I assume your audience listening to this podcast is basically pros or people who want to be pros at developing websites. Yeah, there are so much, there are so many misconceptions that clients are going to come to you with, that are flat out outdated, wrong, etc, that you’re going to have to come up with, you know, you can’t be like, well, that’s wrong, you’re an idiot, you have to come up with, you know, gentle, but firm explanations for why we don’t do it that way anymore. And how behavior has changed since 1995?
That’s a great point. I’m glad you said it like that, because that’s exactly what I had to learn. It’s, it’s really easy as a creative person, or the service provider for building websites and designs with just like dog and your clients or thinking that they’re stupid, or, you know, like, I’m just gonna dog him because it’s a terrible idea. But you just said that you do have to almost educate them as to why why you don’t want to do this, instead of just saying, well, that’s dated. That’s that’s an idiotic thing to do. If you tell them, Listen, we’re used to scrolling. Now, when you get on your phone, on Facebook, you scroll immediately, right? It’s the same behavior for websites.
If you’re not adding value, as an expert in how people consume content on the web for your clients, then your client might as well go to the person charging $7 an hour on Upwork, in Bangladesh, because you’re not adding any value, you’re just you’re just, you know, basically an order taker. And you have to decide at some point that you know, your expertise has value. That’s also how I think web developers increase their worth. It’s why I can charge you X number of dollars an hour that someone starting out, could never think of getting. It’s because they’re paying for all the knowledge I’ve gained since 1995.
That’s true. And that’s going back to the whole like, I don’t want my website users to scroll I that used to.
Or blackhat SEO techniques, or all sorts of things that they heard from their brother in law who was probably well intentioned, but not well informed.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s a good way to put it. Listen, man, you’ve been you’ve been doing this for a while. I’m curious. What resources do you personally use to keep you up to date and to keep looking forward?
So I tend to give myself projects where I can learn new technology and for me it’s very much a process of having to use it forces me to learn it. And, and I think a lot of that is my own ADD, I am pretty odd for someone, especially who could who can do development. So for me, I forced myself
Best coders, by the way, best best developers and coders.
And then, you know, I mean, you have lots of courses on places like Udemy, which vary in quality from very poor to world class. And then you have you know, more juried libraries, like places like Josh’s site or my site, where you can take courses that have been, you know, that hundreds or 1000s of people have been through and that have been rated really high and that people were willing to pay for, I think you got to find what’s comfortable for you. But the worst thing you can do is just go on YouTube and start watching random videos. Because then you have no path, you don’t know what’s next, or what should have come before what the prerequisites are. So I think it’s really important to have a roadmap for what you want to learn.
That’s a great point, one of my students, what found me with my CSS tutorials, and was when she joined my CSS course, I just reached out and I said, Hey, I was just curious why you joined my course. And what was what was the impetus to join in my course, when you obviously watched watched a ton of my free videos, and she very eloquently said, Your tutorials, were like bread crumbs. But I realized that I needed the I wanted the full meal, basically, like you’re gonna get a lot of tips and tricks, but you’re not going to get an understanding of the most the foundation kind of stuff. So I couldn’t agree more when it comes to having like a proven path to follow or a full program. And I was actually just looking at the Mozilla resource you mentioned is that the one that’s at develop.mozilla.org? Is that
I have it marked. So I recently haven’t looked at the URL in years. I’m looking right now.
Resources for developers by developers.
Gotcha. Yeah, I hadn’t heard that before. So we’ll link these in the show notes, the Mozilla site. And then W3 schools. Of course, I’m a big proponent of that I mentioned that in my CSS course great place to learn this stuff.
So we’re going to or going to a forum that’s got kind of an angry subculture and getting pilloried for asking a question. That’s Yeah, that shows a lack of basic understanding. Yeah, that’s discouraging.
I think that’s a that’s another big one too. I have a Facebook group. It’s 23,000 people now and I intentionally set that up to be a welcoming, warm, a warm welcome place for people in all different areas and skill sets of business. Now, inevitably, you do get some tricky points where you go got people who are really advanced. And then people who are brand new. And I understand like sometimes if you’re the advanced side, you want to be talking with people who are on the same level. You don’t want to be talking to somebody who doesn’t even barely know how…
Yeah, but you can still be kind to commerce.
Absolutely, absolutely. Or funnel them. I have a section for the new people versus section for the
You know, the culture I’m talking about here. Oh,
Dude, that’s why I started that group. I was nervous to get in some of these forums with these developers who were a lot of them were really talented, but man, they were dicks a lot of times. And I was like, Why? Why do you have to be like this? I really and honestly, it rubbed me wrong.
Can we use that word?
But you’re also somebody I’m sure who understands the value of educating and sharing.
Oh, no. Yeah, no. Yeah, I don’t leave anything in the pocket. I tried to keep it pretty, pretty. family friendly. But you know, Hey, you got it. Sometimes gonna call it what it is. And early on I did I was very rubbed wrong by a lot of developers now you are you are the rare you’re the rarity, you are somebody who I would feel totally comfortable. But you’re also somebody I’m sure who understands the value of educating and sharing.
I have a career because I can share complex technical information in an in an easy, non threatening way. The fact that that’s so rare that I can make a career of it speaks for itself.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s a good point. Because Yeah, there should be hundreds of 1000s of you. But there’s all
You want to get into the larger issues in tech, which you don’t want to get into, but we will, you know, if you look at the issues that are constantly talked about, about why don’t we have more diversity in tech, why don’t we have more people from underrepresented backgrounds in tech? Why don’t we have more women? Let’s look back to why we’re mean to each other. So why would anyone want enter tech? You know, I mean, there’s a huge history of of that type of attitude, which I think is going away, by the way. And I look at Tech communities in Columbus, where you are in Chicago that are welcoming and affirming and, and helping newcomers achieve and learn. But that wasn’t the norm for a long time.
Yeah, even when I got started, I’ve talked about this on the podcast. But when I, when I first got started, when I was learning Dreamweaver, I went to community college for some night classes. And to remember, I think it was a it was a contact form. And I had some questions about how the information in the form gets sent. And I had no idea how that worked. And this dude who was in there who was pretty far along and really advanced, just shot me down and made me feel like a total idiot, like I shouldn’t have been there. And it almost planted the seed for me to teach because I was like, I am not going to be that guy. Like, I want to be somebody who when somebody is just starting and they’re terrified, they feel welcome to Ask them questions, and we can guide them in the right direction and get them in the right place and resources.
And even the fact that people come into this terrified, which you’re absolutely right, you identified that, is an indictment of the way Tech has been taught. And the way it’s become exclusive for the people who are in it, a lot of that is about job protection and trying to, you know, maintain some professional gatekeeping. So you know, the field remains high paid, but a lot of it is just meanness and it’s not necessary, and it doesn’t feel good. And the generation that’s coming up now the gens ears are not going to play this is they just aren’t raised that way. It’s not going to be as hard nosed. And I think that’s an important change.
I do too. I have seen that as well with a lot of my younger students. And that is one thing, despite all the political division and crap going on in the world, I will say and look, I’m 34 now I’m already getting the point where I’m like kids these days,
These damn kids get off my lawn right? Yeah. But
I will say the empathy that is there now and inclusiveness to a lot of different people I think is awesome. And I think that’s a really big change.
It’s funny, the kids that um, you know, I’ve got 13 years on you, but the kids that I know we would have been mean to in high school are now accepted and you know, have friends that are part of the group alert. I’m not saying that bullying doesn’t exist, it certainly does. But kids that I know would have just been terrorized and bullied when I was a kid are now finding acceptance and kindness and empathy. And we just we weren’t I wasn’t raised that way we were I wasn’t raised to be empathetic to others. It’s something I’ve had to learn along the way after a lot of missteps as an adult. But I think it’s a much better ethos for people coming into tech.
I agree. And I was curious if you had seen that on just the developer and coding side because the cool thing about a lot of communities now WordPress is an amazing community. There’s a lot of meetups and wordcamps, it’s just a it’s a very overall welcoming place. Divi the Divi community which is where I built my authority is even better than that. As far as like I mean those most Divi folks are extra welcoming and for the most part For the most part, and so like what I’m building, I’m trying to make the most welcoming type of communities. And I know you’re doing the same. So yeah, I agree, I think there’s a big shift over the last maybe five or so years in particular, that I’m really excited about. So speaking of your community, Mark, I do want to wrap this up, I got one final question for you. But I would love to know where you would like everyone to go to find out more about you. And then if there is anybody who is really interested in taking their coding to the next level, and even if they’re a hybrid designer, like myself, who does design and a little bit of dev? Yeah, where would you like them to go to get plugged in with you?
framework tv.com. That’s, that’s our website. And that’s kind of the center of our ecosystem. And if you sign in there, you’ll get all the information you ever wanted about what we do and how you can progress through our program to become a coder and to be you know, to earn the certifications, or what we say confidence, competence and certifications, you need to start a career as a developer.
That’s perfect. And we’ll link those in the show notes, because I know you have a lot of resources. So yeah, so last question, Mark. Hey, first of all, I really appreciate your time on this. This was a really fun conversation. I wasn’t Honestly, I wasn’t too terribly excited to talk about coding, because it’s not my area of expert expertise. But I really enjoyed picking your brain and, and actually, the more I’ve realized that sometimes when I have folks on who are of a different specialty than I am, I almost enjoy it more because I learned a lot more like I had a gal on who did accounting last year. And I was like, I do not want to talk about accounting. But I really enjoyed that talk, because it was something I needed to learn. So last question for you. And you hit on this a little bit to go with like the browser stuff. But where do you see code going, in particular, over the next few years? And what are some of the most important things for people to focus on when it comes to code?
Well, I was just gonna say maybe I’ll rephrase the question that where do you see code going in the next three weeks?
Next three weeks, and everything should be exactly the same as it is now. So if that’s your time span, you’re good to go.
Yeah, that’s good, man. Well, Mark, thanks so much for your time. This is great. We talked about a lot of good resources that we’ll link to in the show notes. And yeah, really excited to to see how this helps some folks out particularly in the coding area, and then, man, all best to really appreciate what you do, and I’m excited to continue on with you, man.
This was a fun conversation. I enjoyed it.
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