Craig Allen

Web Development & WordPress

How I Write My Code

When I first started writing HTML in 1995, there weren’t any code editors that I knew about or had access to. So, I wrote my code in a plain text editor like Notepad. Since I was creating small websites with only a few pages, and there were not external resources like CSS or JavaScript, everything that appeared on a page was contained in a single file – anyone else remember designing layouts with tables? (R.I.P. Geocities)

In school, I learned (to hate) Dreamweaver. It amazes me that it continues to be used to teach web design & development, even though it’s never used to build real websites or applications. I guess it’s not the worst way to learn now, because you can instantly preview the code you are typing.

But, to me, that feature alone doesn’t make it worth the space it takes up on my hard drive, especially when I can just use my code editor and keep a browser open in a split screen view (then use Node.js to automatically update the browser when I save my work).

What About Now

Over the years I have tinkered with various code editors, like Sublime Text and Atom. But finally, like many others, I have settled on Visual Studio Code. It’s free, open-source, and runs on all platforms. It also has some really cool extensions that makes it really convenient for what I’m doing.


I have a few customizations, but I try to keep things relatively simple and as minimalist as possible. I can’t really handle full dark mode (I’ve heard having an astigmatism could be part of the problem for me), so I am using a modified version by Wes Bos called Cobalt2 Theme Official. It’s still a type of dark mode, but a little easier on my eyes.

I’m also using ESLint and Prettier to debug JavaScript.

Lastly, I recently saw this tip on Twitter to move the sidebar from the left to the right side, which feels more ergonomic to me. Also, when you hide/unhide the sidebar, it’s doesn’t shift your code, which is a small detail but can when I’m trying to adjust my eyes as little as possible, every little bit helps.

Learning JavaScript in 2021

My main goal for this year is to get good at JavaScript. Most of the modern web is built using some JavaScript framework, and with all its functionality, it has become an essential tool for building things on the internet.

I recently signed up for Beginner JavaScript and am excited to learn and do more with it in the coming year. I’ve tried to learn it before, but I haven’t had the need to build anything it so it never really stuck.

I’m determined this time will be different, mainly because I will be using it in my job as a web developer, and hope to build some of my own projects eventually.

A New/Old Purpose for Blogging

The first blog I ever started on WordPress was hosted for free on, and I used it to share what I was learning as I began my IT career. It was mostly so I had a place I could look up things for myself when I needed to remember how to do something.

Fourteen years later, I am back at that same company and have finally reached my goal of being a web developer. Once again I find myself needing a place to document what I am learning, as being a front-end developer of any kind is fast-paced and overwhelming as it is a constantly changing environment.

I was considering using a different domain name for this purpose, but rather than create yet another site that needs to be maintained, I figured this space will work just fine. I will be experimenting with the design as well but for now have switched to the Hemingway theme (I had previously been using McLuhan).

starting over, again

After 4 years at another job, I’m going back to Lakeside, where I was for almost 9 years of my IT career. I’m excited for the new opportunities and challenges this will bring, and to finally have “web developer” as part of my title. They are finally at a place where I believe I will be able to do a lot of the things I had been wanting to do when I was there the last time.

I hope it will also allow me to pursue other hobbies outside of work with the extra time and energy, including stuff with my family. While it is a step back financially, I think it will be so much better for me in so many ways in the long-term.

I’m making a note of some of my personal goals now, so I can track my progress in the months and years to come.

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