Weekly Notes 003 [February, 14th - 21st]

This week makes it one month since I quit my day job. I'm literally in shock as I write this. How time flies.

I had 2 very important goals for the past week. The first was rounding up my Nodejs courses and the second was deploying an MVP of a project I was working on (I haven't announced yet because I'm so scared). I managed to get to 50% of the Nodejs courses I was taking and make some headways on my little side project.

I really underestimated how long these things would take. Estimating projects is a skill I'm still working on. So I'm going to focus on the same goals for the coming week. Let's slow down a bit. This isn't do or die.

In addition to these goals, I'd use the time left to fix up a few issues on next-starter-peacock which is my open-source Nextjs starter. You can take a look at the issues here.

So let's dive right in on the awesome things I came across this week.

Podcasts

  • Are web apps fundamentally different than websites? - Jerod, Divya, Feross, Amal, and Nick hold a very funny and interesting debate about how websites are different from web apps. I like this format of the show. Like I just have to sit down and hear industry experts debate about controversial stuff. Epic content.
  • What’s wrong with Ted? - This is the true story of the most intelligent serial killer our nation has ever produced. Ted Kaczynski had a higher IQ than Einstein and used the postal service to deliver handmade bombs to targets over the course of a 17-year long domestic terrorism campaign. I'm too shocked to say anything about this episode. Plus I've been listening to Prodigy for months now, an awesome podcast with on-point storytelling.
  • JAMstack Handbook with Colby Fayock of Element 84 - I'm been listening to this episode for weeks now. Truth is, I almost never finish podcast episodes. It's either I'm bored halfway in or I get carried away by some newer shiny episode. But I managed to finish this one this week. JAMstack is something I really love to learn about.

Stuff I'm reading

  • Netlify Functions - for an unrivaled serverless workflow - An article on the Netlify blog about their efforts to simplify serverless functions. I think serverless functions change everything. Like, I don't need to spin up a hefty Nodejs server to augment my JAMstack site. I only need to think in terms of functionality needs and simple functions to handle them. There's also a playground of basic serverless function examples.

  • Announcing Smart Components - I usually joke that Framer is my most loved product. I don't even think that's a joke anymore. The team is so good that the product feels like magic. In this article, they introduce the idea of smart components. Components with variants and variables. If you have experience with design tools, you'll agree that there're 2 categories: screen design and prototyping tools. These new features help prototyping in a screen design tool like Figma. I'm so excited about where this leads. Also, take a look at One Figma component — 3,360 Variants.

  • Front-of-the-front-end and back-of-the-front-end web development - A succinct way I’ve framed the split is that a front-of-the-front-end developer determines the look and feel of a button, while a back-of-the-front-end developer determines what happens when that button is clicked. I don't hold any opinions about what a frontend developer should do. I feel HTML, CSS, and Javascript are the basic tools and anyone who knows how to write them can do anything they want to. My opinions of course apply solely to me. But I really like that I can do a lot of things by just learning Javascript. Great blog post between.

  • How to Secure API Routes for Jamstack Sites - Very interesting article on how we can secure API routes for JAMstack sites by using serverless functions in between the server and the client. I think the most exciting part of this article is how easy it is to set up serverless functions with NextJS and Netlify. This article inspired a solution to a problem I've had for a while on one of my side projects (casestudies.tech). More on that later.

  • Headless Shopify - How Shopify's Storefront API qualifies it as a headless eCommerce solution. It was also surprising to know that the API only implements GraphQL and doesn't support REST. I took some time last week to learn about GraphQL. I think everything now makes sense.

  • Learn To Love Your Jamstack BFF - This article introduces the concept of Backends for Frontends (BFF) and how it relates to the JAMstack. The idea of BFFs is so real that I experienced it while working at my previous company. While working on the backend API, colleagues across my table on the frontend would quickly need an extra field to be added to the payload. It was easy because the API was solely built for the frontend and the teams were together. I can imagine how complex this gets when the backend serves numerous frontends.

    Backends for Frontends Image

  • There's more than code - Harry discusses how just writing code doesn't make you a great developer. There's a lot of truth in what he's saying. There's certainly more value in being a force multiplier for your whole team than being the guy with headphones on all day.

Resources