Develop Responsive SIte w/o Smart Phone?

How do you do that and know when it is 320px by whatever?

The lazy way is to have the developer toolbars open, and drag it down. In Chrome, if it’s open, the top right of the viewport will have the dimensions (as you drag) and you can easily see what width/height you are viewing at.

When I went into that view while viewing the post I am responding to I saw this…

That says to me SitePoint and Discourse were not build to support mobile devices…

Discourse is responsive, but Sitepoint isn’t. I’ve complained about this for a couple months now.

It appears they don’t want to do anything about it.

Yes, With Firefox, you need to “simulate touch”, reload the page, go into the hamburger menu and choose “Mobile View” to get the mobile CSS instead of the desktop CSS


It might be more helpful if I get answers to this (and related) questions first…

Are you an independent web-developer?

There seems to be an implied question there over whether or not it would be worth the effort of investing the time in reading the material I suggested. Is that a reasonable guess?

I’m having a past-mid-life crisis right now, and trying to save my ass… :cry:

Lost a really good job at the beginning of the year. Now forced to figure out what to do. (Age is my enemy!) Have tried doing some free-lance work and am quickly realizing that my skills are no longer marketable in computer science.

I think I need someone with a couch to help me figure out what to do…

So you’re wondering if it’s financially rewarding enough to justify putting in the time and effort to become proficient?

Nothing personal, but I have seen posts here made by you that involved

  • Design
  • server-side PHP coding
  • Database architecture
  • Content writing
  • SEO
  • etc

IMHO you are spreading yourself too thin and taking on too much responsibility.
The days of being able to be a jack-of-all-trades “webmaster” have long been over-powered by the complexity and rapid changes happening in diverse aspects of web dev.

It’s difficult enough to have the time and energy to keep up with things in one “area” let alone all. One would need to be an exceptional “super-person”. Not saying you aren’t, just saying.

If you lose your desire to go deep into other areas and stick to Design, I’m sure you could manage.

It’s fine if you have all the time in the world to work on a personal site. But if you need to market yourself, I think you should pick the area of web dev that you like the best, do the best in, and has good potential for finding clients


I’m trying to figure out what to do to feed myself and family…

If you live in the U.S. and and are used to making $60-70k, then after taxes that is at least $4,000/month - and that is chump change to most people I know in IT.

Well, after losing a long-term job, I have faced with a lot of age-discrimination - even though people will never admit it. And I had one person ask me, “Why would I hire you when I can get someone to build me a website for $500?”

How do you support one person let alone a family on $500/month?

It seems to me that IF I was good at mobile/responsive design, it might make me more marketable as a freelancer, or maybe even in the regular job market. But I fear it will take me a year or two to learn it, and even if I do, will I be stuck getting paid maybe $700 for websites instead of $500?

With the current freelance gig I picked up after I lost my job, I have close to 300 hours of development into a website along with all of the marketing stuff I did for the owner, and that puts me at approaching Minimum Wage with an unhappy client who doesn’t understand why he isn’t swamped with new customers?!

I am trying to feed myself. :cry:

Big companies like Apple and Google want 20-something Ph.D.'s from Stanford. And most companies I have applied for want you to be a project manager and business analyst and .Net expert and have SEO experience, and do QA, and…

And the small businesses I approach seem to think you can get a site like FaceBook or or Twitter in a few weeks work and for under $1,000…

I am besides myself of how to get back to work or make it as a freelancer…

I was hoping that I might have better luck working with small-to-medium businesses. I have had it with Corporate America.

I thought maybe if I could take my current web skills and add on “responsive/mobile design” it might give me enough edge to compete against an endless sea of people who build WordPress websites for $100-$500.

Never thought I would see the day when someone at Panera Bread makes more than I do per hour…

And I don’t understand how a plumber or electrician and mechanic can easily charge someone several thousand dollars and never blink, and yet all I hear is people whining about how long it takes to build things and how much I am asking for to do so.

Sorry for rant.

In my professional opinion while it is possible to build responsive websites without a smartphone it is invaluable to conduct some level of testing. I would go as far to say that is is unprofessional not do so. That doesn’t mean testing on ALL different types of devices but at least a desktop, tablet, and phone. Anything less is HIGHLY unprofessional.

Well, I admit it isn’t easy thinking clearly on an empty stomach.
But my wife and I get by comfortably in our own home on just under $1.5 K / month (well below the FPL) - more than $500, but not by much.

Anyway, My thinking is that being a “jack-of-all-trades” would be best suited for small “mom and pop” sites and these types of clients are the ones that won’t pay top dollar.
While if one is specialized and is better than the majority there is a good chance they can command a higher income.

Not always true, a lot depends on circumstance and luck, but I still think you would do better if you picked something you could really shine at doing and focus you’re time and effort on that.

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Speaking from experience, yes it is…

If you have a paid off home, that is doable. $1,500/month is what a lot of one bedroom apartments go for…

I don’t need top dollar, just realism. Maybe I am not worthy to be in the presence of all of you, but I don’t see how a client can expect a database-driven website, with user accounts, messaging, uploads, and e-commerce for under $10,000.

Put another way, how can anyone expect someone in IT with my experience to make under $20/hour?

In my area, most auto mechanics charge $90-$115/hour. Most body shops are over $60/hour. Most plumbers and electricians probably make $75-$100/hour. Don’t even get me started on doctors and lawyers.

When did IT become low-class, minimum wage-esque?!

My former job started out as a developer and turned into 3-4 roles that would never exist anywhere else in the real world. That limits your career prospects when you lose your job… (I would give anything if I knew JavaScript and OOP and Responsive Design right now!!!)

But at the end of the day I think I am a very competent developer - even if I can’t compete with some of you.

When it comes to small-to-medium businesses, everyone is in a Word Press mindset and I think that is a bad business move. But the Internet has caused everyone to want things for free (think music and movie) or things that are very cheap. :smirk:

I’ve got a bunch of thoughts whizzing round my head right now, but as its gone midnight here, anything I might type wouldn’t do them a great deal of justice. One question though, what was your previous line of work? I’d be interested to see whether there are skills there you could use to your advantage.

To get back on-topic a leave discussion of “business” for the other topic

It sounds like you are mainly a Designer.

With the recent impact of Google changing the rules for mobile sites in mobile SERPs and the steady trend of mobile use increasing, I can see only benefit for learning RWD.

Start a topic with a link to your site giving it the site-review tag and I’m certain it will help you a lot in this endeavor.

Then, market yourself as a Designer, no backend stuff, no database stuff, no content writing, no off-site SEO, etc.
It’s good, even somewhat necessary to know those things at least to the point of understanding them, but that doesn’t mean you have to be responsible for doing them.

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Let me put it this way… Over the past 25-30 years, I have worked doing management, project management, business analysis, development, QA, and many more roles.

I consider myself chiefly a developer with a strong business background.

But where I messed up was not keeping up with things like Agile, OOP and JavaScript and mobile. (I tried, but when your boss at work won’t support you learning new things or implementing them, what can you do? I was a victim of a business environment that made me obsolete before my time!!) :angry:

From what I hear, people who are really good at JavaScript and OOP can make tons of money - or at least $70k+ in the U.S.

And even when I look for “gigs” on Craiglist, everyone wants the skills above that I don’t have.

It frustrates me to no end, because while Agile and OOP and JavaScript and mobile are important, 90% of what small or medium or large clients need I have and am good at.

But you know what a fad-driven society we live in. Companies and people are all caught up in buzzwords and not marketable skills.

I would rather hire someone who is older, but a great problem-solver than someone who is out of school yet has a resume littered with buzzwords. But that isn’t how most people think…

So, sorry for turning this thread into my other thread, but I am trying to figure out…

1.) Is Responsive Design a possible “silver bullet”? (The assumption is I am a good developer/web-developer already.)

2.) Could I learn it and do it without having a smart-phone? (I can’t afford a couple hndred more in telephone bills right now!)

3.) Could I learn it quick enough (e.g. under 30 days) where I could use it to approach small business who want to have a mobile presence?

4.) In general, is there enough demand and $$$ where I could rise above people wanting $500 WordPress websites and maybe make a couple grand per gig?

I don’t want fame or glory - just enough steady income to keep a roof over our head and food in our stomach. (And making more than a waitress or truck driver!)

1.) Yes, but if you know CSS it is easy to learn. So if you think that is something holding you back I would recommend deviating from the absolute truth when asked. Everyone “deviates” slightly from the truth on resumes and interviews anyway – its called marketing and it is expected.

2.) Yes, chrome and firefox box have mobile views.

3.) Yes, again if you know CSS the technical execution of responsive design isn’t difficult to grasp.

4.) Perhaps but I think a majority of “freelancers” are inexperienced bottom feeders hardly making any money. The notion these days seems to be freelancing is the alternative to not being able to get a real job. Which is completely the wrong mentality but that is the way it is considering the abundance of cheap jobs out there. I see posts day in and day out on this very forum that prove this very reality. Basic questions which someone offering professional services should know and if they don’t certainly are not qualified to be running their own business. People don’t think of freelancing as a business anymore which is the problem.

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Responsive design is literally making a fluid website. Then, if you see something break at a size, make the most optimal fix that will hopefully (SHOULD) fix all other sizes.

It might not just “break” at a certain size. Perhaps at 550px or something you want hamburger. That’s a media query.

Very simple! The hard part (if you could call it that) is “fixing” the “broken” display at whatever sizes.

I was wondering where you were! :wink:

As much as we argue about different topics, it sounds like what you have to say on this topic is consistent with what I was thinking. You message adds a glimmer of hope to my situation.

What are your thoughts on my OP?

If I could quickly learn CSS3 and Responsive Design and maybe a little JavaScript, I was thinking I could approach small-to-medium businesses with the sales pitch of, “Would you like to make your website mobile and cater to a larger, younger audience? Then I can help!”

I’ve been room hunting since I got a new job. Found a 2 bedroom place in a BEAUUUUUUUUTIFUL location…1150 a month (split between two people). Can probably get it down to 1100. Whew. Hope I get it. There’s a waterfront where you can kayak, do boating, swim…I want it bad. Applied today.

Lots of driving today.

Your OP is this:

Which I answered.

I’ve read through this thread, and for the most part, I agree with everything that has been said. I do believe you stretch yourself too thin. Get good at something, and make that your skillset. I chose to get good at front-end development, since that’s what clicks for me. I can sell that hell out of that to companies (just did). Perhaps it helps that I’m still young but right now, while you know a lot, you actually aren’t really an expert in anything (if I’m going to be honest.)

I think you should figure out what you’re best at (or what you can market the best) and stick with that. Design was mentioned earlier. Are you a decent designer? All the coding in the world makes no difference if it doesn’t look good and provide a good UI. I understand you think of yourself as a coder, but perhaps consider if your design skills are strong enough (or marketable enough) to switch? Just food for thought.