I learned the basics...now what?

Sometimes I feel I’m not as efficient as I should be with writing my mark up. With each new website (have only done about 4-5) I feel that I’m starting from scratch again. What sort of things should I be doing to stay consistent and effective? I also feel my organization skills could be better.

Any sort of methods or best practices (which I feel that I try to follow, at least the ones I have heard about) that could help? Setting up HTML/CSS templates, so when I start a new site I have a good starting point already hashed out? Anything to break out of that I’m still a beginner feeling and get to the next level?

Certainly, it’s worth abstracting your work into reusable code, like your CSS rests, your basic CSS / HTML structures that you often use. Makes the next project that much quicker.

Also, look at the CSS of the top practitioners. (You can look under the hood of any site.) That will give you a lot of handy ideas. :slight_smile:

This is a good stage, even after 5 years of experience I find I code each site I do MUCH better than the last. With that comes the feeling that I started from scratch. I have ,over time, learned to recognized useful patterns… which lets me anticipate which strategies to use for each situation… and also built up some snippets to copy/paste… of course having a library of snippets may save you time typing but they are useless unless you have that previously mention ability to recall strategies to use. Give it a little more time… you are getting there!

I’m still learning and often feel like a beginner because things are constantly changing e.g. CSS3, responsive layouts, mobile devices and so on. My code is constantly evolving and I am always looking to do things better than I did the time before and perhaps change the way I go about things. I don’t think there will ever be a time when you can say - “I’ve learned all of CSS”.

As far as layout goes then experience does help and as mentioned above knowing how to tackle something is half of the problem. You may be able to code very well but if you have the wrong approach for that situation then things become much harder.

To speed work up you should have templates and snippets you can use especially for the awkward jobs like js sliders, hide and show, tabs etc that you can just drag and drop and then re-style as necessary.

I often find that when I start a new job I recognise the type of layout from a previous job I have done and will use that previous page as a starting point. Other times I will just use the last page I worked on as a starting point because it is familiar to me and will have used the latest techniques.

It’s also useful to have snippets of html structures available to instantly work on (e.g. 3 column layout header and footer, 2 columns layout, one column layout, default menus and lists, default footers with links and copyright, and default sections with lorem ipsum content). It’s then an easy matter to have a basic starting point within minutes and then you can go about styling it properly.

Mostly its about finding a process that suits you and that you can work with and get up and running quickly and efficiently.

I do find it difficult to learn considering the fact practices change so often. I’m going to experiment more with using snippets as Coda does have a nice Snippet storage tool.