Here we are at the halfway point of the year, where we congratulate our Member of the Month for July 2011. This month's prestigious award goes to SgtLegend.
Please join me in congratulating him and thanking him for his on-going help and support on the forums.
And now, on with the questions.
We've known of you since you joined a year ago as SgtLegend, so would you like to introduce yourself to us and the meaning behind your avatar.
My name is Chris. I'm a 20 year old web developer from Melbourne, Australia. My primary role in a work place, wherever I may be, is front end HTML development, but on the odd occasion I can sneak in some PHP and MySQL. Before I was a web developer I was a BMX rider going to school and hanging out with friends from time to time. When I got my first taste of the internet it was with a cool 56kb modem running on a 1.2GH/z processor with Windows XP. Back then I had no idea what anti-virus, web development, IDEs, widgets or blogs even were until I met one friend who doesn't realize it but actually started my career in web development.
Before I found SitePoint and all these web development forums I basically relied on self learning and visiting tutorial sites every now and then. During the last year or so I mixed up the way I went about doing everyday things like helping others, learning new techniques and just in general seeing what kind of person I could become. Since joining the forum, however, I have found that as long as you try to help someone and they get some sense of your reply, it's a better feeling than not helping them at all. In doing this for the last year now, I've found that as a human I have the internal instinct even more now to just help others no matter whether it be on a train or on the sidewalk or in a forum.
Before web development, however, I was a gamer on XLink Kai playing Halo 2 which is basically where I started helping others. While using the software to play online with friends, I got into a habit where, no matter what, I generally would help someone—out of kindness—which is how I got enjoyment from my day to day encounters with random people. In a way I got that sense of self pride from every person I helped, which found me changing my name from "bmx4eva" to "Legend" about 2-3 months in, because I felt like if you want to be a leader your name needs to represent you.
Essentially, straight after changing my name I found I got noticed more because no one else had seen such a unique name in the community before. Back then I found it overwhelming at first, but after a while I got into a zone where I found that no matter how many support requests I got, I pushed through and helped every person—even if I was helping four people at the one time. I think, none the less, I taught myself to help users in a way that gave them all an answer that helped them move a step closer to success in their own goals. Pride took over from there, which eventually lead me to once again changing my name from "Legend" to "SgtLegend (Sergeant Legend)" because I felt that I was more or less that guy you could always turn to for help no matter the circumstance may have been.
Ever since then, my self pride and support towards others grew to the point where I was no longer shy posting in community forums; I was no longer spooked off by professionals but I embraced it because there is no better feeling than replying to a thread and having that professional input either backing your post or improving on it.
At the end of the day, anyone can help others. Just embrace that inner feeling you get when you see another person helping someone and just let the words spill out and one day soon that feeling will become mutual throughout the entire community.
It's great to hear that supporting others extends beyond our site. How did you get started with programming?
Initially I was using multiple CMSs and experimenting with things I could do. Then one day I stumbled upon a person who is a good friend now who helped me almost every day through ups and downs. Then one day I read a tutorial about phpBB login bridges, and after succeeding in building that bridge and having it work perfectly I decided to move on just by making small scripts here and there, till eventually I kept learning new techniques from php.net and expanded what I could do. It's hard for me to remember the very specific script that set me in motion, because I have built so many more since that time. To cut it down, basically I guess you could say I started by experimenting, taking in general knowledge one day at a time and pushing through to the point where my voice was being heard.
You've been quite active here since you joined us. What brought you here to help out, and what is it that's encouraged you to stick around helping others?
Bookmarks, hehe! Yes, bookmarks are what keep my drive to help others going now; as, being full time at work and then coming home, I forget a lot of what I'm doing including visiting forums. Well, now you know my secret. I guess my encouragement would be that feeling of knowing, no matter what, I'm always welcomed back because in all honestly if you're not wanted, people ask for you to leave. SitePoint, however, from my experience has always been friendly and warm hearted, which is a 110% reason for me to stay and help out.
Now that we know you're going to be around for some time to come, do you have any advice for budding programmers who are starting out themselves?
Never give up—3 simple words, but they are the most powerful words I ever got taught. If you feel like you're stuck so far in a corner, simply make a thread: there are no embarrassing moments that the rest of us haven't already been through. At the end of the day, even though we may not know you, the friendship that everybody on SitePoint shares is a lot stronger than any other website I have found. Another simple thing I got taught was use Google, no matter how simple the question. Google is the largest web development search engine. If you meet any web developer they will say they use Google because it's impossible not to be curious about searching for that answer you seek.
We are here, we can help, and you're not alone. Embrace the community and internal friendship and your skills will improve faster than your wildest dreams.
I guess, be prepared, as you never know—I may come to a forum near you!
We'll certainly be looking forward to it. Now for something completely different though—what are your favourite:
Hmm, you might have to just check my facebook profile https://www.facebook.com/chris.upjohn.aus for those last 3.
- Call of Duty Black Ops
- Battlefield Bad Company 2
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Crysis 2
- Portal 2
- Adobe Design Premium 5.5
- Araxis Merge
- Camtasia Studio
- Stardock (Object Dock)
- Pastebin Desktop
If you had the power to do so, is there anything about SitePoint that you would change, or like to see improved?
That's a big call, but if I had to say anything, it would be an improvement to the current theme. Personally for me, after building websites for so long now, for usability I feel the overall look is lacking that whole interactive user experience.
We'll try not to, but that's a good observation and is something that the developers here are currently working on. Where do you see the future of web design and programming going, over the next several years to come?
At the moment I see the best potential coming from the following:
- Adobe Creative Suite 5.5
All these play the biggest part in design/development now because they are all regularly used, they are all extremely documented and easy to use and they have pushed the web design/development world years ahead already. With all of these things, the years to come show a high rise for browser-based animation, fully AJAX controlled websites, a lot more mobile applications been converted into web formatted pages. Personally, I am moving towards HTML5 and CSS3 a lot more now due to Microsoft, Firefox, Google, Safari and Opera all pushing for users to upgrade to the latest browsers so they get the best experiences. Because they are doing this, web design/development will be able to push ahead years in just months, because we have that structure where—no matter who you are—you alone can make the web a better place.
At the moment we are all in a prime position to make the internet the best it's ever been and show companies we can do just about anything when it comes to self promotion and advertisements.
Speaking of self-promotion, even though there is a standing rule against it, we can relax that rule for you due to this special occasion. So while you have the opportunity, is there anything that you would like to promote?
I guess in particular the CMS I develop for, called Nuke Evolution Xtreme. I always try to spend any bit of time I get on making it better and more user friendly. The CMS is open source and more for clan-based websites; but with a little ripping and pulling you can make it into a really streamline CMS for personal use.
Currently it's supported on PHP 5.3 and MySQL 5.5 and has hundreds of free themes available for it to download direct from the site. Our forum doors are always open for business, so you never need to worry about been left in the dark.
Link: Nuke Evolution Xtreme - Leading Open Source Content Management System » Taking Evolution to the Xtreme!
Do you have any final last words that you would like to share?
If you ever feel like versing me in CoD Black Ops on the Xbox 360 give me a buzz, as I always like the challenge of beating people I just met. I may sound over confident, but you may be surprised.