How to Make the Web Better

A few weeks ago, I saw somebody tweet a link to an interesting concept from Sparkbox called #startYourShift. Basically, it’s a monthly writing project. This is my contribution. The January topic is “How to Make the Web Better.”

Yesterday, I had a bug from QA and was completely clueless on how to fix it. So I did what anyone would do. I turned to Google. I found some random blog where another developer had the same problem. He had written a post on how he fixed it. Because of him, I went from being baffled to closing the bug in the span of an 15 minutes.

For most of my career, Google has brought answers to my questions through sites like Stack Overflow, Codepen, and various developers that have blogs. What percentage of the development community actually contributes on a regular basis though? It’s got to be in the single digits, right? I can’t be the only person guilty of searching for something, finding the answer, implementing the solution, and walking away from their desk never to think of the problem again.

What we do isn’t easy in spite of what some of our clients might think. My job title is “Senior Front End Developer” but there have absolutely been times that I’ve gone home feeling like I know nothing. I don’t care how many years experience you have, there are days when some problem or bug will bring your morale to zero. As a developer community, we really should be doing more to help. A few of our colleagues already are!

How do we make the web better? By making the life of a developer easier. One way to do that is to share the knowledge. If you build a library to solve a problem? Spend a few minutes writing up some documentation for it, slap it on Github, and let Google index it for others. Write something cool in Angular? Put it on Codepen. What’s great is that it really doesn’t matter where you put it. Just put it somewhere. Google will take care of the rest.

A couple months ago, I started creating pens on CodePen of quirky or unusual pieces of code that I’ve written that might be helpful for others. A handful of these pens are already in the hundreds of views. Seeing that is just further validation in my mind that we all should be doing something along these lines. There’s clearly an audience for it.

We’ve all been that developer who is going from page to page looking for a way to solve a problem. Let’s all commit to trying to be that other developer who is offering the answer. It’ll lead to a better web for all.