A Junior Dev’s Musings On Simplicity In Coding

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Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

With 2020 rounding the corner, I’m attempting to make software development less a checklist and more of a constant now that my portfolio site is almost done. (So hype!) For me, this means not only engaging in the practices that help any budding software engineer (things like algorithm practice, foundation review, constantly challenging yourself with brand new information, etc.) but taking the time to see the importance of what I’m learning and it’s place in the context of time.

Conveniently enough, writing with this focus is the perfect way document my curiosity and a great example of what exactly I mean. With Medium, I get to share my perspective on this programming journey and start a conversation with whoever is kind of enough to read it. In the end, that’s what the internet is for, right?

Earlier this week, my good friend and fellow corn trader Ryan Vaznis sent me a link to txti. Check out their About:

Txti is fast web pages for everybody. Most of the world still does not have internet, but many websites from countries like the United States are big and complicated. This makes it hard for people with slow internet to use these sites. It is even harder for those people to put their own thoughts on the internet. With txti, anyone can use any device to share their story.

A simple way to share. Unfussy and uncomplicated, without being limited by device or signal strength. Remember, even if 59% of the world has internet access, that internet access varies widely from person to person and the majority of internet users are located in the United States, China, and India, pointing to an issue of inequality that determines just who has the fastest, most stable internet connection — and therefore who benefits.

At its core, txti creators Barry T. Smith and Adam Newbold made a website that helps reduce inequality by making information more readily available. That’s an admirable mission and one that led me down this rabbit hole in the first place.

The site’s bare aesthetic is presented with clarity and focus while teaching users how to use it, using language that’s clear and maintains high standards of accessibility. (I don’t see any other spoken languages represented, however.) It minimalistic and helpful.

Simple.

Ryan’s sharing was an act of sharing txti did not go unnoticed by the Spotify algorithm, where later that week recommend me The Vanilla Javascript Podcast.

Just take a quick read of creator Chris Ferdinandi’s show description:

A show about JavaScript for people who hate the complexity of modern front‑end web development.

And with each show usually under five minutes but that can stretch to twenty-five minutes on some rarer occasions, there’s a laser focus on getting the most effective information about the power of vanilla Javascript to the listener. In other words, a simpler approach to development.

Because it’s lightweight and quick, vanilla Javascript is the most dominant programming language in the world. This is why ideas like txti and The Vanilla Javascript Podcast are so interesting: in simplicity lies creativity. There’s untapped potential for unconventional marketing funnels, for example. Even a zeitgeist-defining titan like Twitter has it’s own compatibility issues:

If you use Twitter on an older version of the above browsers, browsers not listed, or a browser extension which modifies your user agent, you may be redirected to an older version of Twitter, or be unable to use Twitter. In order to ensure the best possible Twitter experience, including all the latest features and security updates, please make sure your browser and operating system are up-to-date.

So what about those who don’t have/can’t have the most up-to-date technology? Questions of equality, fairness, ethical responsibility regarding the access of information among others come up, questions I’m curious to explore the answers of alongside my technical training to better guide me conceptually to the impact I want to make in this field.

If you liked what you read, consider connecting or dropping me a line at nick.echev@gmail.com!

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