There’s too many of them!

August 10th, 2012

When I graduated I knew HTML and CSS, I was pretty good with ActionScript, and I could hack together stuff in JavaScript and PHP. (I also knew Lingo but I don’t like to tell people that…) As I ventured out into the web development community, I started to learn about languages that I hadn’t really had much to do with, Java, Ruby, Python, etc. Then I found jQuery, Prototype and script.aculo.us. If you’ve ever even heard of Ruby, you’ll know that Ruby programmers are just better than everyone else, so of course I had to check Ruby out. But, while I was reading about Ruby, I started to read the Python was actually the best language, so I had to check it out too. And that’s when I discovered the problem. In the web development world, there’s almost too much choice!

Do I have a problem with having so many choices? Of course not but there is one thing that can happen and it happened to me, you can get distracted. I picked Ruby first and spent a fair amount of time learning the basics about the language. And some of the tutorials I checked out introduced me to Rails. After a while I got distracted by Python and I spent a lot of time doing every tutorial I could find on it. So I learned two new languages, what’s the big deal? Well, I was learning these on my own time and I wasn’t comfortable using either in an actual project at work. For that I stuck to what I knew and what could get the job done the fastest, PHP. In fact, after a while, I realized I really should have spent my time learning more PHP because that’s what I would end up using any way.

I’m not saying PHP is better than the other two, far from it. It’s just I haven’t had a project yet where I’d be able to justify using them over PHP. Any site I work on with a large backend, I build the front end because that’s what I’m good at and what I enjoy. This is where you’d think I’d say, I spend my time getting better at PHP but it’s not. This summer I became interested in node.js. I enjoy JavaScript and the idea of using it to build the backend really interests me. I just haven’t had the chance to use it in a project yet.

A couple of weeks ago I took a look at the Dojo Toolkit. It’s a really powerful JavaScript library that allows you do some amazing things and a lot of big name JS devs have been promoting it. I like what I saw but after doing a couple of the tutorials on the website, I found that I was wondering when I would use most of what I was learning. And the stuff that I could see a use for, I kept thinking it would just be easier to use jQuery. Dojo looks great and if I ever come across a project where I can use it, I will definitely check it out again but I decided not to dive into it. I’ve learned to spend my time getting better at the tools I use regularly rather than checking out everything new that I come across. I don’t think I’m the only one that does this. I learn these new languages and tools because I love what I do and I really enjoy learning.

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