I arrived with my family in Ireland more than 5 years ago, on a cold, rainy night at the end of January 2013. It was the start of a new chapter in our lives, accompanied by a lot of changes. I got to work in some great places, some very well known all around the world. I met and worked with many great people, got involved in activities I never dreamt I would do. Ireland is such a great country and we loved every moment we spent here so far.
But nothing lasts forever and for me and my family, this is the end of our Irish chapter. At the end of May, we’re moving across borders once more. This time we’re going back to our home country of Romania. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sever the connections I made so far. Nowadays is easier than ever to keep in touch across great distances. It just takes a little bit more effort on all sides (and a good internet connection).
Slán leat, Ireland! Bine te-am regasit, Romania! (Goodbye, Ireland, Well met again, Romania)!
I look back and realize that it’s been way too long since I last wrote something on this blog. And I don’t want to slip into the new year without cutting off this trend. Therefore I decided to do a review of 2017. I know, it’s a bit cliché, but everyone does it, so why not.
On the professional side, I have stepped away from the “on-site” contracting model and moved back to working remotely. Like every major change, there are good parts and not so good parts, but it’s a step I had to take to move my career towards the next level. Over time it has become more and more clear to me that I am not cut to be a corporate worker. I have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to move away from that. There will be more on this topic in the new year.
Speaking of moving further, I am very pleased with the progress I had with my meetup, DublinCSS. While the absolute figures are not that impressive compared to other local meetups, for a very niche project (and from my personal point of view), this has been a terrific year.
I managed to arrange 7 meetings in 2017 and I am immensely grateful to the people that accepted my invitation to talk: Val Head (@vlh), Harry Roberts (@csswizardry), John Craddock (Do you use Twitter, John?), Aimee Lally (@Aimee_lally), Tommy Hodgins (@innovati), Katie Fenn (@katie_fenn) and last but not least Andres Galante (@andresgalante). You can see some of these presentations recorded on the DublinCSS YouTube channel.
While we’re on the topic of presentations, 2017 has also been the year I did my debut as a public speaker outside the local meetups. I did two short elevator pitch presentations, one at the All Day Hey event in Leeds, UK, which, in turn, opened the doors to the Reason To conference in Brighton, UK. I got recordings of both talks – feel free to check them on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv563lTLrQY – All Day Hey presentation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOP9slo0ADU – full recording of the Reasons To elevator pitches round. I’m the first in the lineup, but all talks have been very interesting.
Another great point of interest for me this year was saying goodbye to my trusty laptop as I moved to a new desktop computer. For the geeky ones of you, more details are available on the PC Part Picker build page. For the rest of you, here’s a picture I took of it soon after I finished putting it together. My desk is not that neat and clean anymore 🙂
I’ll round this up with a few hints about my new year resolutions (unfortunately the main resolution will still remain 1920x1200px for the foreseeable future). I’my trying to be short, so I’ll simply make a bullet list:
Pay more attention to my health and wellness. Working remotely means I am given again a very large degree of flexibility over my time and I need to take advantage of that.
Keep the momentum going with DublinCSS
Have at least one public speaking event
Attend at least 3 conferences in 2018
Make public the personal project I’ve been working on in 2017. More details on this will follow.
Last but not least, consolidate my career and my personal brand.
All this being said, I wish all of you a great and fulfilling 2018 and I will see you again next year.
I have been actively involved with local meetups here in Dublin for more than half a year now. Yet, despite all the tech companies present here, there was no group dedicated primarily to the mastery of HTML/CSS/SVG. I’m talking about web technologies and skills that are indeed easy to learn but very difficult to master.
With all that in mind, I decided to step in and do something about it. Therefore, over the last weekend, I did a big crunch and created a new meetup group and it’s support system (identity, domain, Twitter handle) . Ladies and gentlemen, I’m giving you DublinCSS (http://www.meetup.com/DublinCSS/).
DublinCSS is Ireland’s only group dedicated to all things CSS. If you want to get to know your floats from your flexboxes and your LESS from your Sass, then this is your place to hang out. We get together to discuss the latest tips and techniques. So if you love all things CSS, like we do, then join our group now or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DublinCSS.
A big bow to SydCSS (http://www.meetup.com/SydCSS/), the meetup group that served as inspiration for my own initiative. I also “@import”-ed the description above from them and padded it a bit with some ideas of my own, to create the description of my own group. There was no infringement intended, only a deep recognition that they said what I feel a lot better than I ever could.
I was honestly amazed by the reception of this group, as it passed 100 members on its first day. I am taking this as a sign that people are indeed interested in learning more about these technologies. Thus my first priority is to arrange a first meeting, as soon as possible. This is an event that I look forward to and I dread in equal parts. While I did other presentations before, it’s the first time I am organising such an event. Still, all this effort is well worth it.
All these being said, I can hardly wait to as many of the new members at the first meeting. Stay tuned for more info.
The first quarter of 2016 almost out of the way, and everyone around is waiting for the spring to finally settle. Now it’s a good time to take a small break and make a summary of the accomplishments I made so far. Everyone needs a bit of extra motivation every now and then, even if it’s patting yourself on the back.
On 18th of February I published another article on SitePoint.com – “Cleaning House after Internet Explorer“. That makes three so far and I definitely don’t plan to stop here. I am working on a follow-up and I hope to finish it as soon as possible. I think I managed to hit a sensitive topic here, as in only a month I got over 9000 views. Enter Vegeta, stage left:
Next on the list is my activity as SitePoint Ambassador (see my previous post from December). I made a couple of presentations of their behalf, participated to several meetups and got more involved in the community activities, like doing peer reviews for new articles of fellow authors or participating to discussions on the forums. Here is the slides for two presentations I made a local meetup – Web Developers Ireland.
First one was promoting the launch of a new SitePoint book – “Jump Start PHP Environment”. It is a great guide on how to set up a modern professional environment for PHP development.
The second one was on the topic of my latest article: an exploration of the various web development practices that are no longer required if you decide to drop support for old versions of Internet Explorer.
As a bonus, you can amuse yourselves watching me actually delivering the first presentation.
Unfortunately my camera let me down when I tried to record the second session and stopped recording after 8 minutes. Most probably due to overheating, as later tests recorded a lot more, until it hit a file size limit of 3.99GB. At the moment my only option is to record at a lower resolution. For further amusement, here’s the only part that survived.
This should be enough for now. Expect a few more updates soon, as I’m working on the launch of a few projects. Until then, I wish you all the best.
“Internet. The final frontier of human communication. These are the voyages of the SitePoint ambassadors. Their continuous mission: to push the limits of UX, design and web technologies. To spread out knowledge and best practices. To boldly go where no other web geek has been before.”
I wrote these words back in June when I had to come with a job description for the new activity of SitePoint ambassador. The first of us invited were a bunch of hyper, enthusiastic people and I wanted something equally funny and serious, to post on my LinkedIn profile.
How did all this started?
I got my hands on the first SitePoint product back in 2005-2006. It was my room mate’s copy of the Web Design Business Kit (https://www.sitepoint.com/premium/books/the-web-design-business-kit) and I was fascinated by the opportunities it promised. I begged and cajoled until I got permission to study it myself, took many notes and promised myself that one day I will have my own business in this area.
Over the years I returned often to SitePoin.com (especially for the CSS reference – sadly outdated at the moment) and to pick up interesting articles to read. Then, the last summer, I noticed the invitation to join the new Ambassador program and I was delighted to know I was accepted. Now, when the program got real traction and things are moving in the right direction, I am really glad I followed my instinct to volunteer my efforts.
Like with any other activity there are pluses and minuses. And the most important thing is that most of the good effects will happen sometime in the future, while the efforts tax my already limited time. As this program is a volunteer activity, I can only allocate it time and effort after my daily job took its course. To keep up with the “motivational quote” trend, for this situation I like best this piece of Internet wisdom: “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
Yet, even disregarding the future bonuses, there are many immediate benefits about being an Ambassador. The part I like best is participation to offline events, where I met some very interesting people. I did more networking in the last three months than I did in the last 5 years. I look forward to continue these activities and hope to meet as many as possible of my fellow Ambassadors directly, not just over the Internet.
Last but not least, I had the great honour of receiving the second ever Ambassador of the Month title. To quote our fearless leader, Elio Quoshi, I managed “to impress with various offline events, structured reports, meeting notes and occasionally NSFW humor”.
Today marks an important milestone in my professional career. My second article got published by SitePoint.com. I did indeed say “second”, as the first one was published on August 5th. Normally I should have marked that day as the more important one. But today proved that I can persevere and that I can go further on that path. It proved that the first article was not a fluke or a freak lucky accident. And I intend to continue on this path, so stay tuned for new articles.
Without more delays, I invite you to check my writings. Hopefully there will be something that will help you with your front end coding projects:
Recently I had a discussion with an agency designer over the preferred work process and, more precisely, the use of front end framework such as Bootstrap or Foundation. Personally, I am a huge fan of Bootstrap and I have used it on all my recent projects. My companion, on the other hand, advocated custom solutions, optimized for top performance. In her opinion, a framework only adds unnecessary clutter.
So, who is right?
Actually we both are. And that’s because we work on totally different types of project. She builds media sensations – small, flashy websites that have only a handful of pages. All my recent projects have been in the corporate and web application sector. We’re talking about websites with tens of pages, repetitive components and modules. To make an analogy with the auto industry, she is building hand-made custom sports cars, while I build Volvos and long haul trucks.
Let’s see, then, when it pays to use a framework.
First advantage of a framework like Bootstrap is standardized code. This allows a team of developers to maintain their code as uniform as possible. There is a large community that contributes with solutions and modules, thus you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single time. A few years ago, when I was working in Spain, we unified a large educational portal around Bootstrap, giving a common base and an unified coding style for all developers in the team.
Second, a wide spread use of such frameworks, loaded from code distribution CDNs, means the base code could be already cached in your browser, speeding up the loading times for all other websites that use the same framework. Even smaller corporate sites can be very well built upon a standard framework. Especially if they are part of a network who uses the same framework. This is the case of the latest large project I worked on: a start-up with an entire “ecosystem” of websites: corporate, web application, developer portal, and back-end admin application. Sharing the framework code from the same CDN, once an user has loaded one site of the system, it will load the other ones faster.
Third, we return to the type of websites. Large ones, with many complex pages, are the best candidates for using a framework. Blogs are another one. Portals. Knowledge bases. The list can go on and on. It’s trucks and Volvos vs McLaren F1s.
Note to self: When you write your blog post, always save draft before uploading media. You won’t risk loosing the entire text, thus being forced to write it again. Or better, write it somewhere else and just copy/paste it to WordPress
We return to our scheduled program.
I’m trying to keep true to my new year plans (my resolution remains the same – 1920×1200) and got my online presence refreshed and updated. Thus I present to you the online residential complex of Adrian Sandu:
The main site (www.adriansandu.com) now hosts my profile and portfolio. Hand-coded over a Bootstrap 3 base, for maximum control.
The blog got moved to its own subdomain (blog.adriansandu.com). Powered by WordPress and using the latest default theme. Because it works well enough, it looks good enough and I don’t have time to make a custom theme matching the main website. As people say in my country, “the boot maker always has holes in his boots.”
The latest addition is the Lab (lab.adriansandu.com) where I’m keeping older projects and my experiments. Here there be dragons. And zombies. And a lot of other stuff. You have been warned.
Another new year goal is to improve my photography skills. I keep my best shots at 500px.com/AdrianSandu and I’m still considering whether to upgrade to their better plans or not. Other pictures might end on Google Pictures or Facebook. I’ve kind of given up on Instagram as I don’t use a smartphone anymore and my tablet only has internet connection over wifi.
Over the next weeks I plan to update these three websites some more as I dust up old work, concoct new experiments and begin new projects. See you next time!
A while ago I had discovered a very interesting application from LinkedIn Labs – the InMaps. This application will connect to your LinkedIn account and put all your connections in visual format. Here’s what my network looked like at that time:
Today I got a notification that InMaps is being discontinued on September 1, 2014 – that is in less than a month. This prompted me to have a last look at my current network, while I still can. And this is the result:
Plenty of change, as it can be expected from almost two years and moving from Spain to Ireland. Entire new country, new jobs, a lot of new people – and a lot of recruiting agents in the mix. It was interesting to see the evolution. And it will be just as interesting to see what LinkedIn will bring forward to replace InMaps.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve written here. So many things have happened since my arrival here in Ireland. While I might enter into more details later, here’s a brief summary:
Spent about 6 weeks looking for the first job, including a battery of tests and interview with Yahoo! While the position was only partial matched with my skills, it was a great experience in the end.
I’ve had a three month contract with Symantec. Yes, that Symantec. I got to work on a very interesting project with a team of great people. Unfortunately I fell victim to the dreaded “cost saving” after the global restructuring of June 2013.
Landed another contract, this time in Limerick, with another fantastic team of people, called DevEire.
And last, but not least, I tried my hand for the first time with the already famous Smashing Magazine Monthly Wallpapers. And what do you know: I made cut and appeared in the October list with my “Trafalgar Day” entry. Scroll down a bit and enjoy.
I will try and make more time in the future for both this site and TridentDesign (another victim of my hectic year). Next in the plans is the long started and even longer delayed redesign. Now, that Bootstrap 3.0.0 has been launched, I have no more reasons to procrastinate.
See you all soon. And “Thank you!” again, Smashing Magazine.