My process for keeping up to date on the web

May 15th, 2020

The techniques of the trade changes quickly on the web. To stay informed but not getting overwhelmed by all new tools, frameworks, and techniques I tend to follow a very simple process:

Follow people you trust

I love following people’s RSS feeds, it’s so much cozier and quiet to follow than tumbling around on Twitter/YouTube, and you get the news delivered more privately. I also like the intimacy of following people rather than companies. There are people I’ve followed for years and come to admire highly. Here are some of them:

Subscribe to some quality newsletters

Newsletters are great because they are normally curated and comes delivered on a regular basis. And the upside is that they’re within the safe haven of my inbox — so I get to them in my own speed. I tend to keep a 30-minute review window every week to go through these:

  1. Smashing Magazine’s newsletter is doing a great job out of highlighting tools, clever tricks, and new technology that’s come around. Sent out on a weekly basis and I’ve been subscribed for years. This is a great area of exploration for me.
  2. An Event Apart organizes industry leading conferences. And they also have a newsletter where they highlight what their speakers are learning about, highlights from the web, quick clicks about news and presentations. Same here, have been subscribed for a long time.
  3. The Vue Newsletter. Vue has been my main focus over the last couple of years, and I’m using it to build pretty much every project I’m working on right now. The official Vue newsletter is an invaluable resource for keeping up to date with the framework.

Read books

Again, I like reading books because it feels intimate. I tend not to read that much on the web, despite the fact how much I love the medium. I like books because they’re less noisy, less distracting, less “internet”. And I have my two favorite book publishers that I return to over and over again:

  1. A Book Apart. I’ve been reading their books since their first release in 2011. They are short, bite-sized books and I normally get through one within a couple of days. The last one I read was the 2nd edition of Just Enough Research. Always thrilled to hear when they have a new book coming out.
  2. Smashing Magazine. Same here, when I hear that Smashing Magazine is launching a new book I go and buy it. It’s high-quality stuff and they release rather infrequently, so I have the time to go through it without feeling any stress or overwhelm.

Learn from high quality courses

Courses are a great tool to learn about one specific topic. I use them less frequently but it’s a terrific option for when I need to practice and learn more in depth. I have two favorite resources for this:

  1. Frontendmasters. This is the place I turn to when I need to delve deep into something specific. For instance I’ve used it to learn things like Webpack, functional JavaScript, and containers. I tend to get a subscription one month at a time, and then it’s a more intense learning experience.
  2. Egghead. Is more a place I go when I’m in a curious mood. When I don’t feel I have as much time to invest in a course, but I would like to explore something new. It’s a more practical-oriented platform with techniques you could use right away. They are less about theory and more about implementation. Their courses tends to be around 20 minutes, while courses on Frontendmasters are normally 4 hours and upwards.

Summary

That’s pretty much it. This process works for me. My general inclination is to let much of the news come to me, and I don’t go so often on an “information hunt”. I feel it’s more of a slow process than what I’ve heard other people are doing, but it works for me.