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It's not you, it's difficult to stay up to date with code

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This morning I was sitting down sipping on my usual Peruvian light roast coffee. Getting that energy spike up and firing up my editor to write a world changing article on the best ways to stay up to date with code. The cheers that I would receive after it was published, I thought to myself.

But as soon as I started to write, I had to stop to reflect. What are the best resources to stay up to date with code? I asked myself. When I could only come up with 1 or 2 sites, mainly css-tricks.com and codepen.io, I quickly changed the title of the post and began writing what you see before you.

Because having you visit those 1-2 sites that I mentioned, probably won't make you into a better programmer and it might give you the idea that there are many ways to stay updated, but you just don't know them yet.

It's a constantly changing stream

Are you finally getting around to catching up on ES6 and its many new features? Well good. Now brush up on ES9, which came out in 2018. And while you are at it, let's stop calling it ES'N' and go right to its real name of EcmaScript 'Year'.

JavaScript is one of the fastest growing languages during the past 5 years or so. Mainly thanks to server side implementations, such as Node.js and .NET Blazor. And also thanks to rapidly advancing hardware and software. And the standard is always changing, because it is relatively new still, from a technology standpoint, not a career standpoint. 10 years as a JavaScript developer sounds like a lot. But a programming language that is 10 years old, is still relatively new. So it has a long way to go before it becomes somewhat of a stable language.

And that's just one language. C# is already on it's 8th version, with changes to the language resembling the following:

I am a C# developer and that's alot of changes. Am I going to drop everything, read each one of those additions and then begin to update my code? Probably not. Should I? The technical answer is yes. But the more realistic answer is, if time allows..maybe?

Every major language is currently undergoing maintenance by teams of people. Frameworks as well. Version 2.0's and 3.0's are coming out monthly now and we are none the wiser.

Which brings me to my next point:

No formal announcements

I didn't receive a formal email when the latest new updates came out for JavaScript or C#. In fact, if it wasn't for me writing this post, then I probably still wouldn't know that C# was on version 8. This isn't just a programmer problem however. Other fields and disciplines suffer from much the same. This is why we see doctors and hospitals with technology from 10 years ago. I bet there's a doctor somewhere out there that still promotes smoking cigarettes twice a day for a good clean lung.

It takes time for information to transfer. Think of the world as a series of nodes on a graph. The more connectivity points that you have in a particular area, the faster and more broadly information can travel. Some of these nodes however, such as you at home learning to code from a blog or two, still have a wide distance before more knowledge can get to them.

If anybody out there has an idea on how to tackle this issue, send me a message and maybe we can begin to make information acquisition less challenging and more natural.

Opinions

Most "best-practice" or "how-to" guides online are still subject to opinion. And everyone seems to have a valid point these days. Sure, using let instead of var can lead to less pollution in the global namespace and overall more stable code. And sure, having var instead of let probably won't cause any harm to your code in the long term and you shouldn't dive into your 10 year old and begin making changes now.

Now that you know both sides of the coin, now you can make a choice as to which you want to side with. And it's this non-concrete and less formal method of coding that causes us to question whether we are falling behind or not. Because sometimes, we need someone to tell us "Yes, this is how its done" and without that feedback we can become paralyzed. I have been there plenty throughout the years. My best solution to this? Do your homework and research well and then go with what makes sense to you.

You might change your mind next year, sure. But that's the beauty in code too. We can always keep on improving it.

Conclusion

If you were looking for my top 3 hacks to stay up to date with code, then stay tuned for a future post where just maybe, we'll have new ways of doing so. But for now, keep reading, keep researching and follow your instincts. So I guess those are my top 3 hacks right there.

Happy coding folks.
- Walt

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