I often don't know what I'm talking about.
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Definitely second the Headspace recommendation. I haven't used it recently, but I did back in v1 and it helped me through a difficult period in my life emotionally. It cuts out all the potential new-age and pretentious attitude that a lot of other guided meditations can sometimes give off. I've been considering returning to it recently.
veen what's your email address (pm if you prefer)? I'll add you as buddy on there :).
Likewise, I appreciate the patience whilst I finally got around to talking about what you were actually trying to discuss.
I agree that it should ideally always be a person's aim to learn how and why the tools they're using work. That's the only way to become a true master of your medium. And if they don't, there's certainly cases where that tool will become a crutch rather than something used for its advantages. I can see that frameworks definitely have that risk attached to them.
I will admit that I didn't try downloading just the Bootstrap grid. I simply looked at the customise screen and made an assumption. So it's good that you checked it out yourself and called me out on it. It's a bit lame to receive a substantial amount of unexpected and unwanted CSS.
Okay, to help gather my thoughts I consulted with my brother who has a degree in design and who has been a UX Designer for the best part of decade.
There's a couple of issues I have with your argument.
The first is that when I made the distinction between web design and web development you said that's not the point. But I think that is the point. It's right there in big writing on the Bootstrap homepage (emphasis mine):
- Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.
Front-end frameworks are not built as design tools for web or UX designers. They are built as development tools to help developers. If people's designs are becoming hamstrung by frameworks, then that's an issue with the people themselves, not the tool.
Now there's an argument that could be made that developers who otherwise have no idea about design take these tools and create functionally solid but generically designed products. There's certainly some truth in that. But it only serves to reiterate the point that it's about how the tool is used that matters. And as an aside, I'd much prefer to visit these stable but generic sites vs. stable sites that lack any semblance of design or consistency.
Another point that cements this is that for every indetikit website created that has their foundations in Bootstrap, there's plenty of amazingly designed ones too. Ones with creativity and imagination. If your point about these opinionated frameworks being analogous with someone instructing you to compose a song using only a specific chord progression is to be upheld, surely this wouldn't have been possible?
Again, we return to the central point that these frameworks do no intrinsically promote bad design and taste. Rather, it is bad and/or lazy designers that promote bad design and taste. No designer worth their salt is looking at Bootstrap's default guidelines as a reference when they're designing a site. Sure, there's chance there's subconscious influence. But part of being a good practitioner in any field is being aware of the invisible forces and constraints that are pulling at you, and in turn working with and around them to create the best final product.
- See what I'm getting at?
I think I am finally there, yes.
You are saying that front-end frameworks intrinsically inhibit creativity and the judgement of what is good design. Much like one might argue that music genres intrinsically inhibit creativity and judgement of what is good composition.
Before I continue, is this correct? I made the last analogy above because this is an area that I have though a lot about and actually wrote an essay on during my time at university. So I don't want to write a load, only to then find out I'm still not getting you.
- It's one of those things that allow extensive public access to a field that used to be dominated by professionals. Fifty years ago, photography used to be a hobby of someone passionate enough to spend a lot of time mastering it. Nowadays, even a three-year-old could take daddy's smartphone and start their artistic career on Instagram (even if by accident).
That's still the case. The skill floor lowering doesn't affect the skill ceiling. It just gives more people the chance to become potential masters. Sure, it comes with the downside of the medium being flooded with a lot more crap. But if even a couple of every 100 people who take up x hobby due to increased accessibility become fantastic practitioners of their craft, then that's a good thing,
Also, I think that it's important to make a distinction between web design and web development here. Though interdependent they're not the same thing. I think all your points are agreeable from web design standpoint. I get that a designer might not want to be thinking about how to layout a website with the restrictions of a specific framework already in their mind. But once they have finished their design and pass it on to a developer, how said developer reaches the final product is irrelevant to how one should regard the the quality of it. Whether specific frameworks and tools where used or it was all done from scratch.
I'm aware that in the modern aged it is normal to be multi-disciplined. But at the moment I am only learning development specifically. And from a development standpoint frameworks are awesome. Maybe that's where our initial different perspectives arose from.
- It could be that I find it particularly difficult making sense of someone else's systems and code and would rather make my own. I'm scared into a corner by the massive amount of stuff I have to learn for any single decent framework, JS or CSS.
I don't think that needs to be the case. The Bootstrap module on my course only contains 2 hours of video content. What's more, I haven't even finished it yet and I managed to build what you see in the OP.
- Sure, it lets you build a website in a jiffy if you know how to use it - but it takes away the personal touch and the expression of the designer in a way that tends to hurt the overall impression from the page.
I would posit that frameworks in general allow you to more quickly focus on those more personal and expressive design elements by cutting out a lot of foundation CSS that goes into a every project. For example, every project is going to need to be responsive and will more than likely be grid-based. Bootstrap has that all ready to go for you.
It's the same reason people use normalize.css rather than doing that all themselves: it's necessary, but unnecessary for you to do yourself if there's a template their for you to use.
If I start a new musical composition, I load my template. It has all of the thing that I use in every project I make: audio busses set up, favourite instruments loaded, effects plugins ready to go, session markers in place... Bypassing all of that each time I start a new track is not taking away the personal touch and expression of my composition. On the contrary, it gets me focused on it faster by having mundane but necessary processes already done.
Or take this exact web based tool I'm building. It will give the user quick access to information that would otherwise take considerably longer to work out by hand. But that working out isn't a creative or design based process, it's just necessary ground work. It's once you have that ground work done that you can use the results to do something personal. Is that not analogous to a framework?
Granted, Bootstrap goes a bit further than that and offers more design based components as well. But you can, and I have, customised those things with your own custom CSS. Furthermore, you can choose which parts of Bootstrap you want to use so it's not like it's all or nothing. You can even go and find a different, more light framework such as the one veen mentioned if it's found that Bootstrap seems to impose itself too much upon one's creative decisions.
Now I can't argue against your enjoyment of doing the HTML/CSS by hand each time. That's a personal thing and that's cool. But I'm looking to build websites in the way that professionals do. And I'm certain that every agency and web design house in the world will be using a framework for every project they do, whether it's Bootstrap, their own custom made one, or something else. I just don't see a reason not to use one unless you're specifically wishing to show off your front-end chops or practice concepts.
Also, one last point is that websites, especially one like mine that's meant as a tool, are required to have a standardised user experience. Users expect websites to functionally basically the same and that should be catered too as it allows the user experience to flow smoothly. An industry standard framework allows me to achieve that faster.
Though at the end of the day, I've only been doing this for ~3 weeks, so I'm still finding my footing. Perhaps the above sentiments are misguided. But If I want something where I value my own personal expression above all else, I will compose music.
For this site I'm using the alpha of Bootstrap v4. The module of the course I'm doing is currently on Bootstrap, so it seemed a good excuse to cement some of that knowledge. Funnily enough, until about 5 days ago I didn't really know what a framework was. I coded the first version of the site entirely from scratch, so learning about the power of frameworks was a very welcome revelation. So much so that I didn't mind archiving all of the previous HTML/CSS and starting again.
Skeleton looks neat, I'll keep that one on my radar.
I've been continuing to learn my front-end web development stuff. My first website, the idea for which was indirectly courtesy of flac, is now well underway.
Here is a screenshot:
It's also fully responsive, though the specifics aren't quite nailed down yet:
Still, i'm pretty proud of how it's looking. Though I must say that the design of the site was done by my brother who is a professional UX Designer, so the layout looks infinitely than my initial version!
I don't know if it's just because I'm wrapped up in learning something knew, but I've played hardly any games for the last 2/3 weeks. I've just been learning and playing around with making websites. I just need to find a way to redirect some of this energy back into my music as that's been neglected as of late.
- I think that when you're in a relationship, it's easy to get in the habit of relying on your partner for your sense of worth. I think that that's a habit that damages both partners, and it isn't often readily obvious that any damage was done until the relationship ends and one or both people are left without a sense of worth.
This remind me of a passage from Jiddu Krishnamurti's Freedom from the Known:
- You say you love your wife. In that love is involved sexual pleasure, the pleasure of having someone in the house to look after your children, to cook. You depend on her; she has given you her body, her emotions, her encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away from you; she gets bored or goes off with someone else, and your whole emotional balance is destroyed, and this disturbance, which you don't like, is called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are really saying is, 'As long as you belong to me I love you, but the moment you don't I begin to hate you. As long as I can rely on you to satisfy my demands, sexual and otherwise, I love you, but the moment you cease to supply what I want I don't like you.' So there is antagonism between you, there is separation, and when you feel separate from another there is no love. But if you can live with your wife without thought creating all these contradictory states, these endless quarrels in yourself, then perhaps - perhaps - you will know what love is. Then you are completely free and so is she, whereas if you depend on her for all your pleasure you are a slave to her. So when one loves there must be freedom, not only from the other person but from oneself.
This belonging to another, being psychologically nourished by another, depending on another - in all this there must always be anxiety, fear, jealousy, guilt, and so long as there is fear there is no love; a mind ridden with sorrow will never know what love is; sentimentality and emotionalism have nothing whatsoever to do with love. And so love is not to do with pleasure and desire.
- The problem is that video games were at one point an escape from mundane reality. And now mundane reality is so bereft of opportunity that people are pretending to have mundane, banal jobs for fun.
Whilst the concept of escapism is innate to all forms of entertainment, it isn't necessarily negative. I play a good amount of video games. I also have a job, multiple hobbies, and a life i'm generally content with. When I play video games it's not to escape my mundane reality, it's because I enjoy mastering them and getting better. Or i'm absorbed in the story and can't wait to see what happens next. It's a hobby to me, as much playing guitar, reading, or learning to code are.
Also, there's more people than ever playing games in contemporary society. In turn, the experiences that video games are exploring have grown exponentially. Not everyone wants to play an FPS or RPG. I've watched videos of people playing those simulation games and it's generally quite complex and methodical. There are lots of steps you have to remember and then follow in a specific order to even start up a Combine Harvester. Only when you get it exactly right does it work.
My dad did some consulting work for a company that made and sold those fruit machines that you find in bars and pubs:
The boss said that the people who are really addicted to those machines aren't in it for the money. They're in it to figure out the complex but specific sequence that's behind the game. Once they crack it, they move on to another game. They don't even both to rinse the machine. I'd say that somewhat analogous to the complex and specific sequence of having to start up a Combine Harvester in a farming sim game.
Neither of those experiences may sound appealing to you (or me, for that matter). However, I can appreciate how someone else might take enjoyment from the process involved. I don't think it's always like: "well, my life is so shit that even harvesting some fucking wheat sounds amazing right now!" Some people just enjoy the game of working it all out and getting it down perfectly.