Craftsmanship and code
At Oxide, I build websites. At least that’s the way I describe it when I meet new people and they ask me what I do for a living. It’s the easiest way for me to avoid confused looks and quick dismissals from would-be new acquaintances when I attempt to give a little detail and background about what I do. (Believe me, I’ve a/b tested it!)
Most people say something like, “Oh, interesting,” and we move on to seemingly more interesting conversation topics. It’s a shame, because I love extolling the virtues of my trade. And I believe it’s not that people aren’t interested; rather most people just feel a little squirmy trying to contribute to a conversation they know little about, especially if the details seem abstract and technical.
Nobody likes feeling like the least-informed person in the room. But something great happens when we strip away the veneer of difficulty. If I can communicate the principles of web development in relatable ways, then I may just get you listening and talking! It seems like an opportunity to spin this topic into a series of posts here on the Oxide blog.
Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably interested in design. You may also know your way around a text editor and files that end with .css, .js, and .php. If so, you’re in the right place. If not, you’re still in the right place, as long as you’re curious about web development, or ever wondered how someone builds a website.
It may not seem like it, but I choose my words carefully when I tell people that I build websites for a living. Beyond the obvious, the word “build” accurately depicts how I approach my work. I use my skills as a web developer to build websites for clients.
The word “skill” invokes other words, like “expertise” or “ability”. But “skill” is also a shallow word. Skills are a means to an end. I approach my work like it is a craft with an end of continuous improvement.
What does that all mean? While the difference between “skill” and “craft” may seem small, the distinction is important. “Craft” means built with passion and pride. Treating my work as a craft is something I have in common with my fellow coworkers at Oxide, as well as the clients we work with. Just look at Oxide’s manifesto.
Web development is often thought of as a process. Since I have passion and pride for what I do at Oxide, I am more than happy to share my process and approach to web development.
Let’s call this “code as craft.” If you’re interested in learning how code is craft, I’ll be sharing more of my approach in future blog posts.