Hi there, I'm Dan Blake, Front End Web Developer, beer lover, boyfriend, dog owner, cat owner and Baltimore native.
As a former member of the web team at The Berndt Group I've worked on many award winning websites; 14 to be exact. Those awards include 2 Daveys, 3 W3 Awards, 1 Web Award, 4 Omni International Awards, 2 Horizon Awards, 1 Summit Award & 1 Gold Addy. I also finished up a Webby Award Honoree website after a personnel shift.
When I'm not working I can be found fixing up my house, spending time with my lady and pets, strumming the guitar or trying a new beer. As I said before I'm a beer enthusiast, geek,etc so you can often find me trying the newest craft beer. I'm also trying my hand at home brewing but right now my hands must be broken because nothing is that great (yet, I hope). If you're curious I do have a favorite hop and it is Nelson Sauvin out of New Zealand, yes I am that big of a geek.
About My Workflow
As I said, I'm a Front End Web Developer which means that I take designs and turn them into functional HTML pages. I then work with backend developers who make my templates dynamic by hooking them into the database.
Generally I'm involved in the entire web design process. I review the wire frames and point out any potential issues I see with the functionality, or potential browser issues. I then review the designs and do the same thing. I'll often say, "This looks great but in Internet Explorer 6 this will be an issue,can you provide a squared image for that browser?" Yes I still deal with many sites that have to look great in a 10 year old browser.
When the Back End Developer is finished integrating the templates with the CMS I go through and fix any visual glitches.
My Tools of the Trade
I code all my websites by hand, so I don't use any WYSIWYG editors. That is not to say I won't use Dreamweaver, but I only use the code view. My essential list of tools is:
- My Mac Book Pro - I'm a Mac user and prefer to work on one. I could go on and on about why I like Macs better but for Front End Development there is just so many more programs available that make my life easier and allow me to code faster.
- Coda2 - My code editor of choice. It is highly versatile, extendable and does exactly what I need it to do.
- Adobe Fireworks - At my current job we use Fireworks for all designs and that is what I use to export the graphics I need. I was a Photoshop user before and still can use it but for my job Fireworks is a much better tool.
- SASS - I love using SASS to speed up the writing of CSS. SASS allows me to easily reuse code, type less and better organize what I do.
- CodeKit - This is a new tool in Beta that has changed how I work. CodeKit allows me to compile SASS, LESS, Jade, HAML & Coffee Script locally as well as combining and compressing scripts
- Spotify & iTunes - I need music to work, headphones go in, distractions go away and work gets done
Everything listed above is used in my day to day job at The Berndt Group. On the side I'm known to dabble in CMS development with ExpressionEngine and WordPress. If I had to choose one ExpressionEngine would be my tool, so much more robust than WordPress but both products have their uses.