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First off, I've never really been one to write blog posts, but I've been meaning to make it a point to give it a whirl. I figured what better time to write something than when looking back over my first year of playing on codepen.

How it all started

The other day I was reflecting over my learning experience as a developer and it occured to me that it had almost been a year since I had first joined codepen. I still remember what prompted me to make an account. I was working on a project for my employer at the time and had the urge to try using SVGs. I had been hearing a lot about them and was just trying to figure out what the heckin' bork they even were. In my extensive Google searching, I stumbled across all of these cool pens using SVG for artwork and animations. These people were magicians!

My very first pen was simply me trying to implement an idea I had seen in a pen by @bradleyboy. Here it is, hand coded circles and a rotating gradient. I still hardly knew anything about SVG.

After this is when I discovered the holy fork button and fell down the rabbit hole, getting lost learning from other people's work. I ended up mocking up an intro animation for the web app I was working on at work.

Learning... lots of learning

From then on codepen became a place for me to find fresh ideas, test out some of my own ideas, learn new libraries, and better understand front-end languages.

I started learning GSAP...

Began to figure out what in the world a canvas was...

Learned more and more css features...

Excercised creative limitation...

Got a taste for working in 3d spaces with THREE.js...

Gave myself problems to solve...

Got a new job (using mostly codepen and github as my portfolio)... Mocked out pieces for that job (and still do all the time)...

I even made an art piece that I had been dreaming in my head...

Why am I writing this?

I promise I'm not sharing all of these pens to brag on myself, but to highlight how important having a playground for the front-end web is. It is a place for ideas to grow, flourish, and be taken to trial. Its a place where someone like me can go from a very thin understanding of something to a level of confident competence. Sure... you can learn things from tutorials, you can watch videos, you can read books... and all of that is dandy (I actually love all of those), but if you are anything like me, you truly learn when you begin to merge what you've read/watched with your own thoughts and ideas. I've probably learned more in the last year from tinkering on Codepen than I have throughout the rest of my time staring at computer screens and books. I guess what I'm trying to say is...

Its been an awesome year... and a big thanks to Chris and the Codepen team for making a space where we all can learn from each other and explore other people's ideas alongside our own.

With that I'll leave you with a quick p5.js pen:


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