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Claire Parker-Jones
Claire Parker-Jones

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Using email newsletters to stay up-to-date with frontend development

Modern frontend web development can be a vast and overwhelming subject at times. New frameworks and best-practices come and go in quick succession. Keeping up with the latest trends, libraries and version updates can be exhausting and time-consuming. How can you stay ahead of the curve?

The most successful method for me is to subscribe to weekly round-up emails about development.

I receive several newsletters once a week, which contain topical links related to their subject, e.g. CSS, JavaScript or web accessibility. There are links to blog posts, GitHub repos, conference talk videos, code demos, etc. These weekly newsletters contain a digestible portion of information that helps me stay well-informed on the current state web development.

Current subscriptions

As of March 2019, I subscribe to:

Note that many of these are published by Cooper Press, who run even more newsletters #notsponsored.

My subscriptions have varied over the years depending on my current job or favourite technologies at the time. Not every email or subject area is directly relevant to my coding day-job responsibilities, but together this selection gives me a good overview of the areas I'm interested in as a frontend developer.

Why newsletters?

Newsletters provide me with a curated list of relevant information that I can consume at my own pace. A round-up email like this contains approximately 10 to 30 links. Just like I wouldn't open every Google search result, I don't click through every link, but instead skim-read the email and choose a few choice items to open. This way I get a good overview of what's happening that week, while learning about subjects that interest me in more detail. I normally do this on my laptop rather than my phone, which makes reading code snippets or exploring GitHub repos easier. It also means I can have several tabs open at a time with articles I want to read later!

Since I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists, their emails can pile up quickly in my inbox. It's important to make time to open them each week, but understand I don't have time to read about everything. Even using newsletters, the quantity of info can still be overwhelming, so it's important to learn to skim-read and not feel guilty about skipping some posts or deleting older emails to keep my inbox relatively empty.

If you don't already, I definitely recommend subscribing to a couple of weekly newsletters related to your current tech stack, to see if this format helps you. You might find Twitter or listening to podcasts works better for you, but round-up emails like this are another useful option in the never-ending quest to keep up-to-date with web development trends.

Let me know your own favourite dev-related mailing lists! 📨

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