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I'm a new dev blogger - I can has your tools?

I work with a full plate on a full stack, sometimes chewing more than I intended in one bite.
・1 min read

As a new dev blogger, my tool box is a little, er, sparse. I've been learning markdown, which is nice for formatting, but then I see other people's beautiful looking posts and I think - I want their tools, their methods, their flare. As part of my ascent into blogging nirvana, I thought I'd spark a discussion and see what others think.

  • Screenshots - I've seen images that blur all but the important stuff, others that highlight/number the relevant clicks and inputs, etc. In my StackOverflow posts, I've used... Paint... Probably time to upgrade, what would you suggest?
  • Code examples - There's the gist thing from github which I haven't explored, things like codepen and jsfiddle for web stuff. Of course I can \`<language> in markdown - what else? Any pro tips?
  • Productivity boosters - are you composing your markdown in the editor or is there a better way? Live previews? Templates?
  • Other 'nice to haves' - Any other wizzbang I should consider to make my posts POP?

Discussion (6)

rachelsoderberg profile image
Rachel Soderberg • Edited

Welcome! I am pretty new to the scene too, it's nice to see more new faces!
Let me start by saying you don't have to be flashy if that isn't your thing. I don't have a knack for visual design, so I just end up with text, code snippets, and screenshots or funny occasional images when it fits.

For screenshots I simply use onboard screen capture (Snipping Tool in my case), crop if needed and save the image, then use the image uploader and markup to add to my post.

I haven't explored any of the code example tools either - I've relied on either using italics to make my code stand out from the text around it, or indenting four spaces (tab) to format it as a code snippet.

I compose my markdown in the editor, because I don't do too much of it. I'm sure some could be done in any html editor with real-time previews, if you were so inclined.

Sorry I couldn't be more help, but I figured I'd chime in as someone from a similar level! I'm sure I have more to learn as well, so here I am :D

erikest profile image
erikest Author

Thanks for chiming in, it's good to know I'm not the only newb around here, ha.

I guess flashy is my way of saying 'appealing' or 'easily digestible', but I know what you mean :).

Sounds like we're in the same boat - onward to blogging bliss!

niorad profile image
Antonio Radovcic

For the graphic-stuff GIMP is more than enough.

I wouldn't worry too much about the toolbox. Your other posts look good! Focus on good content, and add the shiny from time to time. Otherwise you risk spending time yak-shaving, that you could have spent on research and actual writing. "other people's beautiful looking posts" would also be good as plain-text-files.

erikest profile image
erikest Author

Clearly, the lack of tools didn't stop me :)

I look at it more akin to this: if someone was getting up and running with dotnet on Windows, for example, and they were coding in Notepad++ (nothing wrong with that!), I might suggest VisualStudio Community, I may tell them to check out a few extensions too or point out some nifty refactoring features that are baked in. They want to 'do it right' and while there's no specific definition for that, taking a survey of the current 'state of the art' is helpful, even if they don't need to fret too much about it :)

Hey, yak-shaving is how I ended up writing my first post! :)

Also, thanks for peeking at my other posts!

terabytetiger profile image
Tyler V. (he/him) • Edited

I can't recommend Ali's post about her workflow enough!

For formatting on dev, I recommend checking here (I also can only find this link through a Google search?)

erikest profile image
erikest Author

I had a feeling someone had done a good overview of their process - thanks for bringing this to my attention. Read through it - a great process overview. Some tooling info which was good - using VSCode for markdown is a great idea :) and using Sketch for nice graphics is cool too.