I Have Never Used This & That's OK

September 26, 2014

There’s a few technologies I’ve heard about, read loads about, played a lot with a little bit, gotten excited about, but have never used them in a real project for a client or for a side project. I felt really guilty for that, but now I don’t.

Let’s name a few of them: Backbone.js, Compass, HAML, Foundation, React.js, Snap.svg, D3.js. I know what they are, what they’re for, enough to get started, but that’s it. There hasn’t been an instance where it would be advantageous or time saving to deviate from my workflow to use any of those things.


Backbone is a JavaScript framework for working with a RESTful API. It’s like Ember.js and Angular but with less convention, so for instance you have to configure your own way to write a route, where as there’s one way in Ember to do it; it’s an exceptionally flexible framework. It’s for working with JSON and data modeling.

Theme Foundry did a lot of work with Backbone.js to build a few of their Wordpress themes, which got me interested in the subject. And I found out lot about Backbone.js, learned a lot about JavaScript in the process and it would be a great thing to use in context of Wordpress since most of my client projects use Wordpress but I haven’t taken the leap yet.


React is a framework for quickly rendering HTML on the client-side. It’s the view part of MVC. That’s about it.1

React powers the editor in Atom. So that rendering is really fast and performant. It’s great for that context. But I can’t imagine a circumstance where I’d use it in production.


I know HAML is an HTML preprocessor in Ruby. I’ve played with it in CodePen. Haven’t really found a good use for it, yet. It looks really powerful, I just don’t know when to reach for it. I’m just getting started with learning Rails so honest question: Can I use HAML instead of ERB?


I love Sass. I have never used Compass. I know to a lot of you that’s like saying, ‘Ya, I like food, except when it tastes good’. I immediately jumped on the Bourbon train when I got started with Sass because of how awesome Bourbon Neat is and I never really gave Compass the time it takes to learn about how to use it because I already knew Bourbon.

Compass extends the power Sass comes with. It’s great for icon spriting, gradient fallbacks and CSS3 prefixing (present day Autoprefixer is more suited for that). I haven’t figured out how to install it or get going with it so it hasn’t been in my workflow at all.

Anyway, my point is this, you should know about most of the tools and technologies out there. You should know what they are and when to reach for them but that does not mean everything is a requirement and it’s okay to admit/confess/preach that you don’t know about one of these tools.

You have no reason to feel guilty if you’re resourceful enough to know where to find out more about something or at least know when to reach for it. Feeling guilty is a waste of time and completely unnecessary outside fundamentalist religious circles. Understanding where to go is a way better asset than only being stagnant and fluent with tools that don’t fit every context.