PointC

One year of GreenSock forum participation – what I’ve experienced

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A GSAP tale:

One goofy guy’s odyssey from knowing nothing to knowing just enough to confuse himself.

(This is crazy long so feel free to jump to the epic conclusion).

 

Greetings fellow GreenSockers. The end of this week marks the one-year anniversary of my first post on the forum so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my 12-month story and hopefully encourage others to jump into the conversations around here. Maybe you’ll recognize yourself in some of the things I’ve experienced.

 

My quick history in a nutshell

Web design and coding is a second career for me. After 15 years of owning and operating a photography studio and processing lab (back in the film days - yup - I’m old), the digital camera came along and changed that industry, which necessitated a new career for me.

 

I shifted to video production, which led to motion graphics and finally to web design. Our little agency now offers all those services. The web design clients never needed anything fancy so JavaScript took a back seat to HTML & CSS only sites for a number of years.

 

JavaScript & GSAP: false starts and other obligations

I first discovered GSAP a few years ago, but only tried it briefly. It looked cool, but with the time obligations of field video work and motion graphics jobs, it wasn’t something I could work into the schedule.

 

Besides that, it was JavaScript – too complicated I thought. I knew JavaScript was the third piece of a good web designer’s skillset along with HTML and CSS, but I always convinced myself that I didn’t have the time and the sites we built didn’t need it.

 

JavaScript Books + Classes = Fail

I did make a few attempts at reading some JavaScript books and working through some online tutorials, but it just never ‘stuck’. Maybe the examples were too theoretical and dry or they were the wrong books and classes. I really don’t know, but I abandoned the learning process a number of times.

 

Cut and Paste mentality

Why did I really need to learn anyway? You can just Google what you need, cut and paste some code and presto – you’ve got some working JavaScript or jQuery. I only understood a small portion of what I was cutting and pasting, but hey… it worked so the problem was solved. 

 

That’s how I operated for quite some time.  What’s a loop? What’s an array? What’s an object? Who cares?

 

Wait a minute. This is ridiculous.

Last spring, I was remodeling our company website and I had all these grand visions about making things move and behave in certain ways. Googling for code just wasn’t cutting it. I suddenly felt stupid. “This is ridiculous!” I thought. I should be able to learn how to write my own code.

 

Oh yeah, I remembered that GreenSock thing I had looked at a few times and abandoned. That might work. Maybe I could actually learn how to use it this time. 

 

I become a forum lurker

I started lurking in the shadows of the forum. After reading a lot of posts, I saw people asking many types of questions from simple to crazy complicated (at least to me).

 

Two things I noticed were that every effort was made to find an answer (no matter the difficulty level of the question) and not one post was condescending or snarky. That’s quite rare on the ol’ interwebs, isn’t it? Hmmmm…maybe I’m in the right place.

  

Oh boy… time to ask a question of my own

One of the great things about learning GSAP is you’ll also pick up a lot of other JavaScript and/or jQuery along the way. I kept reading and practicing with some simple tweens, but now I had a question. Dare I post? 

 

I suppose, like many others, I feared looking like an idiot even though the forum members and moderators seemed quite nice and helpful. I do several dumb things every day so you’d think I’d be used to it by now. Oh well, here goes. My first question had to do with the indexOf() a Draggable snap array.

 

Within 30 minutes, Diaco and Rodrigo had posted great answers and neither one called me stupid! Yay – how cool.

 

I get hooked on GSAP and the forum

About that same time, I decided our company should discontinue on-site video production and switch to studio only filming. I got tired of lugging loads of video gear in and out of buildings – it’s quite tiring and as I mentioned earlier – I’m old.

 

This freed up some time and I decided to dedicate that time to learning GSAP and maybe, one day, even helping others. It wasn’t too long and I actually knew the answer to a forum question. I posted some information and wow – a little red indicator lit up on my control panel. Someone liked something I wrote. How fun – I’m hooked.  

 

Carl makes direct contact

I continued to learn and experiment. I posted a few additional questions of my own, but I tried to answer more than I asked. If someone posted a question for which I had no answer, I tried to look it up in the docs and figure it out. Most of the time I was far too slow and Jack, Carl or one of the mods would already have the answer posted before I was done reading the question, but it was an interesting way to learn.

 

I did sneak in a few good answers, which led to a private message from Carl. He thanked me for participating and helping in the forums. I thought it was pretty cool that a super smart guy like Professor Schooff would take the time to do that for little ol’ me. My decision to dedicate time to the platform and forum was reinforced.

 

hdaB73Y.jpg

 

Blake and I have a conversation

I don’t recall if it was a back and forth in a forum post or a private message conversation, but Blake told me something that, of course is obvious, but it stuck with me and is important for all of us to remember. He mentioned that we all enter this learning process knowing nothing.

 

If someone of Blake’s considerable skill level can be humble enough to remember first starting out in code, there may be hope for me after all. I guess if you think about it, there was a time when the simple concept of a variable was brand new to all of us. We’re not born with these abilities. They’re learned and we’re all at different points on the educational path. Never feel stupid for not knowing something.

 

Moderator Promotion

Throughout the last year, I’ve continued to learn and study both GSAP and JavaScript. Some of those books I abandoned in the past even make sense now. I’ve tried to be active in the GS community and answer as many forum questions as possible. If I’ve answered a question of yours, I hope you found it somewhat helpful.

 

I’ve cranked out some fun CodePens and finally started a Twitter account to tweet them out. I am nowhere near an expert with GSAP or JavaScript, but I know so much more than I knew a year ago. Apparently I know enough to be entrusted with a forum promotion to Moderator status. I’m honored to be included on such an amazing team. 

 

12 months down – what’s next?

My agency duties are still numerous so I can’t dedicate full time to coding, but it remains something to which I’m committed and thoroughly enjoy. I started this 12-month GSAP journey just wanting the ability to write my own code rather than cutting and pasting the work of others.

 

I’m confident I have achieved that, but I still have days when a simple piece of code just won’t coalesce in my brain and that can be frustrating. I guess we all have those days, right? I make several mistakes every day, but that’s o.k. too. I learn a lot more from my screw-ups than I ever do when it all goes right on the first try.  I plan to keep learning and getting better and when I get stuck, I’ll be able to get an answer from this amazing community.

 

I’ll continue to give back to the GS community by answering any questions that are within my abilities to do so. 

 

The super mods: Jonathan, Blake, Diaco and Rodrigo

Thank you to my fellow moderators. You guys rock and have taught me so much.

 

@Jonathan – if there is a browser bug, quirk or special fix that you are not aware of, I’ve yet to read about it. Your knowledge has helped me fix many pieces of code before they even became a problem. Plus, if I ever have a question of top/left vs. x/y, I know who I’ll ask.   ;)

 

@Blake – if I could be half as good at coding as you, I’d be a very happy guy. Your work always teaches and inspires me. I don’t think you’re allowed to ever stop posting on the forum or we may all show up on your doorstep and ask questions.  :-P

 

@Diaco – your code is always so concise. I deconstruct some of your pens and am astounded by how much you squeeze out of a few lines. If I made some of your pens from scratch, I’d have 20 variables, 5 loops, 12 tweens and 80 lines of code. You do the same with two variables and 4 lines of code. Amazing stuff.  8-)

 

@Rodrigo – when searching the forum, I often land on one of your past posts and learn a lot. Your knowledge is vast and I wish you had more time to post around here. Your ninja skills are incredibly strong.  :ph34r:  

 

Our superhero leaders

 

@Carl – I’ve participated in several online forums ranging from graphic design to 3D to video production, but the GreenSock forum is the best and a big part of that is you. You not only provide great answers, but you do it in clever ways with just the right amount of humor thrown in here and there.

 

The collection of videos you’ve made is invaluable and should be mandatory viewing for anyone interested in GSAP. I’ve seen you monitoring the forums at all hours of the day and even on weekends. When you get any sleep I’ll never know, but I thank you for your dedication and sharing your knowledge.

 

@Jack – how you had the vision to start GreenSock and write the first version of the animation platform I can only imagine. I’m glad you did because GSAP is such an amazing collection of tools. The friendliness of the community is definitely following your lead. I don’t understand a lot of what you talk about sometimes, but I know enough to be amazed by your brilliance and talent.

 

You call yourself just a guy who geeks out about code, but you’re more than that. You’re a smart and generous innovator who’s created a special brand and place on the web. I think I can safely speak for the community when I say we all appreciate the time and effort you put into helping us make beautiful and high-performance animations. Thank you sir.

 

The epic conclusion. Well… maybe just a regular conclusion.

If you didn’t read the whole post, I don’t blame you. It’s ridiculously long and I’m just some guy you don’t know so I’ll wrap it up with this bit of advice.

 

Whether you’re a genius or feel like an idiot, it doesn’t matter. Try to learn one new thing each day and before you know it, a year will have passed and all those little bits will add up to new skills and abilities. If you’ve never posted on the forum, please jump in and participate. The more voices we have around here, the more we all benefit. If you need an answer, please don’t be afraid to ask a question.

 

Believe me, I’m just some goofy guy in front of a computer. If I can learn this stuff, so can you.

 

As I begin my second year in GreenSockLand, I’m looking forward to learning more, seeing everyone’s work and answering as many of your questions as I can. This is an amazing community and I encourage anyone reading this to set up an account and get involved. My best to all of my fellow GreenSockers. See you around the forums.  :)

 

- Craig (PointC)

 

PS I made a little CodePen to commemorate my one-year forum anniversary. It’s how I felt before and after discovering the power of GSAP. Enjoy.

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What a wonderful post. And it doesn't have any question I need to answer or even mention IE! Sweet ;)

 

This is great, Craig. I really appreciate you sharing all of that and I'm sure it means a lot to the other guys too.

 

I tell people all the time that they would be amazed at how much they will learn by lurking in these forums. I know that once I started challenging myself to answer a few questions its really where my learning and understanding accelerated. We all go through that fear of looking like a dope which is why we try so hard to be gentle with any newcomers.

 

My typical experience starting out with trying to help aroud here:

  • here's a question I don't know
  • let me look in the docs
  • oh there's the answer!

When I found something in the docs that I didn't understand like shiftChildren() or invalidate() I'd build a little demo to try to see what that thing does. I found that even building little demos for the things that I conceptually understood still helped to ingrain the concept into my brain. 

 

Even after all my time in here I'm amazed at all the things I'm exposed to that I had no idea about. 

 

Although I appreciate all you did show your appreciation to the team, I truly hope this post serves to pull more lurkers out of the shadows. 

 

Thanks again for sharing your experience, its been great getting to know you and have you become such an important part of what we do.

 

Carl

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You win "Jack's favorite post" for the week...or month...probably year. ;)

 

It's so nice to hear about your journey and the encouragement you give to fellow "lurkers" to wade into the pool and risk asking a question and/or help someone else around here. That's what makes this place so special. I agree that the vibe in these forums is very unique and positive. Rare indeed on the interwebs. Thanks for the way you've reinforced and contributed to that vibe (as this post demonstrates).

 

We echo all your sentiments about the other moderators. Amazing guys. We're all lucky to have them hanging out here, sharing their knowledge.

 

Congrats on the 1 year anniversary. Love the Muscle codepen. Ha. 

 

To everyone else reading this, follow in Craig's footsteps and try helping someone here (or ask a question that's pestering you). We promise, we won't make you feel dumb...unless you insist that IE8 is awesome. ;)

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Very nice indeed, Craig.

 

Keep up the good work and those answers coming otherwise you know what'll happen. I'll catch up with you and you will never live it down.

 

And for the lurkers around here:

 

Come out from the shadows!  :geek:

 

No one's gonna bite you. :) (well, I'm not to be trusted but everyone else is ok)

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Hear, hear! Sharing the love! Well written, Craig, and so well deserved mentions! And other unmentioned heroes too! Great culture of good attitude here!

 

Like you presume, I can very much relate, tho my tl is just tlCraig.totalProgress(0.2). ;) Greensock is my first real incentive to learn Js and it's such a good reason to learn. Now I spend my days in a code editor, but I feel like I'm in after effects! Actually – I feel more empowered by Greensock. Truly amazing!

 

I was lurking lots before my first post, and when I finally did post it was a semi-excuse just to break the silence and say thanks and hello. :)

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A great story Craig. very humble and inspiring.  

 

I have been a forum lurker and have restarted my tech career after a 4 year absence from being a senior programmer

of legacy code. Like yourself I am older and haven't had much use for javascript or anything to do with web development

until I made a career decision to get back into the game and take an E-course in Web Development that I am currently taking

online. I have completed HTML and CSS, sections of the E-course, but javascript section of the course is coming along deliberately slow, (At least I keep telling myself that.)

 

(I will get to where GSAP fits in a moment)

 

The last exercise, in my javascript section,  I am required to make something called a reaction tester...

The scope of the project is to create circles that display randomly on a webpage and then make the circle disappear,

when the user to mouse-clicks on the circle.  A reaction-time is then displayed to the user.

 

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if I could animate circles and bring this application to life.

 

After 'googling' many topics such as css3 transitions, transforms, and animations and viewing other approaches that seemed

to bulky and/or required a level of javasript sophistication that I wasn't about to achieve anytime soon.  I came across GSAP.

and while I haven't tried implementing GSAP into my code yet,  I have watched a few GSAP videos, GSAP codepen demos,

and I am lurking in the forums.

 

GSAP looks incredible and I want to start playing with it ASAP, yes that is the correct word... PLAYING :)

 

I am about to create my 2nd post in a moment to see if it is possible to achieve what I dream. (Craig, your story

rightfully deserves a response, and gets my 1st post honor.) I hope that yourself, or any other GSAP Superheroes,

or fellow lurkers can help me accomplish what I want to achieve with GSAP.    See you very soon.

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Lots of love and thumbs up!

 

GSAP forum and the community are indeed super responsive and helpful.

I did ask a lot of dumb questions on the forum but everyone is so kind to not call that out (:

 

Continue the awesome work on GSAP!

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I did ask a lot of dumb questions on the forum but everyone is so kind to not call that out (:

 

The Stackoverflow effect! I think most people have this fear, but as you've seen, this forum is totally different. And when it comes to programming, I don't think there are any dumb questions.

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I'm new to this community, and this is an incredibly inspiring post.  Thank you for sharing your story

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Thanks for sharing! I'm also just starting with GSAP and I already used GSAP for this project. My number one resource on this moment is ihatetomatoes from Petr Tichy, his inspiring workshops really helped me allot!

 

When I worked with GSAP allot of questions I had were answered through older forum posts, this forum is really helpful for people who are just starting.

 

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and when I'm confident enough I will also participate in the future.

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Had this story bookmarked on Twitter for a while and finally got around to reading it.

I share Craig's sentiments even though I'm not so active on here. The general demeanor of these forums is amazing - especially the fact that I know I'll generally get an answer on here quicker than if I'd have posted on StackOverflow. And without the snark!

I'd also like to recommend a weekly newsletter of forum activity - even skimming through threads that other people are discussing helps but sometimes I forget to visit to browse.

 

I <3 you GSAP people.

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What a very nice story buddy! I really appreciate your inspiring story with GSAP.... I am from noob guy into superhero with this awesome animation platform out there.
From an ordinary developer into superhero developer with GSAP. Thanks!

Waren | GSAP Enthusiast

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Well, it’s been 6 months since I wrote the post that started this thread and it appears to have been read quite a few times. Thank you to all who commented. I’m glad my story has inspired others to get involved in the GreenSock community.

 

Congratulations to Jack and Carl on the continued development of GSAP. The new CustomEase is absolutely astounding! I’m looking forward to all the new goodies that will come in 2017. Also – a BIG thank you for the honor of producing the explainer videos for GSAP and Club GreenSock. It was such an exciting experience and you two were so much fun to work with.

 

Cheers to my fellow moderators - Blake, Jonathan, Diaco, Dipscom and Rodrigo. You guys are so clever and talented. I keep learning more every day by reading your answers and tearing apart your CodePens. I’m truly honored to be included in such a tremendous group.

 

A shout out to the GreenSock community members. Keep learning, asking questions, experimenting and creating. My original advice still stands. If you’ve never asked or answered a question here, please jump in and participate. We’d love to hear from you.

 

I hope everyone takes some time for fun and relaxation over the holidays.

 

See you all around the forum.

 

- Craig

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Great stuff, Craig. Very thankful for you and everyone that contributes to the community here. I continue to learn more and more each day and am often amazed by what I see. Thanks for being such a big part in making this community what it is.

 

Carl

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What makes this community special is that folks around here (especially moderators) aren't just smart - they're thoughtful and kind. The more I visit other forums, the more I see how rare that is. Craig, you (and this thread) prove this point. 

 

Side note: Merry Christmas to all!

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Thank you for the holiday wishes! I hope everyone is having a great New Year!

 

Made an account say this was a very nice post and a great read! Lots of love to all

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Thanks for taking your time sharing this incredible story, I am completely new myself, and now - thanks to you, completely sold on GSAP :)

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Nice Post, Craig!

 

It totally makes me feel better because I'm just starting to transition away from the "Wait a minute. This is ridiculous." phase.

 

I'm not a strong coder, I'm used to Adobe's Edge Animate, AFX, Maya, Flash.  Anything with a GUI. This straight coding thing is a bit scary. But I hope to be where you are in 12 months. :)

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Only recently started using Greensock. Loving it so far and very much impressed with this forum! Very considerate people and a tone of voice you don't see much on the interwebs. Color me impressed :)

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...steps out of the shadows...

I think it was four years since my last post.  I was an as2 and then as3 lib user back in the good ol days of Flash.  

 

Great post.

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Hello I'm back! I am almost 2 years here on contributing to forum. I really love to help other users out there on using GreenSock Animation Platform. I shifted to WordPress a months ago. I would like to apply my knowledge in GSAP to WordPress to make awesome stunning websites. Alright!

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I just posted my first question. Then I was browsing the forum and saw your post. I hope to be writing a post like this in 12 months. Awesome, Inspiring & Motivational. Thanks!

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Outstanding post, Craig!

 

I'm new to the Greensock world (just asked my second question this afternoon ha) and reading through your story has inspired me to learn Javascript via GSAP. It's ironic, as I was driving home from work this evening, I thought to myself "this GSAP thing could really help me learn Javascript as a whole". 

 

You're right, it's actually fun learning this way. Greensock is simply amazing. I've already had wonderful experiences with @Carl and @mikel. Seems like a great little community and I'm happy to be a part of it :)

 

We have a lot of similarities, just from reading through your post. I'd like to thank you for writing this and know that it has inspired me (and probably a lot more) to continue down this scary path. 

 

-Shawn

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