Why I Closed The Doors

by David Connelly - founder of Speed Coding Academy


I think I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking that I have closed the doors of Speed Coding Academy as some kind of marketing ploy. We've all seen this kind of thing before, right? It's common practice for people who do online courses to open the doors for a short time then close them to create scarcity, only to open them again.

It's actually a perfectly valid marketing strategy. However, I can assure you it's definitely not the reason why I closed the doors to Speed Coding Academy.

Speed Coding Academy has been the most enjoyable and successful project of my entire web development career. Nothing comes close. The last time I counted, I had made over 300 videos for Speed Coding Academy - covering all sorts of topics. I'm pretty sure that I went into how to build an online shop and also how to build a video streaming platform deeper than any other training course. No training course will ever be perfect but I'm satisfied that this was the best I could do. I'm really pleased with the training.

So, what went wrong?

Unfortunately, when I made Speed Coding Academy, I made a critical error. It's a simple error that anyone could make and it's an error that has resulted in the doors being closed for (now) well over a year. I'm pretty sure this error has resulted in me losing tens of thousands of dollars.

"And what was the error?", I hear you say!

Well, it's all to do with third party libraries. Like virtually all online web development trainers, I used third party libraries as part of the training. These were mostly CSS libraries, JavaScript libraries and things of that nature.

Now, there's nothing wrong with using third party libraries. Some of them are excellent! The trouble is, the moment you use somebody else's code it means that you are subjected to their rewrite schedule - whether you like it or not. Of course, using third party libraries opens up a variety of other challenges - particularly with regards to things like coding style and even security.

So, when I recorded the video training for Speed Coding Academy, my big mistake was using third party libraries.

The CSS Framework That Broke Speed Coding Academy

When I was recording the training videos for Speed Coding Academy, I discovered a fantastic - though slightly obscure - CSS framework by the name of 'Blueprint'. This was a layout library and it made the process of building mobile-friendly web page layouts super easy. I tried it and I was hooked. It was and is a great CSS library.

I can remember having recorded approximately fifty video tutorials using this particular CSS framework - no doubt along with some other third party libraries. The training turned out good. I was delighted. Then, one day, I reached out to the creator of this particular CSS library and told him that I was really impressed with his work. I then explained how I had recorded fifty training videos using his CSS library and how I was looking forward to recording more training using his code.

His response?

"If you think that was good, just waiting until you see the next version which is due for release in a few weeks time."

The moment he said that, I was done. In just one sentence, this person had rendered a massive body of my own work obsolete. Of course, we should not blame the owner of that particular framework since he has no obligations towards me and he is merely following industry standards. Nevertheless, I made the decision at that moment that I wasn't willing to teach people material that is out of date. Nor, was I willing to create courses and then hang around waiting for the next rewrite to come along and make all my hard work worthless.

So, I immediately closed the doors of Speed Coding Academy and I decided to do the unthinkable. I decided that - moving forward - I was going to use my own libraries.

All of this resulted in the creation of the Trongate ecosystem, which includes not only the industry's first 'v1 forever' PHP framework but also an assortment of JavaScript libraries, CSS libraries and more.

Trongate And Beyond

Building Trongate has been a massive project that has taken up a great deal of my time. However, I like to think that I have come away from this process with a whole new understanding of the key variables that speed up or slow down web development. When I made Speed Coding Academy 'One' - my focus was on things like; using keyboard shortcuts and developing muscle memory by using things like music. Today I have a more grown up philosophy when it comes to Speed Coding. That's because I've realised that the real secret to coding fast is to elimate the things that slow web development down - the biggest of which happens to be rewrite culture.

Therefore, I'm looking forward to putting out Speed Coding Academy 2 - when the time is right. When that time comes, it'll be stronger and better than ever. I don't know when I'll have Speed Coding Academy 2 ready. It's a massive amount of work and, before getting stuck into that I need to make sure that Trongate is perfect.

Nevertheless, now you know why I decided to close the doors. It sort of sucks but I promise that I will never allow myself to have my life revolve around somebody else's rewrite schedule again. If you want, you're welcome to join the waiting list for Speed Coding Academy 2. I promise not to pass your details onto anyone else or do anything uncool.

Happy Coding!


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