Every web developer has a few philosophies and opinions about how they go about their work and why they make the decisions they make. Here are a few of mine.
Content is KING.
Content management systems are great things; they help non-coders get sites up and running quickly and they make it easy to maintain a site. However, unless you have someone who can custom build templates or utilize templating engines, they force you to make your content mold to the template. It should be the other way around.
The template's job is to provide consistency and structure in how you present your content. After all, content is king. It's the message. Without a clear message, what's the point?
Accessibility leads to better design.
For so many, accessibility is an after-thought. But if the goal is truly an inclusive web, it has to be part of the design process. I have found that when I talk with designers with an accessibility mindset, our user experience design is improved. It is more delightful and purposeful than it would be had we not made accessibility part of the discussion.
I choose vanilla.
When I first returned to web development full-time, I found it easier to use libraries like jQuery. But now that I've seen libraries rise and fall in popularity, I'm following the movement to return to Vanilla. I'd rather take a little more time to write a few more lines of code and have a faster loading page.
I currently choose Less for my pre-compiled CSS. I've experimented with SASS and Stylus. When doing the research to choose a pre-compiled CSS, I had to consider the CSS skills of the others around me — they could do some CSS development but were by no means CSS gurus. I found Less to be most similar to native CSS and it provided all the functionality I needed with variables and mixins — I didn't really need all the functionality built into SASS. Stylus on the other hand, while loved by those who prefer fewer syntax requirements, is just a little too far away from native CSS syntax for my taste.
Joomla was my first.
Joomla was my first CMS. I immediately started building custom templates with it. I find it easy to build a website in Joomla based on the content structure. I know many love WordPress and swear by it, especially considering the amount of support for it — I just don't particularly enjoy building or managing a WordPress site. I've also spent a little time over the years testing out Drupal (6, then 7). I am very excited about the features in Drupal 8 and would like to one day become a Drupal Master.
I've experimented with Twig and Mustache — enough to know the differences and feel comfortable using them. I'm so accustomed to the freedom of logic that PHP provides when writing reusable chunks of code that I feel restricted by template engines. I'm not bothered by the inter-mixing of PHP and HTML either. I'm sure my opinion on this matter might change should I ever make template engines part of my standard practice.