For most of her professional career, Joni Trythall has been a nonprofit grant writer.
A native of upstate New York, she studied in Philadelphia and lived in Seattle until last fall, when she relocated to Hockessin, Del.
Along the way, she decided to make a change. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book. After that, she decided she wanted to learn more about web graphics, HTML, CSS and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). So she did.
“I went to school for such a long time. I can’t go back at my age,” said Trythall, 29. “I just have to figure this out on my own. It’s just so easy and that’s the beauty of sharing open source work — you can learn everything for free.”
As she learned and developed her web skills, she wrote everything down. After sharing several blog posts with coding tips on her site, she decided she could package what she learned into a book.
“I was writing as I learned. It helps people to hear it in the language of a beginner. People seem to resonate with that. The struggle is fresh in my mind,” Trythall said.
After a successful summer Kickstarter campaign, she published “Pocket Guide to Writing SVG,” a easy-to-read guide for web designers and developers, she said.
But profiting off a book didn’t sit well with Trythall, especially after she had learned so much from open source users online, she said. So after the sales from the book covered her work expenses, the content was made available for free.
“It was fairly frustrating because this book was written to fill the gap and having to buy it didn’t seem right,” she said. “I made it open to everyone in November.”
All of the content on Trythall’s blog is open source, including tips, guides, graphics, animations and more.
At first, she said, she was worried no one would read her content because there is a good amount of open sourced information available online. But the process helped her, she said, and believe it could also help her audience.
“I put everything I do out there. In the beginning, it was easy to get discouraged. Everyone’s writing about this specific thing. But there are so many different learning styles, which accommodate so many different people,” she said. “And as I wrote something, it helped me retain it. I put my notes out there, which is everything that goes on in my head.”
In addition to her blog work, Trythall also works as a freelance web designer. She said she is starting to get a feel for the Delaware tech community and hopes to become more involved. She’s already connected with the Philly chapter of Girl Develop It.
“My big goals for the year are to get more involved locally,” Trythall said. “In this location, I have a foot in Wilmington and one foot in Philadelphia. It’s amazing.”