Monday, November 16th, 2015

Aerotwist - The Cost of Frameworks

Here’s Paul’s write-up of his excellent talk at FF Conf.

Previously I’ve used the term “developer convenience” when describing the benefits of using a framework. Paul uses the term “ergonomics” to describe those benefits. I like that. I worry sometimes that the term “developer convenience” sounds dismissive, which isn’t at all my intention—making our lives as developers less painful is hugely important …but it’s just not as important as improving the lives of the end users (in my opinion …and Paul’s).

As I look at frameworks, I see the ergonomic benefits (and those are important, I agree!), but I can’t help but feel that, for many developers, investing in knowledge of the web platform itself is the best long-term bet. Frameworks come and go, it just seems to be the ebb and flow of the web, and, as I said above, they do contribute ideas and patterns. But if you ever find that the one you use no longer works for you, or has a bug that remains unfixed, being able to understand the platform that underpins it will help enormously.

You should use [insert library/framework], it’s the bestestest! / Paul Lewis - YouTube

This was one of favourite talks at this year’s FF Conf. But I will readily admit there’s a hefty dollop of confirmation bias in my enjoyment.

Best viewed with - Velocity Amsterdam 2015 // Speaker Deck

Are we doomed to see history repeat itself? With the amount of client-side MVC frameworks and the upcoming implementation of the ES6 syntax, will we soon be seeing a repeat of the “browser wars.” Will more websites only work in a select number of browsers with the capabilities to run their code?

Online regex tester and debugger: JavaScript, Python, PHP, and PCRE

Regular expressions are my kryptonite. I’m rubbish at them and I can never keep the vocabulary in me head.

Mark recommended this tool so I’m going to give it a go the next time I have to resort to regex.

The Advertising Bubble (Idle Words)

The prognosis for publishers is grim. Repent! Find a way out of the adtech racket before it collapses around you. Ditch your tracking, show dumb ads that you sell directly (not through a thicket of intermediaries), and beg your readers for mercy. Respect their privacy, bandwidth, and intelligence, flatter their vanity, and maybe they’ll subscribe to something.

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Three years with CSS Grid Layout

Rachel outlines the history of the CSS Grid Layout spec so far:

The process works, as slow as it may seem to us who wait anxiously to be able to take advantage of these techniques. I am happy that we are waiting for something that I really believe has the ability to completely change how we do layout on the web.

An Offline Experience with Service Workers | Brandon Rozek

A great walkthrough of setting up a Service Worker for a blog. The code is here but more importantly, as Brandon says:

I wouldn’t be able to implement this myself if it wasn’t for some of the awesome people I mentioned earlier sharing their experience. So share, share, share!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Moodboard — a small JavaScript library for presenting image moodboards on the web

A lovely little script from Nat to create a nice montage of images. It works by progressively enhancing a regular series of images in the markup.


A tool for generating a pattern library from Markdown comments in CSS. This isn’t the way that I tend to work, but I can see how it would be quite handy.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015


This looks like being a very handy book on public speaking. I’m going to order a copy for the Clearleft office. I’ll let you know what it’s like.

A Semiotic Approach to Designing Interfaces // Speaker Deck

This looks like a terrific presentation from Alla on iconography, semiotics, and communication.

Making a Simple Site Work Offline with ServiceWorker | CSS-Tricks

Another clear explanation by Nicolas of using Service Worker, this time on CSS Tricks.

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Dumb Cuneiform. We’ll take your tweets and make them permanent clay tablets.

There’s something about this that I really like: a message transmitted via a modern communications medium converted into the oldest form of writing. Styleguide

The comprehensive style guide and pattern library for North Carolina.

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Cosmos: The infographic book of space

This looks a great book of space-related infographics and data visualisation.

Best of all, there are truly interactive versions online.

A short note about web standards from your friends at Known

Ben and Erin are shipping experimental support for AMP in the latest version of Known, but Ben has some concerns about the balance of power tilting towards one major player, in this case Google:

Unfortunately, AMP redefines the HTML standard with some custom tags. That’s not great. It also requires that we load JavaScript from a specific source, which radically centralizes website content.

But it’s Google’s whitelist of approved ad providers that’s most concerning:

We’ve shipped support for AMP because we see potential here, and recognize that something should be done to improve the experience of loading independently-published content on the web. But attempting to bake certain businesses into a web standard is a malformed idea that is doomed to fail. If this is not corrected in future versions of the specification, we will withdraw support.

Building a device lab | Five Simple Steps

Lara and her colleague Destiny Montague have published a ridiculously useful handbook on setting up a device lab. For such a small book, it’s surprisingly packed with information.

Wrapping up another epic year of Science Hack Day SF!

It looks like this year’s Science Hack Day in San Francisco was particularly excellent.

Tantek told me about building a portable home planetarium—sounded like a blast.

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

What Happens to Grantland’s Archives? - The Atlantic

Had anyone from the archive been in touch with ESPN? Was there any hope that the treasured collection of Grantland stories might remain accessible?

“We don’t ‘get in touch,’” Jason Scott, a digital historian at the Internet Archive, told me in an email. “We act.”

Radio SETI Observations of the Anomalous Star KIC 8462852 (PDF)

We have made a radio reconnaissance of the star KIC 8462852 whose unusual light curves might possibly be due to planet-scale technology of an extraterrestrial civilization.

Nothing to report yet.