This is a wonderful piece by Maciej—a magnificent historical narrative that leads to a thunderous rant. Superb!
A terrific post from Trent, touching on all the important facets of building for the web: universality, progressive enhancement, performance …great stuff!
BBC Radio 4 Extra - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Game - 30th Anniversary Edition
One of the most fiendish user-unfriendly (but oh-so-witty) adventure games of all time is now online for you to enjoy with some added graphical flourishes.
Well, this is pretty nifty: Dan Gilmour is at Indie Web Camp in San Francisco and he’s already got some code up and running on his site.
Y’know, I’m not missing South by Southwest in the slightest this year …but I’m really miss Indie Web Camp.
I can’t wait to see this documentary on the monumental work at CERN.
Scott writes an absolutely spot-on skewering of the idea that progressive enhancement means you’re going to spend your time catering to older browsers. The opposite is true.
Progressive Enhancement frees us to focus on the costs of building features for modern browsers, without worrying much about leaving anyone out. With a strongly qualified codebase, older browser support comes nearly for free.
A lovely visualisation that combines two of my loves: space, and the correct use of the subjunctive.
Fast Company features Aral’s tantalising Indie Phone project that he’s been working on at Clearleft Towers.
Good to see Oskar the dog getting the recognition he deserves.
On the top floor of a commercial building in the old maritime city of Brighton, England, Balkan has been quietly hacking away at Indie Phone for the last several months with the rest of his team—Victor Johansson, an industrial designer, Laura Kalbag, a professional web designer (and Balkan’s partner), and her Husky, Oskar.
Excellent tips and tools from Google’s Paul Lewis on performance testing.
I did some consulting with the Wellcome Trust on this new magazine-like project, and it’s great to see it go live—excellent stories of science, all published under a Creative Commons licence.
A handy way of automating the creation of old-IE stylesheets using Grunt. This follows on from Jake’s work in using preprocessors and conditional comments to send a different stylesheet to IE8 and below—one that doesn’t contain media queries. It’s a clever way of creating mobile-first responsive sites that still provide large-screen styles to older versions of IE.
The alphabet illustrated with CSS.
Tom is running a Node School at 68 Middle Street on the evening of March 27th. I plan to attend and finally wrap my head around all this Node stuff.
A lovely bit of data celebration from Ravelry on the occasion of their 4 millionth user.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you want to see a successful example of a real social networking site, don’t look at Facebook; look at Ravelry.
The importance of long-term thinking in web design. I love this description of the web:
a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients
Great suggestions from Dave for podcasters keen on allowing easier sharing.
Oh, how I wish Soundcloud would do this and be less of an audio roach motel!
Mike writes about what it was like being a client for a change. After working with him on the Code for America project, I can personally vouch for him as a dream client:
Clearleft’s pattern deliverables are the special-special that made the final work so strong. Jon Aizlewood’s introduction to the concept convinced me to contact Clearleft. Jeremy Keith’s interest in design systems kicked off the process, and Anna Debenham’s fucking rock star delivery brought it all home.
Some good ideas on the idea of element-level media queries, a feature that developers are crying out for and browser makers are saying is too hard. This post has some thoughts on how to deal with the potential issues.
An interesting pattern for handling complex data tables in responsive designs. It’s a desktop-down approach, but pretty smart.
Great stuff from James Wragg and the gang at Madgex: a way of lazy-loading ads for responsive sites without messing with the ad code.
This may be the only slideshow on a website I’ve ever actually bothered to click all the way through.
This looks like a nifty take on the ol’ using-labels-like-placeholders pattern for forms. I still prefer to have a label visible at all times, but this seems like a nice compromise.
Nice! A Yeoman generator for scaffolding your own pattern primer.
(Those are just words, aren’t they? Y’know, as opposed to a sentence that would actually make sense to most right-thinking people.)
Thoughts from Luke Bacon on two topics that fascinate me: archives and design principles.
This is a really great idea—a portable open device lab. It’s UK-based and you can hire it out for a few days at a time.
Some great thoughts in here about web development workflow and communication between designers and developers.
I believe that the solution is made up of a variety of tools that encourage conversation and improve our shared lexicon. Tools such as styleguides, pattern libraries, elemental and modular systems that encourage access not only by developers, but by designers, shareholders and editors as well.
A lovely little tour of eleven ubiquitous icons.
A great post from Anna on the front-end styleguides she’s worked on for A List Apart and Code for America. ‘Twas a pleasure working with her on the Code for America project.
A-mer-ica! Fuck yeah!
A fascinating look at the early history of HTML, tracing its roots from the dialect of SGML used at CERN.
A great write-up of the design process behind The Guardian’s responsive site. It’s really gratifying to see UX designers talking about performance.
Such a classic game, well worth playing again.
If you picked up the Guardian this weekend, you’ll have seen some brilliant work by Kyle on the cover (and inside) the magazine section.
Okay, this might just be my new favourite blog:
This site is dedicated to all aspects of movie and TV typography and iconography as it appears in Sci-Fi and fantasy movies.
The first post is all about 2001, and the writing is just the right shade of fun.
I’m already looking forward to future posts. (See what I did there?)
Words of wisdom from Seb when it comes to personal projects: finish what you start.
Most people don’t finish their projects so simply by getting it done, you’re way ahead of the crowd.
A nice look at responsive design, progressive enhancement, and the principle of One Web.
Don’t get me wrong: jQuery is great, but for a lot of projects, you might not need 90% of the functionality it provides. So try starting with vanilla JS and only pulling in jQuery if and when you need it.
A great series of articles on the sci-fi films of the ’60s and ’70s:
The Laser Age examines a rich period in the history of science-fiction filmmaking that began in the late 1960s and faded away by the mid 1980s.
…all wrapped up in a nice responsive design too.
Well, this is nice: the Line-mode browser hack has been nominated in the Best Collaborative Project in the Net awards.
But 24 Ways has also been nominated, and let’s face it, that really is the best collaborative project.
Another front-end style guide for the collection. This time it’s from A List Apart. Lovely stuff!
Like Drew, I’ve noticed some real hostility to the idea of progressive enhancement recently. Like Drew, I don’t really understand where this attitude comes from. It’s not like progressive enhancement prevents you from doing anything you would do otherwise: it’s just another way of approaching the way you build for the web.
I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect that some developers are letting their tools dictate their principles—the tail wagging the dog (where the tail is Angular, Ember, etc.).
This observation by Josh seems obvious in hindsight (all the best insights do), but there’s a powerful idea there:
So here is the real difference: scrolling is a continuation; clicking is a decision. Scrolling is simply continuing to do what you’re currently doing, which is typically reading. Clicking, however, is asking the user to consider something new…is this new thing the same as what I’m already doing, or something new?
This nifty place in Brighton is just down the street from me:
Our classes allow kids to get creative with exciting, cutting-edge technology and software.
Des is right, y’know.
Scope grows in minutes, not months. Look after the minutes, and the months take care of themselves.
This tool for building ScrAPIs is an interesting development—the current trend for not providing a simple API (or even a simple RSS feed) is being interpreted as damage and routed around.
Some easily-digestible nuggets of advice on public speaking.
A handy one-stop-shop for documentation on web technologies.
Some sensible thinking from Tim on measuring performance gains.
Web-Thang is a chrome extension that replaces all instances of the term ‘web thang’ or ‘web thang/web thang’ with the term ‘web thang’.
An in-depth look at using icon fonts without any nasty edge-cases ruining your day.
Got an old phone lying around that you don’t need any more? Why not donate it to a device lab? You know it makes sense.
A collaboration between Zooniverse and the Imperial War Museum. Now citizen scientists can become citizen historians by classifying diaries from World War One.
Hey, look! The Clearleft interns are in Wired. That’s nice.
A great analysis of how centralised hubs are the easiest attack vector for bad actors like the NSA and GCHQ:
How did we get such industry concentration? Why is a network famously based on distributed processing, routing, and peer connections characterized now by a few choke points that the NSA can skim at its leisure?
Chris is putting together a series about the neglected building blocks of the web. First up; the much-abused hyperlink, the very foundation of the world wide web.
It is the most simple and most effective world-wide, open and free publishing mechanism. That it is why we need to protect them from extinction.
Craig recently had a piece published in the New Yorker called Goodbye, Cameras. It’s good …but this follow-on piece on his own site is truly wonderful.
Read. Absorb. Ponder.
Being close to the network does not mean being on Facebook, thought it can mean that, too. It does not mean pushing low-res images to Instagram, although there’s nothing wrong with that. What the network represents, in my mind, is a sort of ledger of humanity. The great shared mind. An image’s distance to it is the difference between contributing or not contributing to that shared ledger.
There were some technical difficulties with microphones, and it was a bit weird presenting inside a cinema, but I still had fun yapping on at last year’s Future Of Web Design in New York.
David Cole shares the ideas for projects he would like to develop further, but probably never will. I like this a lot (and there are some great ideas in here).
Want to implement webmentions but you’re using static pages a-la Jekyll? No problem. Pelle’s got you covered.
There’s something very satisfying about this televisual sleuthing:
Images of the computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.
Having experienced the death of a friend, I wonder how many have considered the ghosts in the machine.
A nice little cheat sheet for simple simple typography wins.
I like Erin’s list.
Lovely little graphics inspired by New York architecture.
A fascinating bit of linguistic spelunking from Craig Hockenberry, in which he tracks down the earliest usage of “tweet” as a verb relating to Twitter.
Basically, it’s all Blaine’s fault.
I’m with Frank. He’s going Indie Web for 2014:
I’m returning to a personal site, which flips everything on its head. Rather than teasing things apart into silos, I can fuse different kinds of content together.
Homesteading instead of sharecropping:
So, I’m doubling down on my personal site in 2014.
Now this is what I call research:
Through the use of my knowledge of computer magazines, my sharp eyes, and other technical knowledge, I have overcome the limited amount of information available in the video content of WarGames and with complete certainty identified the exact name and issue number of the magazine read on screen by David L. Lightman in WarGames.
Chris has a written a response to my post (which was itself inspired by his excellent An Event Apart presentation) all about CSS, variables, and abstractions.
I love this kind of old-school blog-to-blog discussion.
Expanding on an exercise from last year’s Hackfarm, Brian and Mike have written a deliciously dystopian near-future short story.
A lovely history lesson on CSS from John.
This looks interesting: a CSS postprocessor that polyfills support for perfectly cromulent styles.
A beautiful real-time visualisation of winds on our planet.
Wow …somebody has a tattoo of Salter Cane cover artwork.
A searing, angry, heartfelt eulogy.
This is called expletive infixation.
I’ll always remember the “Phila-fucking-delphia” example from Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct:
If you said “Philadel-fucking-phia”, you’d be laughed out of the pool hall.
Get these down your earholes!
Remy has huffduffed all the audio from this year’s Full Frontal conference.
The video of my closing talk at this year’s Full Frontal conference, right here in Brighton.
I had a lot of fun with this, although I was surprisingly nervous before I started: I think it was because I didn’t want to let Remy down.
Brian Aldiss: ‘These days I don’t read any science fiction. I only read Tolstoy’ | Books | The Guardian
A profile of Brian Aldiss in The Guardian.
I still can’t quite believe I managed to get him for last year’s Brighton SF.
This is a wonderful addition to the already-wonderful Flickr Commons: over one million pictures from the British Library, available with liberal licensing.
Y’know, I’m worried about what will happen to my own photos when Flickr inevitably goes down the tubes (there are still some good people there fighting the good fight, but they’re in the minority and they’re battling against the douchiest of Silicon Valley managerial types who have been brought in to increase “engagement” by stripping away everything that makes Flickr special) …but what really worries me is what’s going to happen to Flickr Commons. It’s an unbelievably important and valuable resource.
I think Chrome is doing the right thing by removing the 300 millisecond tap delay on sites that set width=device-width — it’s certainly better than only doing it on sites that set user-scalable=no, which felt like rewarding bad behaviour.
We were struggling, whether we knew it or not, to found a more fluid society. A place where everyone, not just appointed apologists for the status quo, could be heard. That dream need not die. It matters more now than ever.
Alas, it turns out that it’s reliant on user-agent string sniffing. I guess that’s to be expected: this isn’t something that can be detected directly. Still, it feels a little fragile: whenever you use any user-agent sniffing tool you are entering an arms race that requires you to keep your code constantly updated.
Another good ol’ rant from Tom. It’s a bit extreme but the underlying lamentation with the abandonment of progressive enhancement is well founded.
Some good brainstorming from Tantek that follows on nicely from Anne’s recent manifesto.
A blog covering the conservative dinosaur readiness movement.
Ant—the latest super-smart addition to the Clearleft team—describes this year’s Hackfarm, which happened a couple of weeks ago.
It was Ant’s first week. Or, as he described it when we were wrapping up all the hacking, “Best first week at a job ever!”
Here’s a heartwarming tale. It starts out as a description of processing.js project for Code Club (which is already a great story) and then morphs into a description of how anyone can contribute to make a codebase better …resulting in a lovely pull request on Github.
Some excellent research from Chris, canvassing opinions on whether there’s a difference between web “apps” and web “sites”. His conclusion:
Almost none of the points above ring true for me. All I see are exceptions and gray area.
If nothing else, the fact that none of the proposed distinctions agree with one another show how pointless the phrase “web app” is—if people have completely differing ideas on what a phrase means, it is completely useless in furthering discussion …the very definition of a buzzword.
This leads me to think perhaps the “web app” moniker (certainly the newer of the two) is simply just a fashionable term. We like the sound of it, so we use it, regardless if it truly means anything.
But all of this is, I think, missing the more important point: why? Why would you want to separate the cornucopia of the web into two simplistic buckets? What purpose does it serve? That’s the question that really needs be answered.
If we could pin down a super accurate definition that we agreed on, even then it might not be particularly useful. And since we can’t, I argue it’s even less useful.
This is a wonderful, wonderful round-up by KQED of the most recent Science Hack Day in San Francisco …a truly marvellous event.
Be sure to watch the accompanying video—it brought a tear to my eye.
A superb bit of sleuthing by James:
From London to the Mediterranean, to Malta and back again, over multiple countries and jurisdictions, through airspace and legal space. The contortions of G-WIRG’s flight path mirror the ethical labyrinth the British Government finds itself in when, against all better judgements, it insists on punishing individuals as an example to others, using every weasel justification in its well-funded legal war chest. Using a combination of dirty laws and private technologies to transform and transmit people from one jurisidiction, one legal condition and category, to another: this is the meaning of the verb “to render”.
John shares his concerns about the increasing complexity involved in developing for the web.
Coming from anyone else, this glorious vision might seem far-fetched, but Anne is working to make it a reality.
The transcript of Mark’s talk from last week’s Handheld conference in Cardiff.
There are mountains.
This was my favourite moment from the Handheld conference in Cardiff.
Some excellent practical advice on progressive enhancement.
I agree completely with the sentiment of this article (although the title is perhaps a bit overblown): you shouldn’t need a separate API—that’s what you’re existing URL structure should be.
I’m not entirely sure that content negotiation is the best way to go when it comes to serving up different representations: there’s a real value in being able to paste a URL into a browser window to get back a JSON or XML representation of a resource.
But this is spot-on about the ludicrous over-engineered complexity of most APIs. It’s ridiculous that I can enter a URL into a browser window to get an HTML representation of my latest tweets, but I have to sign up for an API key and jump through OAuth hoops, and agree to display the results in a specific way if I want to get a JSON representation of the same content. Ludicrous!
Usually I find these kinds of name-and-shame collections to be unnecessarily mean-spirited. In this case, the sites being named and shamed are themselves guilty of far worse rudeness.