Tags: a

INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK - Archiveteam

The most ambitious project from Archive Team yet: backing up the Internet Archive.

We can do this, people! Moore’s Law and all that.

yurivictor/typebetter

A really nifty little bit of JavaScript that converts to smart quotes, apostrophes, ellipses, and em dashes.

(Initially it required jQuery but I tweaked it to avoid those dependencies and Yuri very kindly merged my pull request—such a lovely warm feeling when that happens.)

The Web’s Grain by Frank Chimero

Superb. Absolutely superb.

A magnificent tour-de-force by Frank on the web’s edgelessness.

Read. Absorb. Read again. This is the essence of responsive web design, distilled.

Design Principles

These are principles of visual design—hierarchy, rhythm, etc.—nicely explored and explained.

Quantity Queries for CSS · An A List Apart Article

A terrific bit of smart CSS thinking from Heydon Pickering.

You know he’s speaking at Responsive Day Out, right?

Are You Living in a Simulation?

Always worth bearing in mind when some perspective is needed.

If it is possible that our future species will go on to create simulations of our civilisation forerunners (us), then it is far more likely that we are currently in such a simulation than not.

Troika - a new music podcast | The Hickensian

Jon has started a new little music podcast—and he’s using Huffduffer to generate the RSS feed—three thematically-linked pieces of music.

Have a listen to the first episode.

localFont - A localStorage solution for web font loading

A quick drag’n’drop way to base 64 encode your web fonts so you can stick ‘em in local storage.

Productivity Future Vision

Any sufficiently advanced vision piece is indistinguishable from Black Mirror.

Harnessing Flexbox For Today’s Web Apps - Smashing Magazine

More flexbox!

This time it’s a great article by Karen Menezes filled with practical examples showing where you can use flexbox today.

flexbox in 5 minutes

A really handy interactive intro to flexbox. Playing around with the properties and immediately seeing the result is a real help.

Futures of text by Jonathan Libov

This would be better titled “Futures of texting” but it’s an interesting grab-bag of observations. I’ve always felt that SMS has been overlooked as an input mechanism.

(Conversely, I’ve always felt that voice is really over-rated as input mechanism, but under-rated for output.)

Password Masking

A great investigation into the usability benefits of allowing users to fill in their passwords in plain text.

Major caveat: make sure you still offer the ability to mask passwords too.

Google’s experimental new “slow” label could revolutionize how we tackle web performance - Web Performance Today

It looks like Google is going to start explicitly labelling slow sites as such in their search results (much like they recently started explicitly labelling mobile-friendly sites). So far it’s limited to Google’s own properties but it could be expanded.

Personally, I think this is a fair move. If the speed of a site were used to rank sites differently, I think that might be going too far. But giving the user advanced knowledge and leaving the final decision up to them …that feels good.

Space Probes Art Print by Ariel Waldman

Now you can get a 7” x 10” print of the cast of Ariel’s fantastic spaceprob.es site.

I think this would look quite fetching in the Clearleft office.

All Videos | Five Simple Steps

Craig has collected a selection of the videos he has filmed at conferences over the years. I’m honoured that my opening keynote at Beyond Tellerrand two years ago has been included.

There are some great Responsive Day Out videos here too.

Killing Time at Lightspeed

Interstellar travel time dilation and status updates: a clever narrative combo.

Access Optional - TimKadlec.com

It will come as no surprise that I agree with every single word that Tim has written here.

Splatter

Unleash your inner Jackson Pollock.

BBC - Future Media Standards & Guidelines - Accessibility Guidelines v2.0

The minimum dependency for a web site should be an internet connection and the ability to parse HTML.

Awesomplete: Ultra lightweight, highly customizable, simple autocomplete, by Lea Verou

Lea wasn’t happy with the lack of styling and extensibility of the datalist element, so she rolled her own lightweight autocomplete/type-ahead widget, and she’s sharing it with the world.

spaceprobe.es Data From Space

A fantastic new site from Ariel and Lisa: a collection of probes that are out in space right now, with oodles of facts for each mission and links through to more resources. SCIENCE!

NASA GeneLab

A beautiful website for ISS-based biology experiments.

Progressive Enhancement is not about JavaScript availability. | Christian Heilmann

A great description of progressive enhancement.

Progressive enhancement in its basic form means not making assumptions

Seasonal posts × Katy DeCorah

This is such a simple little adjustment, but I think it’s kinda brilliant: tweaking the display of your site’s maps to match the season.

Making the case for Progressive Javascript — The Millstone — Medium

I think we can all agree that “isomorphic JavaScript” is a terrible name for a good idea. I quite like calling it “portable JavaScript”, but here’s a good case for calling it “progressive JavaScript.”

(Right up until the end when the author says “But mainly, it’s pretty safe to assume JavaScript will just work. Everywhere.” …which is precisely the kind of unfounded assumption that leads to the very problems that isomorphic/portable/progressive JavaScript can help fix.)

Better SVG Fallback and Art Direction With The <picture> Element

Smart thinking from Sara on providing a PNG fallback to browsers that don’t support SVG. Although, actually what I like about this solution is that it’s less about providing PNG as a fallback, and more about treating PNG as the baseline and SVG as the enhancement (an approach that the picture element is perfect for).

Infovore » Joe Chip’s problem was never his door

Objects that talk are useful, but objects that tattle aren’t.

What happened to Web Intents? - Tales of a Developer Advocate

Paul Kinlan writes an honest post-mortem of his push for Web Intents.

There are some valuable lessons here, particularly for the indie web’s web actions.

Grid by Example

We were discussing the CSS3 grid layout module in the Clearleft office today, so naturally Rachel’s name came up. This is such a great resource for diving into this stuff.

Hacking on Tiny Love | Clear Thinking - The Clearleft Blog

Our new intern—L’il James—demonstrates good .gif skills in his write-up of the project he worked on at Hack Farm.

It’s like Downton Abbey and Silicon Valley had a baby.

Progressive Enhancement and Data Visualizations | CSS-Tricks

A nice little pattern for generating a swish timeline in SVG from a plain ol’ definition list in HTML.

ASCII format for Network Interchange

This RFC for ASCII (by Vint Cerf) is over 45 years old.

Last month it became a standard.

The Practical Case for Progressive Enhancement — sixtwothree.org

You know what? Just go and read everything that Jason writes, okay?

Ruddy good stuff.

Locking the Web Open, a Call for a Distributed Web | Internet Archive Blogs

Brewster Kahle’s short presentation at NetGain.

Designing Experience Layers — sixtwothree.org

The engineering benefits of building websites with a layered approach.

Why, yes, I am talking about progressive enhancement yet again! Why do you ask?

Infinite Adam Curtis « Tom Scott

Brilliant! Although it’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel to make a Markov chain out of someone whose entire output is already one big Markov chain.

Adam Curtis: the Banksy of documentaries.

You’re Missing the Point of Server-Side Rendered JavaScript Apps : Tom Dale

Tom doesn’t mention the phrase “progressive enhancement” once, but that’s okay—his post is still about progressive enhancement.

FastBoot is coming to Ember. That means server-side rendering. And that means progressive enhancement will become a possibility for Ember apps. Exciting!

SpringForward - A celebration of women in digital and technology - March 2015, Brighton

There’s a whole bunch of great events happening in Brighton this March: Codebar, Curiosity Hub, She Codes Brighton, 300 Seconds, She Says Brighton, and Ladies that UX. Lots of these will be downstairs from Clearleft in Middle Street—very handy!

Line Mode | Parallel Transport

Worth remembering:

The Web is the printing press of our times; an amazing piece of technology facilitating a free and wide-scale dissipation of our thoughts and ideas. And all of it is based on this near 20-year old, yet timeless idea of the Hyper Text Markup Language.

The “Web Application” Myth — Medium

Sensible words from Christian.

Web applications don’t follow new rules.

And frameworks will not help:

A lot of them are not really fixing fundamental problems of the web. What they do is add developer convenience. … This would be totally OK, if we were honest about it.

BBC - Future - The invisible network that keeps the world running

Tim Maughan reports on the same container ship trip that Dan W. is sending his postcards from.

I like the idea of there being an Apollo-sized project all around us, if you just know where to look.

First, towering above and over the ship, are the loading cranes. Vast structures mounted on huge, four-legged frames, they resemble the naked scaffolding of unbuilt skyscrapers, and trigger nostalgic reminders of Saturn V rocket launch towers from the 1960s.

Once in port at night I saw one suddenly fire into life next to the ship in a stroboscopic explosion of lights, before it tracked slowly above my high vantage point, bathing me in the orange glow of a dozen small halogen suns.

Responsible Social Share Links — Jonathan Suh

If you insist on having “social” sharing buttons, here’s a way to avoid bloating your page unnecessarily.

But you might want to reconsider whether you need them at all.

Ambition

A beautiful sci-fi short from the European Space Agency, inspired by the Rosetta mission.

Penguin Classics - Take the Little Black Classics for a spin

A cute way of exploring a collection of classic works.

Five Easy Ways to Be a Better Web Professional — sixtwothree.org

  1. Know Your History
  2. Know Your Medium
  3. Respect Those Who Came Before You
  4. Respect Your Audience
  5. Get Involved

Power of the platforms - O’Reilly Radar

Simon St. Laurent on uncertainty as a feature, not a bug.

As much as I like “the Web Platform” sparing me syllables over HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more, Jeremy Keith is right: treating the web as a platform with all the brittle expectations of a platform is a terrible idea.

Client-side MVC’s major bug - TimKadlec.com

I’ve said it before: if your client-side MVC framework does not support server-side rendering, that is a bug. It cripples performance.

“Nope, You’re Dead Now” — Matter

Ant told us this harrowing story in the office two weeks ago. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to be in this situation.

Experience Development pt. 2: Progressive Enhancement with Jeremy Keith on Huffduffer

I really enjoyed chatting with the guys on the The Dirt podcast about progressive enhancement, but my goodness; it certainly sounds like I need to switch to decaf! Yappity-yapity-yap!

The Internet of Useless Things

Disruption!

The Long Web by Jeremy Keith – An Event Apart Video on Vimeo

This is a talk I gave at An Event Apart about eighteen months ago, all about irish music, the web, long-term thinking, and yes, you guessed it—progressive enhancement.

Spotify Names the Chloe Weil Scholarship to Help Flatiron School Women Fund their Education

A scholarship fund for women students at the Flatiron School, in memory of Chloe.

Spotify has named the program the Chloe Weil Scholarship as a memorial to Chloe Weil, an inspiring designer and engineer who took a strong interest in creating opportunities for women in technology.

Flash of Faux Text—still more on Font Loading—zachleat.com

Smart thinking on optimising the perceived performance of loading web fonts: if you prioritise the most widely-used weight and style (usually the regular roman), and load other weights and styles subsequently, then it appears as though the font is ready sooner.

Dev Discomfort | dirtystylus

Rushing doesn’t improve things, it might even slow you down. Focusing on a few things and doing them well is worthwhile. Sharing what you learn—even while you’re still figuring things out—is even better.

DevMynd Blog: Pairing with Junior Developers

We hired Charlotte, our first junior developer at Clearleft recently, and my job has taken on more of a teaching role. I’m really enjoying it, but I have no idea what I’m doing, and I worry that I’m doing all the wrong things.

This article looks like it has some good, sensible advice …although I should probably check to see if Charlotte agrees.

What we would change about Rizzo - Ian Feather

I really like the self-examination that Ian and his team at Lonely Planet are doing here. Instead of creating a framework for creating a living style guide and calling it done, they’re constantly looking at what could be done better, and revisiting earlier decisions.

I’m intrigued by the way they’ve decided to reorganise their files by component rather than by filetype.

The Queen Of Code

A short documentary on the wonderful Grace Hopper.

Welcome to the new Guardian website

The Guardian have hit the big red button and made their responsive site the default. Great stuff!

(top tip: don’t read the comments)

Let’s Keep Helping Molly Holzschlag

Molly has contributed so much to the web and to the world. This is quite literally the least we can do.

It would really mean a lot to me if you donated to help cover her treatments.

LukeW | Showing Passwords on Log-In Screens

Luke continues to tilt against the windmills of the security theatre inertia that still has us hiding passwords by default. As ever, he’s got the data to back up his findings.

Adrian Roselli: All of This Has Happened Before and Will Happen Again

Everyone who calls for WebKit in Internet Explorer is exactly the same kind of developer who would have coded to Internet Explorer 15 years ago (and probably happily displayed the best viewed in badge).

Truth.

It’s happening again, and every petulant, lazy developer who calls for a WebKit-only world is responsible.

Vivaldi - A new browser for our friends

From the ashes of Opera, a new browser is born. Download the tech preview and take it for a spin—it’s quite nice.

Android Wear and the Moto 360 Browser

Anna documents the most interesting bit (for me) of her new wearable/watch/wrist-device/whatever — the web browser.

The Brand Deck by Scott Thomas — Kickstarter

This Eno-esque deck of cards by Scott could prove very useful for a lot of Clearleft projects.

Windows 10 Technical Preview IE UA String

I love Lyza’s comment on the par-for-the-course user-agent string of Microsoft’s brand new Spartan browser:

There must be an entire field emerging: UA archaeologist and lore historian. It’s starting to read like the “begats” in the bible. All browsers much connect their lineage to Konqueror or face a lack-of-legitimacy crisis!

Thoughts on Pagination

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately; alternate ways of paginating through the past e.g. by day instead of by arbitrary amount.

A random principle from Adactio’s collection

This is neat—Vasilis has built a one-pager that grabs a random example from my collection of design principles.

I really like that he was able to use the predictable structure of my HTML as an API.

Flying Toasters | After Dark in CSS

For people of a certain age, this will bring back memories of a classic screensaver.

If you had told me back then that the screensaver could one day be recreated in CSS, I’m not sure I would’ve believed it.

The Emularity « ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason documents some pretty amazing levels of emulation in JavaScript:

That’s Netscape 1.0n, released in December of 1994, running inside Windows 3.11, released in August of 1993, running inside of Google Chrome 39.0.2171.99 m, released about a week ago, on a Windows 7 PC, released in 2009.

But when it comes to trying to navigate the web with that set-up, things get a bit depressing.

MakerLab HQ - Maker Club

Good news, Brighton! There’s a Maker Club opening up on London Road (above the new Presuming Ed coffee shop). Grab your robot kits and come along.

Competing on “Chrome”, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

First, the browsers competed on having proprietary crap. Then, the browsers competed on standards support. Now, finally, the browsers are competing on what they can offer their users.

Over It by Brad Frost

So keep things simple. Build to standards. Use progressive enhancement. Don’t try to send wheelbarrows full of JavaScript down the pipes unless you have to. Don’t make assumptions.

The Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt: Finally, the Museum of the Future Is Here - The Atlantic

Remember Aaron’s dConstruct talk? Well, the Atlantic has more details of his work at the Cooper Hewitt museum in this wide-ranging piece that investigates the role of museums, the value of APIs, and the importance of permanent URLs.

As I was leaving, Cope recounted how, early on, a curator had asked him why the collections website and API existed. Why are you doing this?

His retrospective answer wasn’t about scholarship or data-mining or huge interactive exhibits. It was about the web.

I find this incredibly inspiring.

A Long Journey Reaches a Happy Conclusion: The Uncertain Web is Out In All Formats

Rob Larsen was published a book with O’Reilly called “The Uncertain Web: Web Development in a Changing Landscape”. I like it:

A refreshingly honest look at the chaotic, wonderful world of web development, with handy, practical advice for making future-friendly, backward-compatible websites.

What the Web Said Yesterday

A profile of the wonderful Internet Archive.

No one believes any longer, if anyone ever did, that “if it’s on the Web it must be true,” but a lot of people do believe that if it’s on the Web it will stay on the Web. Chances are, though, that it actually won’t.

Brewster Kahle is my hero.

Kahle is a digital utopian attempting to stave off a digital dystopia. He views the Web as a giant library, and doesn’t think it ought to belong to a corporation, or that anyone should have to go through a portal owned by a corporation in order to read it. “We are building a library that is us,” he says, “and it is ours.”

The Shifting Definition of Front-End Developer

I don’t agree with the conclusion of this post:

Let’s define “front-end” to mean the parts of the app relating to user interface, rather than those that happen to be running in the browser’s JavaScript VM.

But I think the author definitely taps into a real issue:

The real problem is the perception that any code running in the browser is front-end code.

Let’s face it: programming something in Angular and Ember has much more in common with programming something in Rails or Django than it has with writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

This is something we’re running into at Clearleft: we’ve never done backend programming (by choice), but it gets confusing if a client wants us to create something in Angular or Ember, “because that’s front end code, right?”

Front end and back end - QuirksBlog

This!

The difference between back-enders and front-enders is that the first work in only one environment, while the second have to work with myriad of environments that may hold unpleasant surprises.

Yes!

I feel that the subconscious assumption that a complex JavaScript-driven web site or web app will run in only one monolithic environment is the root cause of many problems front-enders see in back-end-driven web-based projects.

The challenge for web designers in 2015 (or how to cheat at the future)

Designing primarily in a laptop web browser and testing with a mouse rather than fingers may come to look very out of date soon.

UK-led Beagle 2 lander found on Mars - News stories - GOV.UK

This is quite amazing!

I remember getting up on Christmas day 2003 (I was in Arizona), hoping to get news of Beagle 2’s successful landing. Alas, the news never came.

For something that size to be discovered now …that’s quite something.

The problem with Angular - QuirksBlog

I have doubts about Angular 1.x’s suitability for modern web development. If one is uncharitably inclined, one could describe it as a front-end framework by non-front-enders for non-front-enders.

Less than Zero

I have to admit, my initial reaction to the idea of providing free access to some websites for people in developing countries was “well, it’s better than no access at all, right?” …but the more I think about it, the more I realise how short-sighted that is. The power of the internet stems from being a stupid network and anything that compromises that—even with the best of intentions—is an attack on its fundamental principles.

On the surface, it sounds great for carriers to exempt popular apps from data charges. But it’s anti-competitive, patronizing, and counter-productive.

The Perils of an All-Digital Movie Future

Dropping our films down the memory hole. Welcome to the digital dark age.

As a new developer | Charlotte Spencer’s Blog

I’m not a new developer, but I can definitely relate to this. In fact, when I’ve spoken to any developer about this, it turns out that everyone feels overwhelmed by how much we’re expected to know. That’s not good. We should open up and talk about this more (like Charlotte is doing here).

The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis - The Atlantic

As someone entering their mid 40s, I find this research into “the U-curve” immensely reassuring.

Abstractivate: Systems Thinking about WIT

As always, systems thinking makes a lot of sense for analysing problems, even if—or, especially if—it’s a social issue.

Internet Under Fire Gets New Manifesto

There’s more than a whiff of Indie Web thinking in this sequel to the Cluetrain Manifesto from Doc Searls and Dave Weinberger.

The Net’s super-power is connection without permission. Its almighty power is that we can make of it whatever we want.

It’s quite lawn-off-getty …but I also happen to agree with pretty much all of it.

Although it’s kind of weird that it’s published on somebody else’s website.

How we use web fonts responsibly, or, avoiding a @font-face-palm by Filament Group

Smart thinking here on the eternal dilemma with loading web fonts. Filament Group have thought about how the initial experience of the first page load could be quite different to subsequent page loads.

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

Brad’s writing a book.

Insert take-my-money.gif here.

Sass Guidelines

Advice for writing Sass. I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but on the whole, this is a solid approach.

It’s worth bearing Chris’s advice in mind.

HTTP/2.0 - The IETF is Phoning It In - ACM Queue

There are some good points here comparing HTTP2 and SPDY, but I’m mostly linking to this because of the three wonderful opening paragraphs:

A very long time ago —in 1989 —Ronald Reagan was president, albeit only for the final 19½ days of his term. And before 1989 was over Taylor Swift had been born, and Andrei Sakharov and Samuel Beckett had died.

In the long run, the most memorable event of 1989 will probably be that Tim Berners-Lee hacked up the HTTP protocol and named the result the “World Wide Web.” (One remarkable property of this name is that the abbreviation “WWW” has twice as many syllables and takes longer to pronounce.)

Tim’s HTTP protocol ran on 10Mbit/s, Ethernet, and coax cables, and his computer was a NeXT Cube with a 25-MHz clock frequency. Twenty-six years later, my laptop CPU is a hundred times faster and has a thousand times as much RAM as Tim’s machine had, but the HTTP protocol is still the same.

Apps Everywhere, but No Unifying Link - NYTimes.com

But as people spend more time on their mobile devices and in their apps, their Internet has taken a step backward, becoming more isolated, more disorganized and ultimately harder to use — more like the web before search engines.

Postcards from a Supply Chain

Dan has started writing up what he did on his Summer hols …on a container ship travelling to China.

It is, of course, in the form of an email newsletter because that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement

You can now read Aaron’s excellent book online. I highly recommend reading the first chapter for one of the best descriptions of progressive enhancement that I’ve ever read.

The Nor » Low Latency

Like an Enid Blyton adventure for the 21st century, James goes out into the country and explores the networks of microwave transmitters enabling high-frequency trading.

If you think that London’s skyscraper boom is impressive – the Shard, the Walkie-Talkie, the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin – go to Slough. It is not height that matters, but bandwidth.

CSS: Just Try and Do a Good Job

Good advice from Chris, particularly if you’re the one who has to live with the CSS you write.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “You must do what you feel is right, of course.”

The Anti-Tolkien - The New Yorker

A short profile of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series (though, for me, Jerry Cornelius is the champion that remains eternal in my memory).

Taking Chrome DevTools outside of the browser. — Kenneth Auchenberg

Kenneth has isolated Chrome’s dev tools into its own app. This is a big step towards this goal:

Why are DevTools still bundled with the browsers? What if clicking “inspect element” simply started an external DevTools app?

With DevTools separated from one specific browser, a natural next step would be making the DevTools app work with other browsers.

Long Now Years: Five-digit Dates and 10K-compliance at Home — Blog of the Long Now

How to get Yosemite to display five-digit years. It’s a bit of a hack, but we’ve got another 7,985 years to figure out a better solution.

Netherlandish Proverbs – Pieter Bruegel the Elder – An Analog Project

A lovely Yuletide present from Brian and co.—an exploration of the proverbs embodied in Bruegel’s painting.