Archive: August 8th, 2016
Exploring web technologies
Last week, I had two really enjoyable experiences discussing completely opposite ends of the web technology stack.
Tuesday is Codebar day here in Brighton. Clearleft hosted it at 68 Middle Street last week. I really, really enjoy coaching at Codebar. I particularly like teaching the absolute basics of HTML and CSS. There’s something so rewarding about seeing the “a-ha!” moments when concepts click with people. I also love answering the inevitable questions that arise, like “why is it like that?”, or “how do I do this?”
Thursday was devoted to the opposite end of the spectrum. I ran a workshop at Clearleft with some developers from one of our clients. The whole day was dedicated to exploring and evaluating up-and-coming web technologies. Basically, it was a chance to geek out about all the stuff I’ve been linking to or writing about. During the workshop I ended up making a lot of use of my tagging system here on adactio.com:
- My thoughts on web components,
- Links to resources on web components,
- My posts on implementing service workers,
- Lots and lots of links to handy service worker resources,
- Links relating to performance,
- A whole bunch of accessibility links, and
- Everything I’ve linked to regarding progressive web apps.
Web components and service workers ended up at the top of the list of technologies to tackle, which was fortuitous, given my recent thoughts on comparing the two:
First of all, ask the question “who benefits from this technology?” In the case of service workers, it’s the end users. They get faster websites that handle network failure better. In the case of web components, there are no direct end-user benefits. Web components exist to make developers lives easier. That’s absolutely fine, but any developer convenience gained by the use of web components can’t come at the expense of the user—that price is too high.
The next question we usually ask when we’re evaluating a technology is “how well does it work?” Personally, I think it’s just as important to ask “how well does it fail?”
Those two questions turned out to be a good framework for the whole workshop. The question of how to evaluate technologies is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m pretty sure it will be what my next conference talk is going to be all about.
You can read more about the structure of the workshop over on the Clearleft site. I’m looking forward to running it again sometime. But I’m equally looking forward to getting back to the basics at the next Codebar.
Can’t code, won’t code - cracking the secret of gender imbalance in STEM
Adult training represents a way into coding for millions of women who never learnt when they were younger. Meetups such as those run by organisations such as Women Who Code and Codebar can introduce women to the collaborative, problem-solving world of programming.
Creating An Accessible Modal Dialog
In the same vein as Hugo’s script, Ire walks through the steps involved in making an accessible modal window. Seeing all the thinking and code required for this really highlights the need for a way of making the document in the background inert.
“Researching Design Systems,” an article by Dan Mall
Dan has been researching the history of design systems, annotating as he goes.
Stuff I wish I’d known sooner about service workers
Some helpful “gotchas” that could save you some frustration if you’re starting out with service workers.
Build JS apps responsibly - cover your basics, render strategically and enhance into true apps.