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Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Progressive Misconceptions, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

Good stuff from Aaron…

Progressive enhancement embraces the idea of experience as a continuum rather than some singular ideal.

Progressive enhancement should not be viewed as a challenge to JavaScript any more than concepts like namespacing, test driven development, or file concatenation & minification are; it’s just another way to improve your code.

Progressive enhancement’s focus on providing a baseline experience that makes no assumptions about browser features will provide a robust foundation for any project.

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Oversharing with the browser’s autofill / Stoyan’s

Equal parts clever and scary. By using autocomplete in HTML and some offscreen positioning in CSS, it’s possible to extract some unexpected personal information.

I expect browsers will be closing these holes pretty quickly.

Hatnote Listen to Wikipedia

Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note.

Your Social Media Fingerprint

Clever! By exploiting the redirect pattern that most social networks use for logging in, and assuming that site’s favicon isn’t stored in a CDN, it’s possible to figure out whether someone is logged into that site.

The Service Worker Lifecycle  |  Web  |  Google Developers

Jake goes into the details of what exactly is happening when a service worker is installed or replaced.

This is easily the most complex part of working with service workers, and I think I’m beginning to wrap my head around it, but the good news is that, for the most part, you don’t really need to know the ins and outs of this to get started (and dev tools are now making it easier to nuke from orbit if this begins to bite).

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Quantity queries and Flexbox part 2 | Charlotte Jackson, Front-end developer

This is so great! Charlotte takes two previous ideas she’s been writing about (quantity queries and flexbox) and puts them together in a new way.

It took me a while to get around what the nth-child selectors are doing here, but Charlotte does such great job of explaining the CSS that even I could understand it.

Technical Credit by Chris Taylor

Riffing on an offhand comment I made about progressive enhancement being a form of “technical credit”, Chris dives deep into what exactly that means. There’s some really great thinking here.

With such a wide array of both expected and unexpected properties of the current technological revolution, building our systems in such a way to both be resilient to potential failures and benefit from unanticipated events surely is a no-brainer.

Addicted to Your iPhone? You’re Not Alone - The Atlantic

The dreadful headline makes this sound like another pearl-clutching moral panic, but there’s some good stuff in this somewhat hagiographic profile.

Harris is developing a code of conduct—the Hippocratic oath for software designers—and a playbook of best practices that can guide start-ups and corporations toward products that “treat people with respect.” Having companies rethink the metrics by which they measure success would be a start.

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Thoughtful CSS Architecture | Sparkbox | Web Design and Development

A good overview of ideas and techniques for structuring CSS and naming classes.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Does Progressive Enhancement Have a Place in Today’s Web? - George Brocklehurst, thoughtbot - YouTube

Spoiler: the answer is “Yes!”.

It’s a way of building web applications that’s very similar to making a sandwich.

This talk is itself a tasty sandwich of good stuff.

Thimble by Mozilla - An online code editor for learners & educators.

This is a really, really nice tool for creating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript without needing a separate text editor. And then you can publish the results to a URL.

It’s a bit like CodePen but it shows the whole HTML document, which makes it particularly useful for teaching front-end development to beginners (ideal for Codebar!).

CodePen for snippets; Thimble for pages.

Enhancing a comment form: From basic to custom error message to BackgroundSync | justmarkup

This is a truly fantastic example of progressive enhancement applied to a form.

What I love about this is that it shows how progressive enhancement isn’t a binary on/off choice: there are layers and layers of enhancements here, from simple inline validation all the way to service workers and background sync, with many options in between.


Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

The Amazing Women of CSS

Rachel lists some of the best CSS developers working on the web today:

You Might Not Need JavaScript

Una has put together a nice collection of patterns that use CSS for interactions. JavaScript would certainly be more suitable for many of these, but they still provide some great ideas for robust fallbacks.

Pragmatic, Practical, and Progressive Theming with Custom Properties by Harry Roberts

Harry demonstrates a really good use for CSS custom properties—allowing users to theme an interface.

Monday, October 10th, 2016

The Web is not Fashionable. - The blog of Ada Rose Edwards

This is such a great perspective on what it’s like to build for the web over the long term. The web will always be a little bit broken, and that’s okay—we can plan for that.

The Web has history. If you build with web technology it will stick around. We try not to break the web even if it means the mistakes and bad decisions we have made in the past (and will make in the future) get set in stone.

Dan McKinley :: Choose Boring Technology

A somewhat contentious title but there’s some really smart thinking here about choosing and evaluating technology.

The slidedeck version is even clearer.

Your Private Encrypted Browser | Tenta Browser

A browser for Android that specifically touts privacy and security as its key features.

Taking Pattern Libraries To The Next Level – Smashing Magazine

Here’s an epic brain dump by Vitaly on the challenges of putting together a pattern library and then maintaining it.

Sacrificing consistency for usability is fine. A slightly open-ended, inconsistent but heavily used pattern library is better than a perfectly consistent pattern library that is never used.

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Can we stop bad-mouthing CSS in developer talks, please? | Christian Heilmann

I agree with Chris’s conclusion here, but for a different reason. Here’s a shocking thought: what if the cascade is a feature not a bug?


(no really; imagine if programmers stopped trying to bend CSS to their immutable will, and instead embraced its declarative power)