This extract from Baldur’s new book is particularly timely in light of the twipocalypse.
I like the way this work-in-progress is organised—it’s both a book and a personal website that’ll grow over time.
Dave laments the increasing number of complex jobs involved in front-end (or “full-stack”) development.
But whereas I would just leave at that, Dave does something constructive and points to a potential solution—a corresponding increase of more thinsliced full-time roles like design engineering, front-end ops, and CSS engineering.
Write about what you learn. It pushes you to understand topics better. Sometimes the gaps in your knowledge only become clear when you try explaining things to others. It’s OK if no one reads what you write. You get a lot out of just doing it for you.
Lots of good advice from Addy:
Saying no is better than overcommitting.
Even when each new layer of complexity starts to bring zero or even negative returns on investment, people continue trying to do what worked in the past. At some point, the morass they’ve built becomes so dysfunctional and unwieldy that the only solution is collapse: i.e., a rapid decrease in complexity, usually by abolishing the old system and starting from scratch.
Jim shares his thoughts on my recent post about declarative design systems. He picks up on the way I described a declarative design systems as “a predefined set of boundary conditions that can be used to generate components”:
I like this definition of a design system: a set of boundaries. It’s about saying “don’t go there” rather than “you can only go here”. This embraces the idea of constraints as the mother of invention: it opens the door to creativity while keeping things bounded.
Time and again, organizations have sought to contain software’s most troublesome tendencies—its habit of sprawling beyond timelines and measurable goals—by introducing new management styles. And for a time, it looked as though companies had found in Agile the solution to keeping developers happily on task while also working at a feverish pace. Recently, though, some signs are emerging that Agile’s power may be fading. A new moment of reckoning is in the making, one that may end up knocking Agile off its perch.
This forthcoming podcast about design engineering sounds like my cup of tea!
Design engineering explained, with diagrams.
I have never worked anywhere where there wasn’t someone trying to close the gap. This role is often filled in accidentally, and companies are totally unaware of the need. Recruiters have never heard of it, and IT consultancies don’t have the capability in their roster. We now name the role “Design Engineer” because the gap is widening, and the role has become too complex to not exist.
Sneaky social engineering in Slack.
Folks, this is not okay. Our industry is characterized by institutional recklessness and a callous lack of empathy for our users.
It sometimes feels like we end up testing the limitations of our tools rather than the content and design itself.
What Benjamin found—and I heartily agree—is that HTML prototypes give you the most bang for your buck:
A great tool is not a universal tool it’s a tool well suited to a specific problem.
The more universal a solution someone claims to have to whatever software engineering problem exists, and the more confident they are that it is a fully generalized solution, the more you should question them.
I don’t agree with all of the mythbusting in this litany of life lessons, but this one is spot on:
The best thing that can be done to a problem is to solve it. False. The best thing that can be done to a problem is to dissolve it, to redesign the entity that has it or its environment so as to eliminate the problem.
Remember that next time you’re tempted to solve a problem by throwing more code at it.
Google Workspace Updates: Google Docs will now use canvas based rendering: this may impact some Chrome extensions
We’re updating the way Google Docs renders documents. Over the course of the next several months, we’ll be migrating the underlying technical implementation of Docs from the current HTML-based rendering approach to a canvas-based approach to improve performance and improve consistency in how content appears across different platforms.
I’ll be very interested to see how they handle the accessibility of this move.
I was really chuffed to see some posts of mine referenced in this rather excellent piece about design principles for front-end development.
Want to work with me? If so, come and be a design engineer at Clearleft!
We’re looking for a design-friendly front-end developer with demonstrable skills in pattern-based prototyping and production to join our friendly and supportive team in the heart of Brighton.
Even if this isn’t for you, please spread the word …especially to potential candidates who aren’t mediocre middle-aged white dudes (I’ve already got that demographic covered).