fopenwhen you can write
throwVE. Call that name
fct. That’s German naming convention. Do this and your readers will appreciate it.
I saw Daniel give a talk at Async where he compared linguistic rules with code style:
We find the prescriptive rules hard to follow, irrespective of how complex they are, because they are invented, arbitrary, and often go against our intuition. The descriptive rules, on the other hand, are easy to follow because they are instinctive. We learned to follow them as children by listening to, analysing and mimicking speech, armed with an inbuilt concept of the basic building blocks of grammar. We follow them subconsciously, often without even knowing the rules exists.
Thus began some thorough research into trying to uncover a universal grammar for readable code:
I am excited by the possibility of discovering descriptive readability rules, and last autumn I started an online experiment to try and find some. My experiment on howreadable.com compared various coding patterns against each other in an attempt to objectively measure their readability. I haven’t found any strong candidates for prescriptive rules so far, but the results are promising and suggest a potential way forward.
I highly recommend reading through this and watching the video of the Async talk (and conference organisers; get Daniel on your line-up!).
Cassie and I went to a great Async talk last night all about code readability, which was well-timed because it’s been on our minds all week. Cassie explains more in this post.
The fascinating results of Brad’s survey.
Personally, I’m not a fan of nesting. I feel it obfuscates more than helps. And it makes searching for a specific selector tricky.
That said, Danielle feels quite strongly that nesting is the way to go, so on Clearleft projects, that’s how we write Sass + BEM.
Lesson learned: the discoverable and understandable web is still do-able — it’s there waiting to be discovered. It just needs some commitment from the people who make websites.
An extract from Richard’s excellent book, this is a deep dive into styling tables for the web (featuring some CSS I had never even heard of).
Tables can be beautiful but they are not works of art. Instead of painting and decorating them, design tables for your reader.
(It also contains a splendid use of the term “crawl bar.”)
Great advice on writing sensible comments in your code.
I’ve gotten a little tired of showing up to a Medium-powered site on a non-medium.com domain and getting badgered to Sign Up! or Get Updates! when I’m already a Medium user.
A Chrome extension to Make Medium Readable Again by:
- Keeping the top navigation bar from sticking around
- Hiding the bottom “Get Updates” bar completely
- (Optionally) hiding the clap / share bar
- (Optionally) loading all post images up front, instead of lazy loading as you scroll
Shame there isn’t a mobile version to get rid of the insulting install-our-app permabutton.
Interface is a font for highly legible text on computer screens.
And it’s free!
Here’s a nice little service from Remy that works sorta like Readability. Pass it a URL in a query string and it will generate a version without all the cruft around the content.
A fascinating piece by Eleanor on the typographic tweaking that the Wellcome team did to balance the competing needs of different users.
A handy tool for testing the legibility of different typefaces under all sorts of conditions.
If you insist on having a fixed header on your site, please, please, please add this script to your site. I often use the spacebar to page down so this would be a life-saver.
This looks like a really handy service from Readability: gather together a number of related articles from ‘round the web and then you can export them to a reading device of your choice. It’s like Huffduffer for text.
A cute website that’s a call-to-arms against low-contrast text on the web.
Jackson is gathering data to test on-screen readability. Sign up and join in.
An excellent bookmarklet designed to help you read more easily on the web (by hiding all that filthy, filthy advertising).
A good, if somewhat dispiriting, overview of Artificial Intelligence. (There's some nice typesetting on this page)