A talk from Harry on the whys and hows of refactoring CSS. He mentions the
all: initial declaration, which I don’t think I’ve come across before.
A talk from Harry on the whys and hows of refactoring CSS. He mentions the
Build JS apps responsibly - cover your basics, render strategically and enhance into true apps.
I love this back and forth between Brad and Jonathon. I think they’ve both got some good ideas:
- I agree with Brad that you can start marking up these kind of patterns before you’ve got visual designs.
- I agree with Jonathon that it’s often better to have a generic wrapper element to avoid making assumptions about which elements will be used.
Never let fear get in the way! Don’t be afraid to continue even when things appear to be impossible, even when the so-called “experts” say it is impossible. Don’t be afraid to stand alone, to be different, to be wrong, to make and admit mistakes, for only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
Here’s the full text of Charlotte’s fantastic short talk at the Dot York event last week. I’m so, so proud of her.
A plug-in for Craft CMS for receiving webmentions. I’ll have to tell Charlotte about this (she’s using Craft for her site).
There’s a lot I disagree with here. I don’t think this pattern library process is very elegant or scalable, and it certainly wouldn’t work for me.
But I’m still linking to it. Why? Because I think it’s absolutely wonderful that people share their processes like this. It doesn’t matter one whit whether or not it would work for me.
Frontend development may have gotten a lot more complicated, but the simple premise of sharing what you’ve learned hasn’t.
I couldn’t agree more!
The street finds its own uses for colonial internet practices:
Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network.
A new publication from MIT. It deliberately avoids the jargon that’s often part and parcel of peer-reviewed papers, and all of the articles are published under a Creative Commons attribution licence.
The first issue is dedicated to Marvin Minsky and features these superb articles, all of which are independently excellent but together form an even greater whole…
When the cybernetics movement began, the focus of science and engineering was on things like guiding a ballistic missile or controlling the temperature in an office. These problems were squarely in the man-made domain and were simple enough to apply the traditional divide-and-conquer method of scientific inquiry.
Science and engineering today, however, is focused on things like synthetic biology or artificial intelligence, where the problems are massively complex. These problems exceed our ability to stay within the domain of the artificial, and make it nearly impossible for us to divide them into existing disciplines.
This essay proposes a map for four domains of creative exploration—Science, Engineering, Design and Art—in an attempt to represent the antidisciplinary hypothesis: that knowledge can no longer be ascribed to, or produced within, disciplinary boundaries, but is entirely entangled.
The designers of complex adaptive systems are not strictly designing systems themselves. They are hinting those systems towards anticipated outcomes, from an array of existing interrelated systems. These are designers that do not understand themselves to be in the center of the system. Rather, they understand themselves to be participants, shaping the systems that interact with other forces, ideas, events and other designers. This essay is an exploration of what it means to participate.
As our technological and institutional creations have become more complex, our relationship to them has changed. We now relate to them as we once related to nature. Instead of being masters of our creations, we have learned to bargain with them, cajoling and guiding them in the general direction of our goals. We have built our own jungle, and it has a life of its own.
A fascinating insight into some of Tumblr’s most popular accounts:
Some posts get more than a million notes—imagine a joke whispered in biology class getting a laugh from a city the size of San Francisco.
It’ll be a real shame when Tumblr disappears.
That’s “when”, not “if”. Remember:
In 2013, Yahoo bought Tumblr.
This is a really good primer on all the pieces that make up the Houdini approach to CSS—giving authors access to low-level APIs for rendering.
As is often repeated here, it’s still early days and caution is advised, but it’s still a good idea to wrap your head around what’s coming down the standards pipe.
There’s even more specs in Houdini’s list of drafts, but the future of those is rather uncertain and they are not much more than a placeholder for an idea at this point. Examples include custom overflow behaviors, CSS syntax extension API, extension of native scroll behavior and similar ambitious things that allow you to screw up your web app even worse than ever before. Rejoice!
The slides from Calum’s presentation at Front-end London.
I invite you not just to follow along here as I expand into topics beyond design and technology, but to start your own personal blog up again if you’ve been neglecting it for a while. I’m really interested in the things you are passionate about. I want to learn from you.
I got a little verklempt reading this.
Well, this is rather lovely!
I nodded along with host Jen Simmons and guest Jeremy Keith saying some very smart things about the web and its roots as the El train cut across Philadelphia. But at the 48-minute mark things got weird, because Jen and Jeremy basically started writing my column for me while I listened.
Read on for some great advice on conquering your inner critic.
Harry packs a lot of great tips and tricks into one short video about performance troubleshooting. It’s also a great lesson in unlocking some handy features in Chrome’s developer tools.
A look at detecting, pinpointing, measuring, and fixing rendering performance issues.
You read a lot and like the idea of writing. You know the best way to get better at writing is to write, so write!
This is a wonderful, wonderful description of what it feels like to publish on your own site.
When my writing is on my own server, it will always be there. I may forget about it for a while, but eventually I’ll run into it again. I can torch those posts or save them, rewrite them or repost them. But they’re mine to rediscover.
This is the best moment to write a blog post:
I just had my responsive images epiphany and I’m writing it all down before I forget everything.
Writing something down (and sharing it) while you’re still figuring it out is, in my opinion, more valuable than waiting until you’ve understood something completely—you’ll never quite regain that perspective on what it’s like to have beginner’s mind.
We become obsessed with tools and methods, very rarely looking at how these relate to the fundamental basics of web standards, accessibility and progressive enhancement. We obsess about a right way to do things as if there was one right way rather than looking at the goal; how things fit into the broader philosophy of what we do on the web and how what we write contributes to us being better at what we do.
The web – by its very nature – foregrounds the connections between different clusters of knowledge. Links link. One article leads to another. As you make the journey from destination to destination, all inevitably connected by that trail of links, you begin to tease out understanding.
It’s this drawing together, this weaving together of knowledge, that is the important part. Your journey is unique. The chances of another pursuing the same path, link by link (or book by book), is – statistically – impossible. Your journey leads you to discovery and, through reflection, comprehension. You see the connections others haven’t, because your journey is your own.
There’s something so beautifully, beautifully webbish about this: readings of blog posts found through a search for “no one will ever read this.”
Listen to all of them.
Two-thirds of the way through our 100 days project, Batesy takes stock of his journey so far.
(I should probably mention that I love each and every one of the pieces of hand lettering that he’s done …talented bastard.)
It’s not about technology, performance and APIs – it’s about people.
Every single word that Lyza has written here speaks to me so, so much.
I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m nervous about messing up, but I keep doing this week after week because it feels important.
Get out of my head, Lyza!
Grant, like Emma, has recently started blogging again. This makes me very, very happy. And he’s doing it for what I consider to be all the right reasons:
But this is mostly a place for me to capture my thoughts, and an excuse to consider them, and an opportunity to understand them more fully.
The Indieweb approach has a lot in common with Ev’s ideas for Medium, but the key difference is that we are doing it in a way that works across websites, not just within one.
Charlotte’s opening remarks at the most recent Codebar were, by all accounts, inspiring.
I was asked to give a short talk about my journey into coding and what advice I would give to people starting out.
By far the creepiest type experiment I have ever seen.
It will come as no surprise that I agree with every single word that Tim has written here.
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!
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.
I’ve said it before: if your client-side MVC framework does not support server-side rendering, that is a bug. It cripples performance.
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.
A cheap’n’cheerful way of monitoring uptime for domains.
Angry, but true.
Don’t lock yourself into a comprehensive technology that may just die within the next few months and leave you stranded. With progressive enhancement you’ll never go wrong. Progressive enhancement means your code will always work, because you’ll always focus on providing a minimal experience first, and then adding features, functionality, and behavior on top of the content.
Four different techniques for vertical centring in CSS, courtesy of Jake.
My name is Jeremy and I am a boring front-end developer.
A really handy bit of code from Aaron for building a robust file uploader. A way to make your web-based photo sharing more Instagrammy-clever.
But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs.
There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.
How computers work:
One day, a man name Alan Turing found a magic lamp, and rubbed it. Out popped a genie, and Turing wished for infinite wishes. Then we killed him for being gay, but we still have the wishes.
Then we networked computers together:
The network is ultimately not doing a favor for those in power, even if they think they’ve mastered it for now. It increases their power a bit, it increases the power of individuals immeasurably. We just have to learn to live in the age of networks.
We are all nodes in many networks. This is a beautiful description of how one of those networks operates.
If you enjoy writing, or want to enjoy writing, just do it. You’ll probably worry that you have nothing to say, or that what you write is terrible, or that you couldn’t possibly write as well as Neil Gaiman. But silence those voices, get your head down and hit publish on something. Anything. And then do it again. And again.
Jacqueline Currie is running Robotics/Bioengineering/Computing workshops for girls (ages 6-16) this Saturday at the University of Brighton.
I don’t work in the tech industry. I work on the Web.
I like the way Aaron thinks. I also like the way he makes.
Great suggestions from Dave for podcasters keen on allowing easier sharing.
Oh, how I wish Soundcloud would do this and be less of an audio roach motel!
David Cole shares the ideas for projects he would like to develop further, but probably never will. I like this a lot (and there are some great ideas in here).
Alas, it turns out that it’s reliant on user-agent string sniffing. I guess that’s to be expected: this isn’t something that can be detected directly. Still, it feels a little fragile: whenever you use any user-agent sniffing tool you are entering an arms race that requires you to keep your code constantly updated.
Good luck getting that script updated for the thousands of sites and applications, you say to yourself, where it’s laying dormant just waiting to send devices the wrong content based on a UA substring.
Yes! Yes! YES!
Tom is spot-on here: you shouldn’t be afraid of writing about yourself …especially not for fear of damaging some kind of “personal brand” or pissing off some potential future employer.
If your personal brand demands that you live your life in fear of disclosing important parts of your life or your experience, the answer is to reject the whole sodding concept of personal brands.
Do things I write about my personal life threaten my personal brand? Perhaps. Are there people who wouldn’t hire me based on things I write? Probably. Do I give even a whiff of a fuck? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway.
A good history lesson in rendering engines: KHTML, WebKit, and now, Blink.
Some cautionary tales of over-engineering solutions before doing some quick user-testing to establish what the real problems are.
It’s a pleasant delusion to believe that all our problems require hard solutions.
This is a great initiative. I’m going to learn a lot from it. I hope that I might even be able to contribute to it sometime.
The latest Clearleft product will be like having an intensive set of discovery, collaboration, and exploration workshops in a box. Perfect for startups and other small businesses short on time or budget.
It starts in Spring but you can register your interest now.
I heartily concur with Luke’s call for sharing of data:
If you’ve had success with a responsive design, my plea to you is to please share what you’ve learned.
I’m going to see if I can get some Clearleft clients to open up.
If you’re coming along to the Responsive Day Out and you’ve got some tech books you no longer need, bring them along. We’ll collect them and distribute them to schools.
I heartily concur with Chris’s sentiment:
I wish everyone in the world would blog.
Oh, my! This excellent, excellent post from Anil Dash is a great summation of what has changed on the web, and how many of today’s big-name services are no longer imbued with the spirit of the web.
Either you remember how things used to be and you’ll nod your head vigorously in recognition and agreement …or you’re too young to remember this, and you won’t quite believe that is how things worked.
This isn’t some standard polemic about “those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!” I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They’re amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they’re based on a few assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.
A lovely new service from Mike Stenhouse: install the bookmarklet and then when you come across a website with a nice combination of fonts, you can save a snapshot of the page (and its fonts) for later perusal. You can then browse those fonts on Typekit, Fontdeck, MyFonts or Google Fonts.
Laura explains the problems with hiding content for small screens, and uses this as an opportunity to elucidate why you should blog, even if you’re think that no-one would be interested in what you have to say:
The point I’m trying to make is that we shouldn’t be fearful of writing about what we know. Even if you write from the most basic point of view, about something which has been ‘around for ages’, you’ll likely be saying something new to someone. They might be new to the industry, you might just be filling in the holes in someone’s knowledge.
This looks handy: a video-sharing service designed specifically to work with Silverback
A list of open device labs around the world (mostly Europe).
I’m trying to figure out which forthcoming sci-fi work this guerrilla marketing site is promoting—featuring customised shoes from bio-engineered stingray—but I’m not having any luck.
This starts out a bit hand-wavy with analogue nostalgia, but it wraps up with some genuinely good ideas for social software.
Thoughts on artificial intelligence, computation and complexity.
More on View Source, this time from Bruce.
The Web has thrived on people viewing source, copying and pasting, then tweaking until they get the page they want.
Now there’s a communal device testing lab in Malmö, Sweden too.
Jessica’s doodles are quite lovely.
A heartbreaking article about just how badly Yahoo fucked up with Flickr. It’s particularly sad coming out right as the Flickr devs roll out an improved uploader and a more liquid photo page …but it seems like band-aid development at this point.
Cute. I gave Dan some advice. He made it look all pretty.
An interview with George Dyson, whose next book—Turing’s Cathedral—sounds like it’ll be right up my alley.
Neal Stephenson speaks at Solve For X on the relative timidity of scientific (and science fictional) progress in our current time.
An acid test for mobile browsers. Point your device at rng.io and it will report on how much or little mobile shininess is available.
There’s something zen-like about these banal stories of celebrity encounters.
I had exactly the same resistance to Instagram as Dan and I had exactly the same Yuletide conversion.
Rachel tells the tale of how she came to be the splendid web worker she is and finishes with some advice for up-and-coming workers of the web:
Make 2012 the year you go out and do it.
The maker makes: on design, community, and personal empowerment – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
This. This is why I love the web.
Not only does the web make publishers of those willing to put in the work, it also makes most of us free sharers of our hard-won trade, craft, and business secrets. The minute we grab hold of a new angle on design, interaction, code, or content, we share it with a friend — or with friends we haven’t met yet.
This handy matrix shows the effect of different -webkit-font-smoothing setting on various text combinations (serif/san-serif light/dark, etc.).
A joint effort by the Tau Zero Foundation and the British Interplanetary Society to research the design of an interstellar spacecraft.
Insanely in-depth look at how browsers work, right down to the nitty gritty. You’d think there’d be a lot of engineering talk, but actually a lot of it is more about linguistics and language parsing.
A swear word a day, typeset.
This could be a handy little service for sharing locally-hosted sites.
A great piece about the changing nature of content ownership and distribution. And now I share it with you, validating its central premise.
This is wonderful stuff: a long-term project to track the performance of high-traffic sites over time: oodles of lovely data and some quite shocking stats.
This may be one of the best pecha kuch— I mean, Ignite presentations I’ve ever seen.
Don Norman bemoans the seemingly-inevitable direction that the internet is taking; from an open system of exchange to a closed, controlled broadcast channel. I share his fear.
The New York subway schedule converted into sound by treating each line as a string.
A site dedicated to the principle of homesteading your data.
Luke unveils his new service: a way for people to share their collections of things.
James Bridle propsed Open Bookmarks during a presentation at Tools of Change in Frankfurt today: "Open Bookmarks is not a thing, it’s a proposal, a flag in the ground. We need to agree on a way of sharing and storing annotations and bookmarks, reading attention data and everything around the book: that aura."
An API for Turing test questions.