This is a really good use-case for cancelling fetch requests: making API calls while autocompleting in search.
Friday, April 20th, 2018
Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
Everything old is new again—sometimes the age-old technique of using a 1x1 pixel image to log requests is still the only way to get certain metrics.
While tracking pixels are far from a new idea, there are creative ways in which we can use them to collect data useful to developers. Once the data is gathered, we can begin to make much more informed decisions about how we work.
Friday, March 2nd, 2018
Just change it
Amber and I often have meta conversations about the nature of learning and teaching. We swap books and share ideas and experiences whenever we’re trying to learn something or trying to teach something. A topic that comes up again and again is the idea of “the curse of knowledge“—it’s the focus of Steven Pinker’s book The Sense Of Style. That’s when the author/teacher can’t remember what it’s like not to know something, which makes for a frustrating reading/learning experience.
This is one of the reasons why I encourage people to blog about stuff as they’re learning it; not when they’ve internalised it. The perspective that comes with being in the moment of figuring something out is invaluable to others. I honestly think that most explanatory books shouldn’t be written by experts—the “curse of knowledge” can become almost insurmountable.
I often think about this when I’m reading through the installation instructions for frameworks, libraries, and other web technologies. I find myself put off by documentation that assumes I’ve got a certain level of pre-existing knowledge. But now instead of letting it get me down, I use it as an opportunity to try and bridge that gap.
The brilliant Safia Abdalla wrote a post a while back called How do I get started contributing to open source?. I definitely don’t have the programming chops to contribute much to a codebase, but I thoroughly agree with Safia’s observation:
If you’re interested in contributing to open source to improve your communication and empathy skills, you’re definitely making the right call. A lot of open source tools could definitely benefit from improvements in the documentation, accessibility, and evangelism departments.
What really jumps out at me is when instructions use words like “simply” or “just”. I’m with Brad:
“Just” makes me feel like an idiot. “Just” presumes I come from a specific background, studied certain courses in university, am fluent in certain technologies, and have read all the right books, articles, and resources. “Just” is a dangerous word.
But rather than letting that feeling overwhelm me, I now try to fix the text. Here are a few examples of changes I’ve suggested, usually via pull requests on Github repos:
- The instructions on the AMP validator page.
- The documentation for Composer, the PHP dependency manager.
They all have different codebases in different programming languages, but they’re all intended for humans, so having clear and kind documentation is a shared goal.
I like suggesting these kinds of changes. That initial feeling of frustration I get from reading the documentation gets turned into a warm fuzzy feeling from lending a helping hand.
Friday, January 5th, 2018
A nice overview of the Payment Request API, which is getting more and more browser support.
Sunday, August 20th, 2017
This is a smart way to queue up POST submissions for later if the user is offline. It’s not as powerful as background sync (because it requires the user to revisit your site) but it’s a good fallback for browsers that support service workers but don’t yet support background sync
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
Ben takes us on a journey inside the mind of a browser (Chrome in this case). It’s all about priorities when it comes to the critical path.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016
A little progress
It works fine although sometimes the experience of uploading a file isn’t great, especially if I’m on a slow connection out and about. I’ve been meaning to add some kind of Ajax-y progress type thingy for the file upload, but never quite got around to it. To be honest, I thought it would be a pain.
But then, in his excellent State Of The Gap hit parade of web technologies, Remy included a simple file upload demo. Turns out that all the goodies that have been added to
XMLHttpRequest have made this kind of thing pretty easy (and I’m guessing it’ll be easier still once we have
I’ve made a little script that adds a progress bar to any forms that are POSTing data.
Feel free to use it, adapt it, and improve it. It isn’t using any ES6iness so there are some obvious candidates for improvement there.
It’s working a treat on my little posting interface. Now I can stare at a slowly-growing progress bar when I’m out and about on a slow connection.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
Here’s an interesting proposal from ppk: use
requestAnimationFrame to gauge how performant a browser in behaving and then enhance accordingly.
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
This is a great explanatory piece from James Bridle in conjunction with Mozilla’s Webmaker. It’s intended for a younger audience, but its clear description of how web requests are resolved is pitch-perfect primer for anyone.
The web isn’t magic. It’s not some faraway place we just ‘connect’ to, but a vast and complex system of computers, connected by actual wires under the ground and the oceans. Every time you open a website, you’re visiting a place where that data is stored.
Monday, June 10th, 2013
A terrific quiz about browser performance from Jake. I had the pleasure of watching him present this in a bar in Amsterdam—he was like a circus carny hoodwinking the assembled geeks.
I guarantee you won’t get all of this right, and that’s a good thing: you’ll learn something. If you do get them all right, either you are Jake or you are very, very sad.
Friday, August 21st, 2009
Since Amazon decided to require signed requests for its API, I'm going to have to use this code to keep Huffduffer and The Session working. Grrrr... cool APIs don't change.
Monday, January 21st, 2008
Easy as Pie Ajax Requests - Create compelling ajax in minutes with simple examples. | Notes from Phazm
This is a good straightforward hands-on explanation of Ajax: succinct and clear.
Tuesday, April 4th, 2006
Want to indicate that something is happening on a web page, like... oh, I don't know... an Ajax request or something? Here's a cornucopia of animated progress indicators.
Friday, March 3rd, 2006
My fellow Brightonian geek, Dom, has written an article about using Perl and Ajax.
Sunday, January 1st, 2006
"...it must degrade well. It must still be accessible. It must be usable. If not, it is a cool useless piece of rubbish for some or many people."
Tuesday, November 29th, 2005
Who knew? The way I do my Ajax is a microformat. AHAH: Asynchronous HTML and HTTP.
Monday, July 25th, 2005
Ajax in The Guardian.
Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
A nice introduction the XMLHttpRequest object by Cameron Adams.
Friday, July 1st, 2005