Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023
What a fabulous talk by Chris Coyier on the state of web design and development, “Websites are Good Now” at GatsbyConf [starts at 6:00]. He reviews our new advanced state of affairs in typography, imagery, layout, componentry (a new term to me but yes, that’s how we do it now), animation and hosting.
Tuesday, October 18th, 2022
A tweetstorm on tagging by Hillel, with issues I’ve been mulling over myself.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2022
While working on things that aren’t prestigious doesn’t guarantee you’re on the right track, it at least guarantees you’re not on the most common type of wrong one.
Paul Graham, What I Worked On
Wednesday, June 29th, 2022
Reflecting on this nice history of Meteor, the first reactive web framework, I never could build anything with it, though did attend a number of London meetups, because I was seeking reactivity and componentization after building increasingly functional websites. Only once Vue came along did I get the aha moment.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2022
At TidBits Adam Engst points out that there are other professionals using Macs beyond “developers, photographers, filmmakers, 3D artists, scientists, music producers” who may not necessarily need such giant power but could nonetheless do with some improvements.
I remain flabbergasted that the FaceTime cameras in even Apple’s latest Macs are so pathetic. Even the cheapest iPad and iPhone put the newest Mac cameras to shame, and quite a few iPad and iPhone models have Face ID support for authentication. We’re talking about technology that Apple has used numerous times. So why isn’t it in Macs?
You can get an iPad with cellular connectivity, so why not a MacBook? The lack of a cellular option for Apple’s laptops has been a glaring omission for years and is yet another example of how Apple doesn’t acknowledge the needs of mobile professionals.
I hadn’t thought of any of these things, but they are obvious.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022
The kids wanted a Nintendo Switch. I thought — and was advised — a used Wii would be wise. Because kids, we now have both. Ever since my first computer, an Apple //c, your churlish host has considered a gaming console redundant and wasteful. But, like Apple, Nintendo it seems is a universe of excellence into which to dive. Yamauchi No. 10 Family Office is the website of the Nintendo founding family. Cool scrolling, ambitious mission, constant motion, and the music sounds like Son of Jeff Lynne.
Friday, January 28th, 2022
CSS bug still not squashed: In Safari, display:flex does not work on many HTML elements, such as legend. Legend!
Friday, January 21st, 2022
Inverse is a beautifully designed web magazine [should Web be capitalized?], a Joshua Topolsky joint alongside a stable of others that I’ve noticed are designwise a cut above what else is out there — Input, which is similar to Inverse and actually the two seem to unhelpfully overlap — and W, a women’s fashion mag also published by Bustle Digital Group that I normally wouldn’t have noticed but am enjoying the design.
Yet outstanding web artisanship notwithstanding, can a magazine survive if it feels ultimately corporate, which seems a danger when the job title changes from co-founder or Editor-in-Chief to Chief Content Officer, Culture & Innovation?
In Inverse the writing itself feels pretty generic, less tours-de-force by expert than relentless plodding coverage. Article after article appears on a single scroll; you never reach the end of the page, and although this is convenient, I’ve never liked this innovation, I feel overwhelmed and exhausted by it.
While the pages as a whole look great, the fact is I am not reading the articles; the san-serif body text looks like it’s less to be read than looked at. Also, it’s too far to the right on the screen. And there’s a little wobble.
From the case study by web shop Code and Theory, it appears Input and Inverse have been merged onto the same content management system, and Input was Topolsky’s technology mag baby but BDG also acquired science and entertainment site Inverse from elsewhere. No wonder the overlap.
They have a rationale for the infinite scroll:
In a world where scrolling through feeds feels second-nature, we designed Input and Inverse without traditional homepages. Upon landing on inputmag.com or inverse.com, readers see an infinite scroll of stories. Each story offers a snippet—the headline, maybe a quote, or a key stat, along with some information. The reader can then expand that story in the feed to read more, or continue scrolling.
When one story finishes, users scroll right back into the infinite stream of stories.
The stream can also be interrupted by rocks—curated content modules, e-commerce breakers and other fun interactive moments for the reader.
Maybe I’m unrepresentative of what most people like to do on the web, but I think this approch misguided. On an infinite scroll, reader becomes skimmer. Now maybe skimming is what you actually want readers to be doing on your site, not really reading the articles, thereby perhaps seeing and acting more on ads? All well and good, but skimming is less valuable and satisfying than reading an article set in a serif where the page ends when the article ends. If I read a piece, I want to feel I’ve read a piece.
One more thing: none of the subtitles has been informative but neither are they witty, rather they demonstrate that what’s leading is design not content.
Thursday, January 13th, 2022
In Firefox, when CSS’s scroll-snap is turned on, scrolling is broken. Yet the only mention of the problem that I can find is this open bug report at Bugzilla, “Trackpad scrolling gets stuck on containers with ‘scroll-snap-type: x mandatory’” featuring an unambiguous video of the problem. Given that both the Web and laptops are rather popular these days, I’d have thought this problem would have garnered much more attention. For me it has been a showstopper, finally causing me to make Chrome my default browser.
Friday, November 5th, 2021
Vue core team member Ben Hong discusses using Nuxt 2 with Notion. Nuxt is the web dev tool I chose, Notion a major new Web platform. Exciting. Then Notion goes down in the middle of the livestream, handled by Hong with aplomb. Code Zen indeed from this “developer / psychologist hybrid”.
Sunday, September 12th, 2021
Gordon Brander thinks seriously about the Web vis-a-vis mobile.
By now, the web’s network advantage had evaporated. The iPhone’s native apps were internet apps, sandboxed, and talking HTTP, just like a web app. The iPhone was designed for a world that included the web. The web was not designed for a world that included the iPhone.
Friday, July 30th, 2021
Bryan Braun recreated classic Mac screensavers in CSS only! It’s cool that Warp only uses 9 different stars to create that star field. [via Hacker News]
Tuesday, July 13th, 2021
In “How to Structure a Large Scale Vue.js Application”, one piece of advice new to me is to keep a flat
components folder. Author Daniel Kelly lists no fewer than 8 reasons to do so. I’m gonna let this cook, as I have indeed found nested folders sometimes problematic for some of the reasons he lists.
For me the worst two bugbears are that when there are many tabs open, their labels all get reduced to a useless homogenous “index.vue”, and that Sublime Text’s superfast all-project search doesn’t provide links to files so I have to hunt them down in my file tree.
Update: Well I never actually tried it because the file paths don’t look like links, but blimmin’ heck, double-click them and the file opens. Sababa! You’ll get my $80 soon, soon, you Ozzie geniuses.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2021
At CSS Tricks, developer Josh Collinsworth is full of praise for Nuxt which he used to build a hangman game. The article also details how to he made his web app feel like a native app using transitions, vibrations and sounds. And then he discusses how he actually make it an app, explaining the pitfalls of various approaches. Great info.
Thursday, April 29th, 2021
A bit mindblowing: put the browser itself in the cloud: Mighty [Hacker News discussion].
Thursday, April 15th, 2021
Craig Mod reveals the consolations of we the web-literate as he tinkers with his servers. Plus the man walks and writes rather well and is probably tall to boot.
Monday, April 12th, 2021
OK I haven’t actually read this yet but really honestly intend to. Via Robin Rendle on CSS Tricks via Jim Nielsen’s Blog, A Complete Guide To Accessible Front-End Components by Vitaly Friedman in Smashing Magazine.
Thursday, February 18th, 2021
Andy Bell outlines new CSS functionality in Smashing Magazine.
Thursday, December 24th, 2020
The Basecamp fellows have released a new web development paradigm, Hotwire. I don’t quite get it, but with their pedigree and skill as the makers of Ruby on Rails, this could be big.
Monday, December 14th, 2020
Dave Rupert does a nice job (April 2018) listing the pitfalls of card UIs. I’m beginning to think though that for Rupert, a long list of drawbacks is throat-clearing for “I’m going ahead with this.”
Friday, November 27th, 2020
Tuesday, November 17th, 2020
How browsers work by Tali Garsiel.
Wednesday, November 11th, 2020
Head of Learning and Developer Advocate at NuxtJS Debbie O’Brien writes up their dogfooding experience using Nuxt to make the Nuxt web site.
Thursday, August 20th, 2020
The iPhone matters more than anything … it is the foundation of modern life.
Ben Johnson, “Apple, Epic, and the App Store”
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Dave Seminara writes “When Your Favorite Companies Go Woke” in The Wall Street Journal (paywall).
I feel similarly regarding the homepage banners at Node.js (“#BlackLivesMatter”) and Linode (“Black Lives Matter. Linode is committed to social justice and equality.), both of which I rely on for my work. There are substitutes for Linode, but none for Node.
Sunday, July 19th, 2020
Oh my goodness, it’s 2020 and I’ve been working with CSS for pretty much as long as it’s existed and I just learned that z-index does not work unless a position value is declared!
Sunday, July 12th, 2020
A work-in-progress web rendering of Moby Dick by Jason Pamental, with Rockwell Kent’s woodblock illustrations. Glorious!
Sunday, July 5th, 2020
The animated line-drawing illustrations at Ralph Ammer’s blog definitely make me want to read every post!
Poolside.FM, the lovely Mac throwback to 1997.
Ash Kyd built his web site to look and act like Windows 95 — cool!
Thursday, April 23rd, 2020
Friday, February 28th, 2020
In CSS-only fluid modular type scales, Trys Mudford lays out the code for letting type grow appropriately (and uses the Golden Ratio for the steps). Very nice!
And I love the applied musical modular scale, which I’d not seen before, one of those great things that in retrospect seem obvious.
I’ve been fumbling towards all this without stopping to actually systematize it as they’ve done. And they did it here in Brighton, at Clearleft. Kudos.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
My go-to type foundry Hoefler&Co have really stepped up their website game at typography.com, with a thrilling new typeface combination throughout of Idlewild for eyebrows and Ideal Sans for titles, and their rich How We Use Type feature for each font family.
Is RSS coming back?, a topic today at /r/webdev. According to the comments, a) it never went away, b) no.
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
Great thread: What do software engineers who work at a large scale understand that other developers don’t? at /r/programming.
Monday, January 27th, 2020
The inaugural State of SaaS Report.
Tuesday, December 31st, 2019
In trying to improve the performance of an ExpressionEngine-powered web-based system, I came across the following database fields within MySQL query WHERE clauses that therefore should be indexed but aren’t:
- exp_actions: class, method
- exp_categories: cat_url_title
- exp_ce_cache_tagged_items: item_id
- exp_channels: channel_title
- exp_channel_fields: field_name
- exp_extensions: enabled, hook, priority
- exp_fieldtypes: name
- exp_members: in_authorlist, screen_name, username
- exp_menu_items: sort
- exp_modules: module_name
- exp_playa_relationships: parent_is_draft
- exp_plugins: is_typography_related
Every little helps.
Saturday, December 21st, 2019
Smoother CSS shadows by Philipp Brumm. Simple; excellent. [via CSSTricks]
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
For anyone (like me) working on doing the same, see Wenbin Fang’s article “The boring technology behind a one-person Internet company”. Of course the technologies used will differ, but the frankness here is refreshing, the contour of what’s required enlightening.
Monday, September 9th, 2019
Well this is neat: a little CSS hack that shows you 9 levels of elements in your web page for when you have no idea wtf is going on.
You’re a very talented young man, with your own clever thoughts and ideas. Jeffsum, a text placeholder generator of Jeff Goldblum lines.
Friday, July 12th, 2019
Some unconventional wisdom from David C Baker that I’d like to revisit every once in a while: “Why Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) Arrangements May Not Be Ideal”. He concludes: “If I’ve confused you with all this, just concentrate on this one point: retainers and MRR relationships scream hourly work, and you shouldn’t be doing hourly work.” But at least for me at Engaging, the opposite is true: I’ve always billed hourly anyway, and some MRR arrangements I’ve made more recently have freed us from thinking in terms of hours (even though I’m still habitually keeping a log of hours worked).
Monday, June 17th, 2019
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
The Beta for Strapi v3 is out, with such major internal changes that it might well have been Strapi 4. Strapi is the Node-based self-hosted content management system / API generator that I use (though not yet for this site). The migration is quite involved, but for the first time I can remember, a migration like this went off without a hitch and worked first time! I’m very pleased with my choice of Strapi, even wearing the t-shirt. Bravo the Parisians!
Interesting /r/webdev thread: Does real web dev exist? Like the stuff they write all those articles about? The consensus seems to be that the further along the spectrum from web site to web app, the more testing and whatnot becomes worthwhile.
Nice frank piece by Monica Lent, a software engineer in Berlin, about mistakenly believing one is a senior developer.