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Topic: Code

  • The Cult of the Complex

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    ’Tis a gift to be simple. ALA’s Zeldman bemoans our industry’s current fetish for the needlessly complicated over the straightforward. Escape the cult of the complex! Get back to improving lives, one interaction at a time.

  • The Illusion of Control in Web Design

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    We think of our job as controlling the user’s experience. But the reality is, we control far less than we imagine. And that’s by design: it’s how the web, and the networks that serve it, are supposed to work. ALA’s Aaron Gustafson shows the many ways our medium conspires to break our carefully crafted experiences, and shares solid advice on what we can do about it.

  • We Write CSS Like We Did in the 90s, and Yes, It’s Silly

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    The tools web developers use to build websites have changed dramatically since the 1990s. But when it comes to the craft of writing CSS, Jens Meiert argues, it often seems that we haven’t learned anything over the past 20 years. Meiert discusses why that is and offers his thoughts on how spending more time thinking about the basics can bring the writing of CSS into the 21st century.

  • CSS: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition

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    Weighing in a little over 1,100 pages, The Fourth Edition of CSS: The Definitive Guide is a lot to digest. We’re pleased to offer you this amuse-bouche, of sorts, on compositing and blending.

  • Why Mutation Can Be Scary

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    Unexpected changes in your JavaScript code can be a real headache. When working with objects, it can be even harder to prevent unintended mutation. Zell Liew shows us some tricks (and libraries) to prevent these unintended changes and ensure stability when working with objects.

  • Considering How We Use HTTP/2

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    HTTP/2 is a rough experience on incompatible browsers. Jeremy Wagner explains the true extent of real-world performance problems, and how to adapt delivery of site assets to a user’s connection.

  • Using HTTP/2 Responsibly: Adapting for Users

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    Depending on your audience’s capabilities, a site optimized for HTTP/2 may be detrimental for a segment of your users. Jeremy Wagner shows us how adaptive content delivery can improve site performance caused by incompatible browsers.

  • Learning from Lego: A Step Forward in Modular Web Design

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    It’s time to reexamine the toys in your conceptual toy box. When you see how to make web components modular down to the elements level, you may leave the Russian nesting doll metaphor and start to envision content blocks as Lego bricks. Samantha Zhang calls it a game changer.

  • A Redesign with CSS Shapes

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    At least one set of crude hacks has left the building. With progressive and responsive enhancement—and using new CSS features—we can define how text should flow past a floated element. Eric Meyer explains what An Event Apart recently learned about floating shapes and feature queries.

  • Adapting to Input

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    The rise of mobile devices made us confront the reality that we can’t control the size of the viewport, and we adapted. Now it’s time to face up to another reality: web input modes are proliferating and we have no control over which ones a user has and prefers. Seasoned developer Jason Grigsby has some advice on adapting to the way the web is now.

  • Commit to Contribute

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    Even a very basic contribution to an open-source codebase will turn into more than a one-line change when all is said and done. New developers can be put off by seemingly arbitrary roadblocks when they’ve just worked up the courage to contribute. Remy Sharp has a rundown of some tools that can smooth the way and make novices feel more welcome.

  • Web Animation Past, Present, and Future

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    Despite the rise and fall of Flash on the web, designing with animation has fiercely stirred us for decades. And yet nothing compares to its latest surge of evolution. Rachel Nabors lays out the array of tools and techniques that are fundamentally reframing our ideas about animation, and looks ahead to see where this path is taking us.

  • The Art of the Commit

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    The information you put into a commit message needs to be useful to the people who will read it. Instead of going into too much detail, or worrying about abstract questions like whether a given commit is the release version of a thing, focus on a much simpler story: I just did a thing, and this is the thing I just did. In this excerpt from Git for Humans, David Demaree outlines some best practices for crafting effective commits.

  • No Good Can Come of Bad Code

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    More than a decade after we won the battle for web standards, too much code is still crap. Dr. Web is back to answer your career and industry questions. This time out, the good doctor considers what you can do when your boss is satisfied with third-party code that would make Stalin yak.

  • Let Links Be Links

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    The notion of the web as an application platform has never been more popular. Single-page frameworks like Ember and Angular make it easy to create complex applications that offer richer, more robust experiences than traditional websites can. But this benefit comes at a cost. Ross Penman tells us what we can do about it.

  • Readable Wearables

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    Displays that are more tiny than our lowest-size breakpoints require a more condensed range of type sizes. If you don’t already have in place a typographic system that can absorb the demands of this new context (watches, wearables, digital sticky notes, whatever), now might be the time to consider it. Matt Griffin was ready for anything because his site was simple and built to be future friendly.

  • Pluralization for JavaScript

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    Getting plurals right in localization is a tricky prospect—each language has its own rules, and exceptions within those rules. How can we scale our websites and apps to respond to our global audience? Tingan Ho shows us how MessageFormat lessens some common pain points in the pluralization process.

  • What Will Save Us from the Dark Side of CSS Pre-Processors?

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    To spare ourselves the complexity and tedium of writing CSS, we’ve embraced CSS pre-processors. But we must use them wisely or risk outputting CSS that is weirdly convoluted and just so wrong. Could post-processors save us from the pitfalls of pre-processors? Lyza D. Gardner is cautiously optimistic about their future, but also has a solution we can implement right now to save ourselves from both unchecked pre-processors and unseasoned post-processors.

  • A Vision for Our Sass

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    Sass is a powerful tool in helping us wrangle complex stylesheets. Yet it has its headaches—including troublesome nesting of CSS selectors, code duplication, and tight coupling—that result in messy outputted CSS. Universal standards aren’t a viable answer, as the Sass spec continues to quickly change and grow. Felicity Evans holds that the problem isn’t Sass itself, but the way we use it. In this article, she champions a set of tenets that offers guidelines on how to work with Sass and evaluate new features and techniques.

  • Managing Feature Requests

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    You’re proud of your product, and welcome user suggestions on making it even better. Will you be able to make everyone happy? Should you even aim to accommodate them all? Before you start coding, think about how to prioritize feature requests, and even say no to some.