Articles

Taming Data with JavaScript

Processing huge amounts of data on the web is always a back-end job—except when it’s not. Sometimes processing data in the browser via JavaScript makes sense. What are those use cases, and how can we succeed at them? Brian Greig tells all.

Designing for Interaction Modes

To deliver a great user experience, you have to think about interaction modes. But because of pressures, competing priorities, and industry trends, they’re often an afterthought. Andrew Grimes shows you how to make them a more central part of your design process.

var to JIT

JavaScript language designer Kevin Smith completes the “From URL to Interactive” series. He explains how browsers compile and execute our JavaScript, and what happens from the moment we land on the page to when we leave. Understanding these browser processes leads us to write more performant code.

Braces to Pixels

We continue on A List Apart’s four-part “From URL to Interactive” series with Greg Whitworth, a member of the W3C CSS Working Group and the CSS Houdini Task Force. He’ll walk through how CSS is parsed, how values are computed, and what the “cascade” in style sheets actually means. Then we’ll discuss layout, painting, and composition. Brace yourselves, we’re about to drive through a one of our most scenic and winding parts of our journey.

Tags to DOM

In the second installment of A List Apart’s four-part “From URL to Interactive” series, Travis Leithead, former editor of W3C’s HTML spec, walks us through the process of parsing HTML: from how browsers create trees to how the DOM responds to events. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make smarter DOM decisions, reduce time to interactive, and eliminate unintended reflows.

From URL to Interactive

When we think about it, our whole industry depends on our faith in a handful of “black boxes” few of us fully understand: browsers. We hand over our HTML, CSS, JavaScript, cross our fingers, and hope they render the experience we have in our heads. But knowing how they work can really get you out of a jam when things go wrong. That’s why we’ve assembled a handful of incredibly knowledgeable authors to take us under the hood in this four-part series. Join us on this trip across the web, into the often foggy valley between code and experience.

Server to Client

Kicking off the first installment in our “From URL to Interactive” series, Ali Alabbas takes us through the journey of how our code makes it to the browser. In “Server to Client”, he discusses how server connections are made, caching, and how service workers factor into the request and response process. You don’t want to miss this master class from a networking expert; grasping this aspect of how things run under the browser hood is essential to understanding performance.

Writing for Designers

Words matter. Even in something as banal as a form, the words we choose can determine what someone does and what they fail to do. In this excerpt from Writing for Designers, Scott Kubie explains the purpose of prose in a design and why we need to be more intentional with how we use words.