Our markup too often remains a snarl of
divs, our CSS a chaos of classes. Tim Baxter urges us to move beyond that. We can use real objects now instead of abstract representations. We can write CSS to support our markup instead of the other way around, and both can be more semantic and meaningful. The browser support is there; the standards are in place. Only habit is stopping us.
The dog days are upon us—but instead of giving up in the summer swelter, take heart! We’ve got an extra-special reading list of bright, insightful brainfood. ALA’s third annual summer reader explores what’s been on the web industry’s mind lately, from accessibility to performance, from CSS techniques to web type, from mentorship to more collaborative approaches. It’s a list as cool and fancy as a watermelon-basil popsicle. Yeah, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Kick back, chill out, and get to reading.
Media queries have been the go-to tool in building responsive sites, allowing us to resize and recombine modules to suit multiple contexts, layouts, and viewports. But relying on fixed viewport sizes can quickly twist stylesheets into Gordian knots. We still need a future-friendly way to manage responsive CSS. Mat Marquis explores the problem and the progress toward the solution—and issues a rallying call.
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.
For some, Facebook’s Instant Articles is a sign that the traditional web stack is incapable of giving users a first-class reading experience. But the sluggish performance of the web isn’t due to an inherent flaw in the technology. That particular problem originates between the seat and the keyboard, where builders make choices that bloat their sites. For Mark Llobrera, Instant Articles is a sign that we need to prioritize performance like we actually mean it.
Sometimes, to make change happen, there has to be shouting. Other times, the shouting has to stop to allow change to happen. Right now we need to be talking—and listening—to each other, in our industry as well as in society. So why is it so hard to get these conversations going? Well, there’s the genuine guilt and anger that makes this super uncomfortable. On top of that, could it be we often lose our nerve at the prospect of feeding the indignation of the ALL-CAPS side of the internet? WAKE UP PEOPLE!
How do web standards become, well, standard? Although they’re often formalized through official standards-making organizations, they can also emerge through popular practice among the developer community. If both sides don’t work together, we risk delaying implementation, stifling creativity, and losing ground to politics and paralysis. Jory Burson sheds light on the historical underpinnings of web standardization processes—and what that means for the future of the open web.
A perusal of the article titles in the seasonal magazine 24 ways shows how the things we’ve needed to learn and keep up with have changed since 2005. Amid all this change, one thing that remains evergreen is the generosity of web people in sharing their knowledge.
One of the most meaningful and lasting ways we can impact the future of the web is through the values and attitudes we instill in the next generation of web workers. Through informal mentoring, classroom outreach, internships, and more, we can offer support and opportunities to those new to digital professions. Georgy Cohen suggests practical ways to connect with students and welcome them wholeheartedly into the web community.