Do us all a favor and stop creating new HTTP 1.x frameworks.
We don’t need more.
We have too many.
…and they are all old news — especially the new ones.
But if you absolutely have to, add some value to the conversation. Value other than one tiny aspect in which your framework is better than all the rest. Offer innovation that moves backend engineering forward in a non-trivial fashion. Write the next chapter, not the next paragraph.
When I talk about evaluating technology for front-end development, I like to draw a distinction between two categories of technology.
Personally, I’m much more interested and excited by the materials than I am by the tools. But I think it’s right and proper that other developers are excited by the tools. A good balance of both is probably the healthiest mix.
As someone who does some web development on the borderline of professionally and as an advanced hobbyist, this distinction is tremendously important for how and why I can afford to hang onto and practice at a reasonable level.
Not exactly, but who can resist writing a "considered harmful" article when you can get away with it?
The real harm is that you can very easily conceal the semantics conveyed by
font-weightdepending on the font that's rendered, which is not always in your control. This all depends on how you define the base weight to which your relative values refer, and (1) whether that base weight is actually available in the rendered font and (2) which value is substituted if it isn't.
You get a webmention, and you get a webmention, and…
I read something depressing last Monday, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
At the end of February, WebAIM published an accessibility analysis of the top one million home pages. The results are, in a word, abysmal.
The research underpinning this sounds just dreadful. Fortunately Ethan has links to some great resources for creating a better start on web accessibility.
Alright! It’s day two of An Event Apart in Seattle. The first speaker of the day is Chris Coyier. His talk is called How to Think Like a Front-End Developer. From the website:
The job title “front-end developer” is very real: job boards around the world confirm that. But what is that job, exactly? What do you need to know to do it? You might think those answers are pretty cut and dried, but they’re anything but; front-end development is going through something of an identity crisis. In this engaging talk, Chris will explore this identity through the lens of someone who has self-identified as a front-end developer for a few decades, but more interestingly, through many conversations he’s had with other successful front-end developers. You’ll see just how differently this job can be done and how differently people and companies can think of this role—not just for the sake of doing so, but because you’ll learn to be better at your own jobs by understanding how other people are good at theirs.
Over the past several weeks I’ve been thinking more and more about productivity solutions, bullet journals, and to do lists. This morning I serendipitously came back across a reply Paul Jacobson made about lab books on a post relating to bullet journals and thought I’d sketch out a few ideas.
I like the lab book metaphor! That’s probably why a notebook-note analogy appeals to me for my productivity tools. Paul Jacobson on .
I’m honestly a bit surprised that no one has created a bullet journal plugin for WordPress yet. Or maybe someone comes up with a bullet journal stand alone product a bit like Autommatic’s Simple Note? Last week after a talk I attended, someone came up to me who had self-published 400+ copies of a custom made bullet journal that they wanted to sell/market. I’ve also been looking at some bullet journal apps, but my very first thoughts were “Who owns this data? What will they do with it? What happens if the company goes out of business? Is there a useful data export functionality?” For one of the ones I looked at my immediate impression was “This is a really painful and unintuitive UI.”
Naturally my next thought was “how would the IndieWeb build such a thing?”
Perhaps there’s a lot of code to write, though I can imagine that simply creating Archive views of pre-existing data may be a good first start. In fact some good archive views would be particularly helpful if one is using a plugin like David Shanske’s Post Kinds which dramatically extends the idea behind Post Formats. This would make tracking things like eating, drinking, reading, etc. a lot easier to present visually as well as to track/journal. One could easily extend the functionality of Post Kinds to create “to do” items and then have archive views that could be sorted by date, date due, tags/categories for easier daily use. Since it’s all web-based, it’s backed up and available almost everywhere including desktop and mobile.
I know a few people like Jonathan LaCour and Eddie Hinkle have been tinkering around with monthly, weekly, or annual recaps on their websites (see also: https://indieweb.org/monthly_recap). Isn’t this what a lot of bullet journals are doing, but in reverse order? You put in data quickly so you can have an overview to better plan and live in the future? If you’re already using Micropub tools like teacup (for food/drink), OwnYourSwarm (for location), or a variety of others for bookmarking things (which could be added to one’s to-do list), then creating a handful of bullet journal-type views on that data should be fairly easy. I also remember that Beau Lebens had his Keyring project for WordPress that was pulling in a lot of data from various places that could be leveraged in much the same way.
In some sense I’m already using my own WP-based website as a commonplace book (or as Jamie Todd Rubin mentions on Paul’s post a (lab) notebook), so how much nicer/easier would it be if I could (privately) track to do lists as well?
Of course the hard part now is building it all…
Additional notes and ideas
I started thinking about some of this ages ago when I prototyped making “itches” for my own website. And isn’t this just a public-facing to-do list? I don’t immediately see a to-do list entry on the IndieWeb wiki though I know that people have talked about it in the past. There’s also definitely no bullet journal or productivity entries, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t build them.
There are a lot of preexisting silos on the web that do to-do lists or which have productivity related personal data (Google notes, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, etc.), so there are definitely many UI examples of good and bad display. For distributed group task management I could easily see things being marked done or undone and webmentions handling notifications for these. I suspect for this to take off on a wide, distributed scale for company-wide project management however, more work would need to exist on the ideas of audience and private or semi-private posts. The smaller personal side is certainly much more easily handled.
As another useful sub-case for study, I’ll note that several within the IndieWeb are able to post issues on their own websites, syndicate to GitHub’s issue queue, and get replies back, and isn’t this just a simple example workflow of a to-do list as well?
Greg McVerry has also mentioned he’s tinkered around in this area before primarily using pre-existing functionality in WithKnown. In his case, he’s been utilizing the related idea of the Pomodoro Technique which is widely known in productivity circles.
I’d be thrilled to hear ideas, thoughts, additional brainstorming, or even prior art examples of this sort of stuff. Feel free to add your thoughts below.
The motivations and struggles behind redesigning my own website
Sure the cobbler’s kids may not have shoes and the plumber’s pipes are always leaky, but when you’re presenting your web development work online, it seems painfully disingenuous to host your content on social silos like Dribble and Medium. What kind of message does that send to clients?! Should they do the same?
I’m glad she’s managing to make some effort to have her own site with a game plan for moving things over.
When I was a Stanford undergraduate in 2012, everyone seemed to be building apps. The sexiest tech startups—Snap, Uber, Facebook—were almost synonymous with the word “app,” and that the world was moving increasingly towards ?...
There’s a valuable lesson in here and it’s something that a lot of app builders don’t even consider.
Some thoughts on entry points to web development today, and my fears about the loss of something that has enabled so many people without a traditional computer science background to be here.
We assume that complex problems always require complex solutions. But sometimes the smarter way to build things is to try and take some pieces away, rather than add more to it.
While creating an animated SVG logo for Indietech.rocks we ran into a strange problem where the SVG would display in some browsers and not in others. The issue is the different ways browsers handle XML — yes SVG is XML! So here is the problem and its solution.
Yesterday, actually ten minutes before I had to leave for Kilburn to give my talk at ignite I had a shocking moment. I found in one of the sub-folders of my vast server a blog that offers cheap OEM software:
You are probably well acquainted with how links looks without any styling at all. That blue. That underline. That's a link in it's purest form. But what if we want to change things up a bit? Perhaps blue doesn't work with your website's design. Maybe you have an aversion to underlines. Whatever the reason, CSS lets us style links just like any other element.
If you’ve ever wanted to see an old lady’s personal anger and rants about the modern web industry turned into a talk, you’ve come to the right place. This is Old Lady Shouts At Clouds to the nth degree.
History of the web
I’m here to talk to you about the single biggest invention in human hi...
Interesting looking talk with slides.
A short video on using tools to search the WordPress core code for filters and actions. Tips and tricks for WordPress development with Github and grep.
A short and useful little tutorial. It’s small stepping stones like these that can lead you down the primrose path of some additional serious hacking.
hat tip: John Johnson