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Web Development Reading List #117: Storytelling, Security in Devtools and 350ms Tap Delay

What’s going on in the industry? What new techniques have emerged recently? What insights, tools, tips and tricks is the web design community talking about? Anselm Hannemann1 is collecting everything that popped up over the last week in his web development reading list2 so that you don’t miss out on anything. The result is a carefully curated list of articles and resources that are worth taking a closer look at. — Ed.

The end of the year is near and some people are enjoying their well-deserved holidays already. For others, the pressure increases when managers or clients want to finish a project before Christmas. And then, the Christmas and New Year celebrations — so many things to prepare, to buy, to think of. I hope you either belong to the ones who can enjoy their vacation already or that you can stay calm while having a stressful time. Try to take your time with friends and beloved ones and enjoy some moments of silence.

Further Reading on SmashingMag:

News Link

Tools Link

Security Link

Privacy Link

  • This week I read that web analytics services are about to track emotions15. And indeed it’s relatively easy to detect if a smartphone has been thrown (Device Orientation API), if a user clicks angrily on the screen with the mouse. It just hasn’t been done yet.
  • Ibrahim Altaweel, Nathaniel Good, and Chris Jay Hoofnagle repeated a research from 2012 to see how many trackers the TOP100 websites use. They found out that dozens of cookies are set on each site to track users16, fingerprinting methods and other techniques are widely used as well. And over 90% of the data is somehow aggregated by Google, leaving it with such an incredible dataset that should scare you.

Web Performance Link

  • Until now, WebKit and Safari on iOS have a 350ms delay before single taps activate links or buttons to allow people to zoom into pages with a double tap. Chrome changed this a couple of months ago already by using a smarter algorithm to detect that and now WebKit will follow with a similar approach17. The article gives some great insights how browsers work with touch gestures and how browsers can still get so much smarter than they are today.
  • With his last part, Denys Mishunov gives us some great techniques to cover up unavoidable waiting times on websites18 to make it a convenient experience for the users.
An interactive storytelling map using SVG19

An interactive storytelling map using SVG and Canvas.


Accessibility Link

  • Rodey Rehm has published23 a new open source library to enhance your website’s accessibility: ally.js24. It took him months to build this — now he tells you how to properly handle a modal’s focus behavior.
  • Given that most people don’t know how to improve accessibility on their site or application, here are some important basics that are extremely easy to implement25. Next time you build something, consider incorporating those few thingies.

JavaScript Link

Work & Life Link

  • It’s anything but easy to organize an event. Compared to what we can read about web development, there are only few resources that explain what it means to run an event. Marc Thiele now wrote up a few things28 that happen in the background of his events.
  • Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening. The world is changing and it’s only the start29. Our society is moving away from normal employment and classic entrepreneurship models, and there are many more things that change slowly but steadily.

Go beyond… Link

  • Peter Sunde, the founder of pirate bay, has published a few things to think about30. I disagree with a lot of things in the article and really hope that we figure out better ways than letting a country “crash” to make things better, but he definitely has also some points when he says that we keep breaking the internet. I’m optimistic and hope that we together can fix this.

And with that, I’ll close for this week. In case you like what I write, please support me with a donation31 or share this resource with other people. You can learn more about the costs of the project here32. It’s available via E-Mail, RSS and online.

Thanks and all the best,

Footnotes Link

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is a freelance front-end developer and architect and cares about sustainable front-end experiences and ethical choices in life. He curates the WDRL, a weekly handcrafted web development newsletter that thousands of developers love, subscribe to, and donate for.

  1. 1


    here: “Given that most people don’t how to improve accessibility”
    should be: “Given that most people don’t know how to improve accessibility”

    I think.

  2. 3

    And over 90% of the data is somehow aggregated by Google, leaving it with such an incredible dataset that should scare you.

    The web world is just like the real world in a stage where we yet don’t mind that only a very few rule the very most. We should desire more pluralism and have innovation and ideas driven by many more than just the biggest of the biggest. It’s no good thing to have companies and their leaders that are more powerful than most countries in the world and that leave a deep crater on the surface if they go belly up for some reason. Just don’t make it profitable to get bigger and bigger, keeping things medium sized is the best thing.

    • 4

      Anselm Hannemann

      December 19, 2015 2:42 pm

      Otto, sadly it’s true that in the internet it’s just like in the real world. In fact, I think they even mix nowadays, leaving Google much more power in the real world than most of us could imagine.
      And that is what scares me a bit. I believe the web needs to get better at decentralizing data, at having universal, pluggable and independent solutions than everything in the cloud owned by one big company. We are the ones who can change that, yet we fail in so many occasions. I realized over the past weeks how much we rely on 3rd parties (CDNs, Email) often for no reason instead of choosing an independent solution that doesn’t cost more or is more effort to build on.


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