‘Web Development Reading List #121: The Illusion Of Completeness, Client Hints, CSS Subgrids’

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Anselm is a freelance front-end developer who cares about sustainable front-end experiences and ethical choices in life. He writes the WDRL, and is co-founder … More about Anselm ↬

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What’s going on in the industry? What new techniques have emerged recently? Anselm Hannemann is collecting everything that popped up over the last week in his web development reading list 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.

Over the last two weeks, I had the chance to review about eighty job applications for a front–end position. The position requires strong JavaScript knowledge, but it also requires HTML and CSS. And here’s a thing: nearly no one could show off substantial markup skills, not to talk about accessibility.

Although I only had the chance to review their personal websites or GitHub profiles and this might of course not be a full show–off of their knowledge, it assured my lately developed opinion on web developers. Many are not able to choose the right HTML elements, to explain why and how a clearfix works, or what ARIA roles are for, but they can use React and Angular. If you got some spare time over the next weeks, learn semantics and re–read the basics (or specs if you like the challenge) of HTML and CSS from time to time.


  • There’s a lot of discussion currently about the web getting too complex, and some even claim the web is broken. Remy Sharp instead has a different view on the new technologies, options we have today and how we can use them together with our base technology from 25 years ago. The article is best described by Remy’s own words: “Why I love working with the web”.

Concepts & Design


The anatomy of a web app attack
Jack Leonard’s infographic explains the anatomy of a web app attack.

Web Performance


  • pa11y is your new best friend if you want to have automated accessibility testing. It monitors your website and reports accessibility issues. In that, it is similar to Tenon, a commercial SaaS alternative that you don’t need to set up and maintain on your own.
pa11y, automated accessibility testing
pa11y, your new best friend when it comes to automated accessibility testing.


  • Ada Rose Edwards shares how she writes modern ES6 JavaScript code and why she follows the approach to “use const by default, let only where it is required and var to identify code which needs to be refactored”.
  • Since years we use console in our code all the time to debug our applications. Finally, the WHATWG created a specification that standardizes APIs for console debugging facilities.
  • This neat trick for CSS object–fit fallback on Edge (and other browsers) by Primož Cigler explains how you can build an easy, basic fallback for IE11 and MS Edge for object-fit. Actually, as my own polyfill for this is non–functional in Edge, this is a great way to add support for it. And if you really love the property, let Microsoft know with your vote.
  • This short guidance article gives you some of the best resources on how to learn ES6.

CSS / Sass

Work & Life

  • After reviewing a lot of applications in the past days, I can only agree with Kristian Glass here and say: “If you get the chance, always send a cover letter”. It’s your opportunity to say something about yourself and make clear why you apply for the job.

Going Beyond…

  • We have an ongoing problem with growing inequality around the world and a few super rich people (latest numbers say it’s down to 65) have as much money as the poorest 3.5 billion people. If we don’t change anything and do not oblige people to pay their taxes in their own countries or reject trickle-down economics as the World Bank officially declared just recently, this system will break and our own lives are likely to be affected.

And with that, I’ll close for this week. If you like what I write each week, please support me with a donation or share this resource with other people. You can learn more about the costs of the project here. It’s available via e–mail, RSS and online.

Thanks and all the best, Anselm

Further Reading

Smashing Editorial (nl, mrn)