Web Development Reading List #131: Git 2.8, CSS Grids And The Key To Good Code

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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? What insights, tools, tips and tricks is the web design community talking about? 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.

Although it’s April 1st, and people go all crazy making up jokes and spreading hoaxes, I’m sending out this edition to you without any April fools. Instead, I want to challenge you to put more effort, more thoughts into your code.

Instead of blindly following a given path to build the solution with the least effort, what about thinking more about your users? Wouldn’t a lot more users benefit from you spending an additional hour on building a form on your own instead of relying on a third party that involves tracking? Wouldn’t they benefit from a smaller website that doesn’t contain big libraries? Many people and crawling extensions could also benefit from a better document outline. In the end, it’s your product and your work that users see — and I bet you want to be proud of what you’ve just built.



  • What’s the key to good code? It’s not about great algorithms, or that the code is scalable. The key to good code is reducing its cognitive load. Christian M. Mackeprang shares his approach on how to do that easily.
  • “I don’t always test my code, but when I do, it feels better.” But it’s not only about writing tests for your software. It’s also about how to write tests. Because the simpler a test, and the less brain power it needs to be written and to be read, the better it is.

Concepts & Design

Build what matters
Don’t try to foresee what you might eventually need. Build what matters! (Image credit: Jonas Downey)


  • At Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference, the company announced the availability of the Bash Shell on Windows 10 with the next major OS update.
  • Docker has always worked fine on Linux machines but on Windows and OS X there were a couple of annoying issues that made using it very hard. The authors now shipped a beta for Docker for Mac and Windows, a new experience that finally works better with these systems. It does not need VirtualBox anymore, supports proper Volume mounting, better network profile support, and fits the OS X sandbox security model (which was probably the most annoying issue with Docker on Mac). The only drawback? The current sign-up process for the beta requires a 3rd party tracker to be enabled.
  • Do you remember Jenkins, the Continuous Integration server? It’s back with an improved version 2.0. The update has better pipelines, much better git support and integration, a way better user experience with easier configuration pages, and it’s backwards-compatible so that there is no reason not to upgrade from a Jenkins 1.x version to the new one! As an alternative, GitLab now has better Runners that allow it to be used not only as a version control management platform but as a full CI service as well.
  • As a result of recent unpublishing issues on npm, the registry will from now on be stricter about if an author can unpublish a version from it. On the other hand, Nicolás Bevacqua sums up the still remaining security risks that come with using a package manager like npm. Finally, we should not forget that while we’re only talking about npm here, other package managers have at least some of the same issues.



  • So indeed, mass surveillance silences minority opinions, as a new study reveals. And now think about what mass surveillance means: Is it just the governments’ actions or is it also corporate services like advertisers, tracking services, companies like Facebook or Google embedded into websites?


  • You are in your mid-twenties and your vision is 2020 or better. You are not color blind and all the devices you own have a ‘retina’ screen. You are standing in a major city and your internet is fast. Now read on.
  • Microsoft has released CaptionBot at their Build conference. The tool analyzes images for their content and suggests a description of what is seen on the photo. It’s actually quite impressive how good the results work and how this could improve accessibility and help automate processes to provide alternative texts for images.
  • Kitty Giraudel seems to have done quite some research on accessibility lately. Now he has introduced an outline audit tool for websites that lets you verify your document outline regarding proper semantics and accessible content.
CaptionBot in action
Microsoft’s CaptionBot in action.


  • So, one of the best resources to refer to when looking up some Flexbox property is the “Complete Guide to Flexbox” on CSS-Tricks. Now the same concept has been transfered to CSS Grids, making the “Complete Guide to Grid” the resource to remember for the future when this technology is ready to be widely used.
  • How scalable is CSS? And at scale, is CSS the problem or are we, the developers, the problem? What does DRY mean? And how do we define CSS at scale? This essay about scaling CSS sheds some light on these matters.

Going Beyond…

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 email, RSS and online.

Thanks and all the best, Anselm

Further Reading

Smashing Editorial (mrn)