Web Development Reading List #137: The New Let’s Encrypt Client And SSH Shortcuts

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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.

This week reminded me again of how refreshing attending a conference can be. As mentioned, I was at beyondtellerrand and, apart from meeting new people, I mostly enjoyed the inspiration I got from listening to the great talks.

I realized how I might be able to solve a few things that had led to me being unhappy with my work in the past. My trying-to-change-everything-at-once strategy always failed, and seeing that some people just change small things and succeed, I recognized that this is what I want to try over the next months. And I’m happy that I don’t need to do this alone but have some friends who spent nearly the entire Monday night talking with me about how to do more meaningful work.

Big thanks to all people doing such events and to all of you who listen to me and who talk with me about all the topics that I feel are important! ♥

Tools & Workflows

  • Butteraugli is a project that estimates the psychovisual similarity of two images. Y’all likely know that there are very different results from app to app if you use for example a JPEG-compression of 65 — in one app this looks still perfectly fine while others already create unbearable artifacts. Butteraugli tries to solve this by creating a standardized comparison of two images and even claims to work better than SSIM.
  • Do you know what to do when your SSH connection freezes? There’s actually a simple solution for this: Press [enter], then ~, followed by a . to send an escape sequence to your local SSH client to terminate the connection.
Simple shortcuts help you close a frozen SSH connection properly.
Simple shortcuts help you close a frozen SSH connection properly.


  • The Let’s Encrypt client is dead. It was replaced by its successor certbot which is a better, more compatible tool than the initial one. Read here what has changed and why this has been done.
  • GlobalSign has created a client-side PKI implementation to make certificates more secure. The open-source JavaScript library pkijs implements the formats that are used in PKI applications like signing, encryption, certificate requests, OCSP, and TSP requests/responses. It is built on WebCrypto (Web Cryptography API) and requires no plug-ins. And now, CloudFlare has built Origin CA with it to make it easier to secure the connection between CloudFlare and the origin server.
  • Sarah Jeong shares the problems with security on computers and the internet affecting your life through a lack of security in modern banking.
With Origin CA you no longer need to go to a third-party certificate authority to protect the connection between CloudFlare and your origin server.
With Origin CA you no longer need to go to a third-party certificate authority to protect the connection between CloudFlare and your origin server. (Image credit)

Web Performance

  • Do you remember when Facebook researched the efficiency of the browser’s cache? Patrick McManus now made a reference implementation in Firefox to improve the situation by adding a new directive in the Cache-Control-header: immutable. It indicates that the response body will not change over time and is complementary to the lifetime cachability expressed by max-age. Thus, the browser will assume that, if not expired, it’s unchanged and should not be revalidated. The goal is to land support in Firefox 49 and tests have shown that this will make a big difference.
  • Alex Russell wrote up why Service Workers are about more than just an offline experience but also about providing reliable performance.


Work & Life

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)