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Smashing Conf New York

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Web Development Reading List #152: On Not Shipping, Pure JS Functions, And SameSite Cookies

This week’s reading list consists of a lot of little, smart details that you can use on websites. From tweaking the user’s reading experience during page load to pure JavaScript functions and verifying the integrity of external assets. And finally, we see some articles on thinking differently about established working habits — be it working on AI without data or the virtue of not shipping a feature.

Please note that I’ll be on vacation for the next four weeks, so please don’t expect any new Web Development Reading List before October, 7th. Enjoy September, your work, your life!

Further Reading on SmashingMag: Link

General Link

  • Jason Zimdars explains why not shipping a feature can be a virtue5. An article about hidden costs and why shipping does not equal success.
  • While many think Apple isn’t in the Artificial Intelligence game, this exclusive look gives some insights6 into why Apple handles things differently. An interesting read that reveals how Apple tries to do Artificial Intelligence with less user data and without tracking you — contrary to the industry’s big players.
Cancel button7
Not shipping can be a virtue8. Jason Zimdars shares how one of the most important features he ever designed for Basecamp didn’t make it into the product. (Image credit: Jason Zimdars9)

Concept & Design Link

  • The Web Methodology Project10 is a fresh guide to building web projects, and even though it’s still a work in progress, it already looks very useful. So keep an eye on it.

Tools & Workflows Link

  • Google’s Closure Compiler is one of the best tools out there to compile JavaScript, but so far has only been available as a Java platform tool. Now, the team released a JavaScript version of Closure Compiler11 designed to run in Node.js environments. Available on GitHub12 or npm13.

Security Link

Accessibility Link

Illustration of a person being left behind as travellers speed away in a futuristic ship18
Don’t leave your users behind. Mischa Andrews shares thoughts on how we can make the web more accessible19. (Original artwork by Adam Van Winden20)

JavaScript Link

CSS/Sass Link

  • Michael Scharnagl shares some neat techniques to reduce content shifting during page load23 to ensure a smooth reading experience for users. By setting intrinsic ratios for media, font-size-adjust, or new techniques such as scroll anchoring, you can improve the situation enormously.

Work & Life Link

And with that, I’ll close for this week. If you like what I write each week, please support me with a donation25 or share this resource with other people. You can learn more about the costs of the project here26. It’s available via email, RSS and online.

— Anselm

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

    Thanks for another great WDRL!
    The Apple-AI-article is a very interesting read, really cool to get such a rare insight into Apple. Enjoy your holiday :)

  2. 2

    Four weeks?! What kind of insanity is this? Who gets that much vacation (plus, this isn’t the first time he’s gone on vacation…)? I get that this is Norway, but we here in Canada and the US are lucky to get *two* weeks, and I had a hard time even getting management to let me use it.

    • 3

      By law full-time employed people get 20 days of vacation in Germany, many employers grant more than that. Employers are not permitted to prevent employees from taking their vacation (without very good reason – understaffing not being one). However, employers may restrict the time and duration employees can take their time off.

      While it’s not extremely common to take vacations of more than 14 days at a stretch, it is possible. It depends on the company you work for.

      In some cases – especially in bigger companies with work council – employees are forced to take their vacation in order to comply with the law and individual contracts.

      As far as I know you can’t get financial compensation for untaken vacation in Germany – but you can in Switzerland.

      As for freelancers, Anselm already said: there is no vacation. You don’t work, you don’t get paid.

  3. 4

    Anselm Hannemann

    October 2, 2016 2:11 pm

    Clinton, as you might be aware, I’m a freelancer. This means I can work as much as I want and need to and I can take as much vacation as I can/want. However, please note that vacation here means unpaid leave so when I take four weeks off, this means I’m not getting any cent from anyone in that time.
    For employees in Germany, one gets at least 20 work-days, meaning four weeks paid vacation by your employer per year. Many offer to take more vacation though.

    I think I don’t need to make an excuse here to take unpaid vacation, but let me explain you something. I believe in taking as much vacation as a person needs to work productively. There’s nothing more stupid than having an employee sitting in the work room getting paid for not being productive. Their time sitting around would be spent way better if they could relax, do their own stuff instead of sitting in the office. A few companies around the world have started to realize this fact and embrace open vacation policies, with some even enforcing at least four weeks off for each of their employees but sadly, too many employers have not yet realized this.

    Also please note that writing the WDRL is not my job but a side project where I collect some donations to cover at least some of my expenses and work-time on it.

    I hope you’ll get the luck to get a job where you get as much vacation as needed in future. Until then, I hope your job is acceptable and not too stressful so your body and mind doesn’t burn out too fast with so little vacation time.

    All the best,


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