Web Development Reading List #165: Starting The New Year With Browser News, Container Architecture, And React “Aha” Moments

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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.

Happy new year! I hope you had a good start and can feel positive about what 2017 might bring. As mentioned in the last edition of the past year, I don’t like New Year’s resolutions too much, but I’d like to point you to something that Marc Thiele wishes for this year:

“So my wish then also is, that you reflect and ask yourself, if you want to post the text or maybe even just have another, a second look on the text you are about to post. Maybe you decide, that you don’t post it. Maybe this helps, that less negative posts and emotions are spread.”

By the way, to recall the most important milestones that the web has gone through in the past twelve months, you can visit the Almanac 2016. It’s a yearbook that sums up all the 47 editions of past year’s Web Development Reading Lists.


  • Firefox 52 is scheduled for March 7th this year, and it will bring better font fingerprinting protection. This means that when checking for system fonts, Firefox will only return the fonts that you have whitelisted instead of returning all fonts installed on the operating system.
  • The Windows 10 build 15002 comes with a new Microsoft Edge release. It includes a number of improvements such as a preview of the Web Payments API, Flash content is now blocked by default, TCP Fast Open is now default, too, and support for Content-Security-Policy 2.0 and the WebVR API have also been added.
  • Do you remember or even use the font “Source Serif”? Version 2 is a major step forward. The character set was upgraded from Adobe Latin 3 to Adobe Latin 4 which means nearly double the number of characters and broader language support. The existing characters also got updates and now look even better. Last but not least, Source Serif 2 is completely open- source under the SIL Open Font License.
Source Serif
The open-source font Source Serif got an update and now supports more languages than ever. (Image credit)


  • “As we move our code to CodePen, our writing to Medium, our photographs to Instagram we don’t just run the risk of losing that content and the associated metadata if those services vanish. We also lose our own place to experiment and add personality to that content, in the context of our own home on the web.” — Rachel Andrew in “It’s more than just the words”.
  • In her “Guide to 2017 Conferences”, Sarah Drasner collected a vast selection of web design related events that’ll take place this year. If you can, talk to your boss, select the event(s) you like most and attend them if possible.
  • John Saito shares his thoughts on the importance of designing for internationalization.
  • Chen Hui Jing gives insights into the world of East Asian character emojis. For Western people like me, this is an interesting exploration into foreign languages and how emojis can be different around the world. ㊗️, for example, is a Kanji character meaning “congratulations”.

Concept & Design

The New York Times Redesign
Slava Kornilov and Bohdan Kononets’ concept for a redesign of the New York Times gives valuable insights into editorial design patterns. (Image credit)

Tools & Workflows



  • The current revision of the European Union ePrivacy law tries to protect communication confidentiality, block nonconsensual tracking, and lessen cookie warnings. A step in the right direction to make the web a safer, clearer place. For us developers it’s also great since the annoying cookie warnings are now questioned.

Web Performance




React Aha Moments
Tyler McGinnies shares his React “Aha” Moments. (Image credit)


Work & Life

  • When you work remotely with a team, you will have conference calls from time to time. To make them successful and enjoyable for everyone, make sure to follow Chris Heilmann’s tricks for conference calls: Be on time and stick to the duration, have a meeting agenda and stick to it, avoid unnecessary sounds.
  • Alex Duloz, the head behind The Pastry Box project, has started a new project. “The Human In The Machine” will be a 365 articles in one year project, about how humans define and deal with ‘productivity’.

Going Beyond…

  • Julia Evans on how to ask good questions. Some great considerations we should follow before asking questions to make communication more effective and generally better.

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.

— Anselm

Further Reading

Smashing Editorial (mrn)