Web Development Reading List #169: TLS At Scale, Brotli Benefits, And Easy Onion Deployments

About The Author

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.

Everyone here can have a big impact on a project, on someone else. I get very excited about this when I read stories like the one about an intern at Google who did an experiment that saves tons of traffic, or when I get an email from one of my readers who now published an awesome complete beginner’s guide to front-end development.

We need to recognize that our industry depends on people who share their open-source code and we should support them and their projects that we heavily rely on. Finally, we also need to understand that these people perhaps don’t want a job as an employee at some big company but remain independent instead. So if you make money with a project that uses open-source libraries or other resources, maybe Valentine’s Day might be an occasion to show your appreciation and make the author a nice present.


  • So here’s something that helps beginners to start with web development and advanced devs to recap some of their knowledge: Oliver James wrote “HTML & CSS Is Hard (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)”, a friendly web development tutorial for complete beginners.
HTML And CSS Is Hard, But It Doesn’t Have To Be
Oliver James’ complete guide to web development covers everything from the absolute basics to Flexbox and responsive images. (Image credit)

Tools & Workflows

  • With the Enterprise Onion Toolkit, you can finally deploy HTTP and HTTPS onion sites at scale. While the project is still in its early days, the tool makes it easy to provide access to your web service via a hidden Tor service, which in some countries can be essential for journalists and activists.
  • Rembrandt.js is an image comparison tool based on node-canvas running on a server or in the client. Great for visual regression testing, for example.


How Etsy Manages HTTPS AND SSL Certificates For Custom Domains
Two Etsy devs share how they manage HTTPS and SSL certificates for custom domains on Etsy. (Image credit)


  • Facebook collects data about you in hundreds of ways, across numerous channels. It’s very hard to opt out, but reading this article by Vicki Boykis on what they collect, you’ll learn to better understand the risks of the platform so you can choose to be more restrictive with your Facebook usage.

Web Performance

Going Beyond…

  • In only 1 1⁄2 months a gigantic crack developed in the Antarctic ice shelf, and it’s likely to break apart in the next few months, setting free about 2,300 square miles of ice into the sea. But the key is not this tiny piece of ice but the much bigger ice shelves that’ll follow. A video captured by the NASA back in November shows the crack in detail.
  • If you haven’t read “Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)” by George Orwell yet, here’s your chance: The entire book is available for free as PDF and Audio versions. I personally recommend it to everyone who is only slightly interested in one of these topics: social change, politics, technology.

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)