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Smashing Conf Barcelona 2016

We use ad-blockers as well, you know. We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish useful books and run friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself? E.g. upcoming SmashingConf Barcelona, dedicated to smart front-end techniques and design patterns.


Anselm Hannemann is a freelance front-end developer and architect. He curates WDRL — a weekly, handcrafted web development newsletter. Apart from that he helped the RICG, built and organizes the NightlyBuild 2015 conference in Cologne, Germany. He is available for freelance jobs.

Twitter: Follow Anselm Hannemann on Twitter

Web Development Reading List #155: On JSPerf, Client Hints, And Keeping The Balance

As people working in front of a screen all day, we often struggle to find the right balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance alone here, but of how our life that is completely virtual during the day often causes us to not take real life into account.


We tend to forget that our bodies need something else than coding all day. And we need to take care of our fellow human beings in real life as well. Just think about this number: The average US person will spend over 9 hours in front of a screen today. Time to become more aware of how we can keep the balance between the virtual and the real world.


Web Development Reading List #154: Yarn, Deep-Fried Data, And A Guide To Stateful Components

With new frameworks and libraries emerging, the tools we have at hand are constantly changing. But it’s not only our toolkit but also the way we write code that constantly evolves — new CSS conventions are developed all the time and the best practices to write JavaScript change at least every year.

A cat in a rocket — the mascot of Yarn

But then again, we have to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t immediately jump to a new tool just because it’s available, to not rewrite the whole code of a project just because conventions have changed. No project will stop working because you’re using OOCSS instead of ITCSS or Backbone.js instead of React.js. If the project is an ongoing process and will be developed and maintained for another few years, you should evaluate to change tools from time to time, of course. But take your time. Better evaluate first, then reconsider, before you immediately jump on a train from which you don’t know where it’s heading.


Web Development Reading List #153: Slow JavaScript, A Universal Typeface, And Healthy Work Environments

While I was away on vacation, the web development community stayed consistent, and since I’ve been back, the same well-known, long-running discussions about JavaScript, frameworks, and progressive enhancement are full on again.

Noto font

But on the other hand, we also see great new solutions for CSS, simple but efficient JavaScript libraries, and brave people sharing their personal stories from which we all can learn a lot.


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.

Cancel button

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!


Web Development Reading List #151: Microinteraction UX, Feature Policy, And Passport.js

In the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of code. As a freelancer working on multiple big projects with a lot of people, you’ll inevitably see all varieties of code styles. But I also realized how much writing JavaScript changed over the past years.

New password rules

Having learned JavaScript before ES6 was there, a great mentor (Hans Christian Reinl) taught me the most important lesson: Always write clean, understandable code. Avoid ternary operators, declare variables in one place, make functions as simple as possible. Basically things that so many JavaScript style guides also advise. But with the growing adoption of ES6/ES2015, I also saw an increase of code where most of these principles (except for keeping functions small) are ignored.


Web Development Reading List #150: Less Code, GitHub’s Security, And The Morals Of Science

There is a lot to learn this week. It starts with non-technical things like going for a walk to refresh your mind and finishes with how to prevent reverse XSS attacks in forms.


But it doesn’t matter whether you learn how to build self-contained web components using the new specification or to maximize the efficiency of your Angular 2 app or just how you can write less code. What matters is that you keep asking questions and that you try to get better and smarter at your craft.


Web Development Reading List #149: CSS Dynamic Colors, Refactoring CSS, And CSP Hashing

Even though we think everything happens in real-time nowadays, we need patience. While technology has been capable of real-time for long now, the “bottleneck” are human beings. Whether it’s a pull request that’s waiting for review since days or weeks or an email response, we need to keep in mind that delays might happen for a good reason.

An SVG mask on an SVG element

Different people have different priorities, they might be focusing on something else at the moment, or they just take a break. Training patience is an important aspect of mental health, and, in the end, a well-thought-out, not instantly written feedback is better, too. Take your time and let others do the same.


Web Development Reading List #148: CSS Color Syntax Change, Browser News, And Hidden Expectations

I shut down my browser on Wednesday, accidentally having a setting switched on that clears history and all sessions. First, I was sad to have lost many tabs with articles I stored “for later”. At the same time, it felt refreshing, liberating to have a clean browser window with zero tabs open. So my new goal is to start work in the morning with a completely clean browser window at least once a week.

Browsers’ score in terms of HTML5 accessibility.

In other news: I spent several hours fixing broken links this week, and as a result I can’t say how happy I am that and exist to prevent content from disappearing forever. Still, some of the resources I found broken have left forever. So remind yourself about redirecting content.


Web Development Reading List #147: Security Guidelines, Accessible UI Components, And Content-First Design

When working in a team, it’s important to stick to rules. A common challenge is to build all your projects with a similar or the same toolset and coding guidelines. Only yesterday I discussed how we could port over a project that outgrew its initial codebase over the years to a fresh, React.js-based source code.

HTTPS protection

The decision for this wasn’t easy, since we had invested quite a lot of work and money into this project already, and a move to React would require quite some time, too. But since the switch makes sense from a technical perspective and the team is already using React for three other projects, we concluded that this would be a good step to do. It will enable more developers of the team to contribute to the project, to review code and to reduce the shift of technologies in the company. Occasionally, it’s time to re-evaluate your projects and move on.


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