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Smashing Daily #31: A Pedal, A Library, An Opinion

In this edition of The Smashing Daily: an alternative opinion on learning how to code, some CSS3 selectors, some handy things about Firefox, an incredible article about responsive design and text, a hardware pedal for Vim nerds, and much more. Enjoy!

Please Don’t Learn to Code1
Everybody should learn how to code, an opinion you hear more and more these days. Jeff Atwood thinks this is as ridiculous an opinion as saying that everybody should learn plumbing. With ridicule aside, there are some great insights on coding in this article. He rightly states that the goal should not be knowing how to code but knowing how to solve problems. Knowing how to code might help, but it’s definitely not the ultimate solution: I know plenty of good programmers who make the wrong decisions all the time (and no, I’m not talking about you!).

Should everyone learn plumbing?2

Here’s a list of tools you can use in your Web development process (focused on Firefox, but some of these tools can be used in other browsers, too).

CSS3 Substring Matching Attribute Selectors4
CSS3 selectors have great names (they may sound a bit like job titles you find on business cards for Very Important Corporate Consultants™). But in contrast to job titles, CSS3 selectors actually do make sense. Here’s an article about the CSS3 Substring Matching Attribute Selectors—essential tools for styling content generated by CMS’s.

Fluid Type5
And another excellent article by Trent Walton about responsive design, with a focus on typography: How do you keep the ideal amount of characters on a line with all resolutions? How wide should your website be? How big can your font be? (He uses 24px for body text! Yes, everybody should be doing that!). And he wonders what to do with panoramic viewports. A definite must read for all designers.

About type and responsive design6

The new Reset Firefox feature is like magic7
People often complain about Firefox being slow (me too). There’s a new “Reset Firefox” button on the about:support page that might easily solve this issue. Beware though: it removes all your installed extensions and it resets all your preferences… yes, I tried it, and I’m not especially happy with it since I didn’t really have any issues… hahaha (but it can be undone with the profile manager8).

The Web Developer Toolbox: Raphaël9
One of these days you’ll probably need to work with vector graphics on a new website. There is also the probability that you still have to support some ancient browsers like IE8. In that case, explains Jeremie Patonnier, it makes good sense to use the Raphaël library which makes working with SVG pretty easy (if you know some JavaScript).

About Raphaël10

User Statistics—People with Disabilities11
How many people benefit from our attempts to make websites accessible? The simple answer is everybody. But there’s also a more exact answer—numbers—which John Foliot offers in this article. For instance, did you know that one out of four Americans have a vision difficulty?

Mozilla Hacks Weekly, June 8th, 201212
Do you need more to read? Here’s a small collection of interesting links collected by The Mozilla Developer Engagament Team.

Last Click

Vim, one of the most powerful text-editors out there, has two different modes: Normal Mode (for entering commands) and Insert Mode (for inserting text). Some people dedicate their entire life to getting rid of modes14. Others, like Aleksandr Levchuk, dedicate a small portion of their life to creating this vim-clutch: a hardware pedal that switches between the two Vim modes. Excellent!

A vim pedal15

Previous Issues16

For previous Smashing Daily issues, check out the Smashing Daily Archive17.


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Vasilis van Gemert is the Principal Front-end Developer at Mirabeau in The Netherlands and a board member of Fronteers. His aim is to close the gap between design and (front-end) development. He believes the excess of knowledge he has can be better used by others, by more creative and smarter people. You can follow him on Twitter.

  1. 1

    The pedal is so amazing :D


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