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Smashing Daily #44: A Dip, Innovation, Time

Lots of great articles in this edition of The Smashing Daily, enough to read for the weekend. Some great thoughts about responsive design (and how to improve it), a write-up of a progressive workflow, some articles about accessibility, a great article about the CSS Object Model, a fascinating article discussing misconceptions about time, stuff about software patents, and much more. Enjoy!

The Responsive Dip1

Here’s a great article by Ben Callahan about the responsive dip, the idea that we are still in the early days of responsive Web design, and that we’re still struggling to get better at it. The key sentence in this article is a sentence I like a lot: “what’s needed is for those involved in the responsive Web creation process, other than front-end devs, to really participate in the conversation“. He’s totally right about that.

The Responsive Dip2

When To Use An ARIA Role3

Should you use ARIA roles on HTML elements that match the ARIA role? The WHATWG specification forbids authors to do so, but Steve Faulkner explains that it is, for now at least, a good idea on certain elements.


Here’s an explanation by Scott Jehl of the progressive enhancement stack that The Filament Group uses. There are some interesting tools in there that might be of good help when you’re developing complex, cross-device Web applications. You could probably do without most of them for less complex projects.

What They Don’t Tell You About Public Speaking5

Here are some practical tips by Zach Holman about public speaking. I especially like his advice to “be fucking excited“—but I miss the advice to disable all possible alerts on your computer, like Growl (I hate Growl), iCal, or whatever else nags you and distracts you.

CSS Object Model6

You’ve probably heard of the Document Object Model (or the DOM), which is used to work with elements in the document with JavaScript. There’s also a thing called CSS Object Model which lets you work with styles. Divya Manian explains how it works, and what it does.

The CSS Object Model7

More Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Time8

If you ever work on an application in which time plays an important role, be sure to read this article by Noah Sussman. There’s an incredible list (79 items) with false assumptions about time in there. Great stuff!

Misconceptions About Time9

The Case Of The Missing Alt Attribute10

The most common HTML validation error is the missing alt attribute. Now, this fact alone wouldn’t be link-worthy, but a missing alt attribute is a serious accessibility problem. Joe Dolson tries to find the reason why so many images are published this way. Has he ever looked at any CMS? No CMS I’ve ever seen includes the clever decision tree he included—far from it. The output of all CMSs I’ve seen is disastrous. Like most problems with mark-up on the Web, CMSs are to blame.

Link Dump #13611

Do you need more to read? Here’s yet another great, eclectic link dump by Blair Millen, with a history of early electronic music, a gradient generator, and more.

Last Click

Defend Innovation12

I believe software patents are crazy, especially the way they are right now in The United States. The Electronic Frontier Foundation started this campaign to try to reform the patent system. Some good ideas are in there. But if it’s up to me, there would be just one rule in this new patent system: 1. There is no such thing as a software patent.

Software Patents Need To Be Reformed13

Previous Issues14

For previous Smashing Daily issues, check out the Smashing Daily Archive15.


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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.

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