Special guest Andrew Betts of the W3C Technical Advisory Group joins the show to discuss Google AMP: how it works, whether we should use it, and if it’s a threat to the open web and to society overall?
Tagged with “development” (344)
We’re joined by Phil Hawksworth to talk about the benefits of static sites as well as work through some of the objections people often have to using a static site in 2018.
Unfinished Business: Art directing for the web, with Dan Mall — Stuff & Nonsense, product and website design North Wales
I’m currently writing a hardboiled web design book about Art Directing for the Web, so in this season of the Unfinished Business podcast I’m discussing art directing with my guests who are some of the most experienced art directors and designers working on the web today. This week I talk about art direction with Super Friendly, Dan Mall.
Creative director, advisor, designer, developer, author (Pricing Design), speaker, mentor, musician, and entrepreneur (SuperFriendly, SuperBooked) Dan Mall is Jeffrey Zeldman’s guest.
Published Mar 15, 2018
John has been building for the web since the early 90’s. With his timeless article, The Dao of Web Design, his book, Developing with Web Standards, and as co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, John has made a massive impact on the lives of designers and developers the world over.
Time Stamped Show Notes
0:51 – John came to the web from a computer science and software engineering background.
1:14 – In the early nineties, John developed a hypertext knowledge system. Whilst considering his options on how best to distribute the software, he realised that the internet would be a great fit. No publisher required, and no tiny royalties!
1:43 – At the beginning, John thought the web was a fad.
2:08 – The web was officially launched in 1991 but received a lot of criticism at the time. Users complained that links were one-directional, and that there was no centralised hub to see the links between documents. In fact, a paper proposed by Tim Berners-Lee (the man considered to be the inventor of the web) was rejected!
2:58 – What people initially saw as weaknesses of the web, actually turned out to be its strengths. One “weakness” was the fact that everything was freely available to everybody; even people who are not software engineers or programmers.
3:31 – Once John realised the power of the web, he started to develop courses, and CSS tools, training, and materials. In more recent years, his efforts have been focused on organising conferences where he helps “amplify the voices and ideas of other people”.
4:54 – John is interested in the way humans interact with computers and how this will evolve over time. He wants to see the current paradigm of “personal computing” broken down and become less text and screen-based.
7:43 – The idea of a computer as a bunch of apps with various features will change; our interactions will become much more contextual and unique to our individual conditions. Computing will become more and more a part of our everyday life. John gives two examples – cochlear implants, and technology that can predict the onset of a psychological episode.
11:53 – “Debugging is a black art.”
12:57 – John tells the story of a single missing character in Fortran code and how it lead to an unmanned space shuttle exploding!
13:47 – When deciding what to put where on his daily todo list, John considers the task’s importance, as well as the times of day during which he is most productive. He finds that todo lists give him a sense of accomplishment and progression.
14:55 – “People who show gratitude tend to be happy.” John encourages his kids to reflect on one thing each day for which they are thankful.
16:08 – When making the transition from developing software to running events, John had to begin a completely new learning process.
19:19 – John is interested in using his expertise to gain better insight into the wants and needs of his customers so that he can tailor the Web Directions service to better suit them.
20:22 – John started programming using BASIC on a “pre-PC style” computer. It relied on a tape deck with audio cassettes in order to write programs.
20:57 – John came from a very traditional, imperative, object-orientated approach to programming. Only when the web came around was he exposed to the declarative approach.
21:29 – John found the idea of declaring what you want to happen, rather than how you want it to happen, revelatory.
21:57 – John thinks CSS is greatly undervalued. Whereas experienced React developers are in high demand, skilled CSS developers seem to struggle to find good positions.
23:45 – Best advice about programming
“You ain’t gonna need it” (YAGNI). If you don’t need it, don’t build it.
24:15 – Habits for writing better code
A strange mixture of OCD and ADHD allows John to both drill down on the details and get them right, as well as make the disparate connections necessary for writing good software.
25:15 – Book“Designing with Web Standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman
26:19 – Inspiring devsJason Miller, the creator of Preact. Not only is he developing interesting technology, but he is also great at articulating his thoughts on the web platform as a whole.
27:33 – How to learn to code from scratch
Pick a real-world problem and learn new technologies as you solve it.
29:42 – How to work smart
Implement the 80/20 rule. Determine what requires only 20% effort, but yields 80% of the results.
Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned
“A Dao of Web Design,” by John Allsopp
“Developing with Web Standards,” by John Allsopp
The Web Directions conference series
Amazon Web Services Machine Learning API
Watson AI API
Google Cloud Platform AI API
Dijkstra’s books on software engineering
“Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software,” by The Gang of Four
“Designing with Web Standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman
The 80/20 Pareto Principle
Published Mar 22, 2018
Time Stamped Show Notes
0:53 – Chris believes it’s important to seek out the work you love doing and focus your energy there. For him, it’s CSS-Tricks, CodePen, and ShopTalk.
1:37 – CSS-Tricks is primarily a blog, but it’s also full of resources for learning (mostly) front end development.
2:07 – Chris spends most of his time working on CodePen. Simply put, it’s a code editor in the browser. Using pre-processors, it allows you to create front end code and show it off to others.
2:49 – Chris’s podcast, ShopTalk, reached its 300th episode in 2018!
3:01 – Chris is pleased to hear that Sara Soueidan‘s first job came from something she posted on CodePen.
4:49 – CSS-Tricks started in 2007, making it ten-and-a-half years old!
5:18 – Chris loves empowering other developers by giving them a platform to show off their work. He also likes to share the cool things they’re building.
6:33 – “A Lifetime of Nerdery,” gives insight into Chris’s upbringing as a “middleclass kid in middleclass United States, somewhere in middle-America.” He feels his priviledged background played a big part in getting him to where he is now.
7:28 – Chris always knew computers would be part of his career. By obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree, he was able to combine his love for technology with his love of design.
9:34 – Chris chats about the early years of CodePen and why things were simpler back then. The more CodePen grows, the more pressure he feels about the tech choices they make, and about all the people involved.
11:23 – Email has proven a powerful tool for Chris. A lot of positive relationships and opportunities have come his way through email. “All good things happen over email”.
12:02 – At Codepen they use GitLab for code-editing and issue-tracking.
12:13 – Slack has been a vital tool at CodePen. Chris likes that it is both real-time, and not; it can be used for instant messaging, as well as for messages that don’t need an immediate response.
12:30 – CodePen have recently started using Notion. In essence, it’s a notes app where processes, minutes from meetings, and any other kind of documentation can be stored and shared. It can be used for long-term, and short-term stuff.
14:55 – There’s a lot of wisdom involved in knowing which new projects, frameworks, and libraries to pay attention to. He suggests keeping an eye on what’s going on in the industry, but not necessarily doing a course on every new tool that comes out.
15:21 – Chris suggests being slow and considerate in your technology choices. Although there are popular new libraries like Vue.js out now, the decision for CodePen to go with a React stack made sense at the time.
16:59 – “…an untold story of a really good like React and TypeScript based front end is that it’s less buggy because the way that you write code is less problematic”.
18:34 – Chris believes that browsers should keep up with what developers are trying to force the web to do, and to accommodate it.
19:25 – Stay up to date by reading industry rags, signing up to a few email newsletters, and reading the README’s of new libraries. Then file the important information somewhere in your brain for when it might prove useful.
20:34 – Chris suggests changing up the way you work. Don’t get complacent; try new frameworks, libraries, and processes. Constantly reevaluate the way you work and how you could be doing things differently.
22:44 – Chris would like for Prettier to be more configurable, so that instead of using stylelint for CSS and SCSS checking, and Prettier for code formatting, both could be done using one tool.
23:59 – Best advice about programming
Although technology constantly changes, humans don’t. Always remember that whatever you are building is for a human.
24:55 – Habits for writing better code
Make time to experiment. Toss out your current way of working and try something completely new. And then, to solidify what you’ve learnt, write about your experience.
25:42 – Book
“Learning jQuery” by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg
“Design for Community” by Derek Powazek
26:50 – Inspiring devs
David Khourshid for his work with animations and state machines. Mina Markham for highlighting the importance of design systems and their effect on people. Scott Jehl for his writing about performance, as well as everyone at Filament Group for their font-loading work. Jeremy Keith for his fascinating perspectives.
The whole team at CodePen: Marie Mosley, Rachel Smith, Jake Albaugh, and Chris’s co-founders, Tim Sabat, and Alex Vazquez. He feels lucky to be working with some of his heroes!
28:05 – How to learn to code from scratch
Tackle learning code by using a combination of different resources. Use Google, take courses (Team Treehouse, or Khan Academy), buy books, and build projects of your own. Take a multifaceted approach to learning and things will fall into place.
30:36 – How to work smart
Be persistent. If something frustrates you, it’s probably a good sign that you should learn it.
Tools, Tips, and Books Mentioned
A Lifetime of Nerdery
“Learning jQuery” by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg
“Design for Community” by Derek Powazek
Published Mar 1, 2018
Ada is a developer advocate and senior developer at Samsung. Previously a PlayStation developer, Ada now dedicates her time to pushing the limits of WebVR, and experimenting with client-side APIs.
Time Stamped Show Notes
0:47 – When Ada isn’t writing code, she’s usually attending conferences, speaking at events, or watching films. She’s really interested in WebVR, so she enjoys spending time trying out new demos and playing video games.
1:07 – Right now, Ada is really interested in the WebXR API which is being managed by the Immersive Web Community Group. It allows you to build fully immersive experiences and works with almost any VR headset that can connect to a browser.
2:12 – Despite a few teething issues, Web Components are gaining traction. Ada uses a combination of the official Polyfill and the ShadyDOM CSS polyfill.
3:19 – One of Ada’s favourite libraries right now is A-Frame. It’s essentially a web component wrapper for three.js, and three.js is an abstraction library for WebGL. Ada says that three.js makes writing raw WebGL easy.
5:42 – Ada would like to see developers building suites of web components rather than full websites, so that designers who know CSS and HTML can use them to put together full layouts.
6:12 – When Ada was a child, she used to make simple games in the browser using IE5, Firefox, and One Day. This is what inspired her to get into graphics.
7:15 – After working as a Playstation developer, Ada moved to The Financial Times where she improved her web development skills and had the opportunity to work on some VR projects.
8:06 – You can already build augmented reality projects in the web using libraries that give you access to the camera and accelerometer.
8:17 – The WebVR Standard was recently renamed the “WebXR Standard” to include mixed reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality. Ada thinks that it will form part of the standard toolkit of the web in the future.
8:54 – AR hardware is going to be the future of immersive media, because many people don’t like the isolation of VR.
9:31 – Glitch has become an invaluable part of Ada’s workflow. It’s an online code editor like CodePen or JS Bin, but with access to a full virtual machine with a Node environment setup.
10:13 – Ada loves that Glitch allows you to “remix”, meaning you can get a copy of a project’s source code, edit it, build something of your own, and then share it again.
11:01 – Because Ada does a lot of rapid prototyping, she became frustrated setting up new build environments all the time. She also didn’t like explaining everything to other devs before they could work on her code.
14:41 – Ada is really excited about Comlink by the Chrome team. It allows you to expose an API through post message and provides an asynchronous API to your function calls. Not only does it work between a web worker and the main page, but it also works across domains. This is incredible because it means we can make API’s that work entirely in the client side without touching the network. Plus, with service workers, you don’t even need an active network connection to make an API request.
18:27 – Ada is interested in developments in Web VR, new ways to think about the declarative web, and anything that changes the way developers work on the frontend or in the browser.
22:16 – Best advice about programming
It’s more important to get something out there that works than it is to get it perfect.
23:09 – Habits for writing better code
Use linting to create neat, readable code. Get to know your tools well and set them up in a way that suits your process. Become comfortable with CSS.
25:03 – Book
25:29 – Inspiring devsLea Verou. Her Mavo library is amazing and so is her book, “CSS Secrets”.
26:00 – How to learn to code from scratch
Get started with a basic A-Frame setup; tweak it, have some fun with it, and then expand upon it.
26:47 – How to work smart
Compartmentalise your code into reusable chunks. As soon as you build something that you’ll need more than two times, make it reusable.
Over the course of 300 episodes & 6 years, a lot has changed in the web world. We look back at what was going on when we started ShopTalk Show and check in with where things are at now - and speculate about what might be happening 6 years from now.
047: The Web is Neither Good or Bad…nor is it Neutral. It’s an Amplifier with Jeremy Keith – User Defenders podcast : Inspiring Interviews with UX Superheroes.
Jeremy Keith reveals how the web is neither good or bad, nor neutral, but an amplifier. He inspires us to not let the future be just something that happens to us, but rather something we make with the small things we do today. He encourages us to build software ethically with our users’ psychological vulnerabilities in mind. He motivates us to not build on rented land, but to publish using the superpower of our own URLs. He also shows us how looking to the past is just as important as looking to the future.
Jeremy Keith lives in Brighton, England where he makes websites with the splendid design agency Clearleft. You may know him from such books as DOM Scripting, Bulletproof Ajax, HTML5 For Web Designers, and most recently Resilient Web Design. He curated the dConstruct conference for a number of years as well as Brighton SF, and he organised the world’s first Science Hack Day. He also made the website Huffduffer to allow people to make podcasts of found sounds—it’s like Instapaper for audio files. Hailing from Erin’s green shores, Jeremy maintains his link to Irish traditional music running the community site The Session. He also indulges a darker side of his bouzouki-playing in the band Salter Cane. Jeremy spends most of his time goofing off on the internet, documenting his time-wasting on adactio.com, where he has been writing for over fifteen years. A photograph he took appears in the film Iron Man.
Iron Man Photo Story (4:43)
On Net Neutrality (13:31)
What’s “Adactio”? (20:44)
Is the Internet Good or Evil? (24:41)
Hippocratic Oath for Software Designers (35:51)
Resilient Web Design (49:06)
Why do you Love the Web so Much? (54:26)
The Power and Generosity of the Community (63:05)
What Comes Next? (71:34)
Listener Question? (73:44)
Last Words to the Builders of the Web (74:18)
Contact Info (80:15)
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