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Smashing Magazine

A web magazine for web designers and developers.
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Using the web for a day on a 50 mb budget

This is a fascinating look at how “size negligence”, AKA not paying close attention to the size of your images, javascript, etc impacts people in parts of the world where data is slow and expensive. Author Chris Ashton on why you should care: We don’t have the power to change the global cost of data inequality. But we do have the power to lessen its impact, improving the experience for everyone in the process.

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Improve your JavaScript knowledge by reading source code

One of the most amazing things about Open Source is how much it enables you to learn from the best. Just open up the source for your favorite library or framework and you can start learning from the best in the business. But that can feel intimidating. This article breaks down some approaches you can use to make it easier. As author Carl Mungazi says: Reading source code is difficult at first but as with anything, it becomes easier with time. The goal is not to understand everything but to come away with a different perspective and new knowledge. The key is to be deliberate about the entire process and intensely curious about everything.

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Rachel Andrew Smashing Magazine

Everything you need to know about CSS margins

Margins in CSS seem simple enough at first glance. Applied to an element it forms a space around the element, pushing other elements away. However, there is more to a margin than you might think. No kidding! Margin collapsing has got to be one of the hardest things about CSS for new developers, and this article not only goes into it and how to avoid it, but explains the “why” behind it.

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CSS custom properties in the cascade

A brilliant look at how CSS custom properties allow you to both utilize the cascade and provide some level of scoping and proximity-based styling. Prior solutions include the ‘big blunt hammer’ of inheritance-based styling or ignoring the cascade completely utilizing methodologies like BEM, but as author Miriam Suzanne points out: Custom properties provide a new, browser-native solution; they inherit like any other property, but they don’t have to be used where they are defined.

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A progressive migration to native lazy loading

Native lazy loading is coming to the web. Since it doesn’t depend on JavaScript, it will revolutionize the way we lazy load content today, making it easier for developers to lazy load images and iframes. I’m excited about native lazy loading! We’ve been using lozad.js for lazy loading with some success. There are times when it seems that IntersectionObserver fails to its job and an image won’t load. (If you scroll the element out and back in to the viewport, it will usually work the second time.) But it’s not a feature we can polyfill, and it will take some time before it becomes usable across all browsers. n this article, you’ll learn how it works and how you can progressively replace your JavaScript-driven lazy loading with its native alternative, thanks to hybrid lazy loading. I might try this hybrid approach and see what happens…

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Web accessibility in context

Fascinating read through covering historical context for accessibility and assistive technologies as well as diving into the way we do accessibility in the web today. According to author Be Birchall this article aims to shift your perspective by showing how web accessibility fits into the broader areas of technology, disability, and design. We’ll see how designing for different sets of abilities leads to insight and innovation. I’ll also shed some light on how the history of browsers and HTML is intertwined with the history of assistive technology.

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Vue.js and SEO: how to optimize reactive websites for search engines and bots

Real life data on how Google indexes javascript-rendered websites today. This has been a controversial subject, and this article by no means settles it entirely, but provides some strong data for what types of dynamic content are well indexable and which are not. Though to be honest, I think the most important conclusion the author makes might be this one: If you need your site to perform on search engines other than Google, you will definitely need pre-rendering of some sort.

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Demystifying JAMstack: an interview with Phil Hawskworth

JAMStack is all that, whole grain low fat, I know you want a piece of that… No but seriously now, I love what’s going on with the JAMstack and the implications for performance, security, and maintainability. Not sure what this stack even is? Why should you care? In this interview, Vitaly Friedman of Smashing Magazine talks with Phil Hawksworth from Netlify about what it is all about: JAMstack is all about a way of deploying and serving websites that don’t rely on an origin server, they don’t rely on requests hitting an active server all the time.

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Vitaly Friedman Smashing Magazine

Don’t pay to speak at commercial events

Vitaly Friedman, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of Smashing Magazine, breaks down the broken state of commercial web conferences saying: The state of commercial web conferences is utterly broken. What lurks behind the scenes of such events is a widely spread, toxic culture despite the hefty ticket price. And more often than not, speakers bear the burden of all of their conference-related expenses, flights, and accommodation from their own pockets. This isn’t right, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in our industry. …the general expectation is that speakers should speak for free as they’ve been given a unique opportunity to speak and that neither flights nor expenses should be covered for the very same reason. The details of this post from Vitaly go much deeper than what I’ve shared here. I highly recommend taking 22 minutes to read this.

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David Mark Clements Smashing Magazine

Keeping Node.js fast

David Mark Clements shares tools, techniques, and tips for making high-performance Node.js servers in this super deep post on Smashing Magazine: The surging popularity of Node.js has exposed the need for tooling, techniques and thinking suited to the constraints of server-side JavaScript. When it comes to performance, what works in the browser doesn’t necessarily suit Node.js. So, how do we make sure a Node.js implementation is fast and fit for purpose? Let’s walk through a hands-on example.

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Best practices with CSS Grid layout

Rachel Andrew: An increasingly common question — now that people are using CSS Grid Layout in production — seems to be “What are the best practices?” The short answer to this question is to use the layout method as defined in the specification. The particular parts of the spec you choose to use, and indeed how you combine Grid with other layout methods such as Flexbox, is down to what works for the patterns you are trying to build and how you and your team want to work. Amazingly educational article. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when you want to learn about CSS Grid, Rachel Andrew is the source.

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Replace jQuery with Vue.js without requiring a build step

What some people don’t not know is that you can incorporate Vue into your project the same way that you would incorporate jQuery, no build step necessary. You don’t have to rewrite the HTML in JavaScript, you don’t have to use webpack, and you don’t have to set up a giant system. In this post Sarah Drasner covers common jQuery use cases and how to switch them over to Vue, and why you’d even want to.

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Making a mobile app with facial recognition features

This article isn’t a how-to, per se. It’s more like a research report written after attempting to build such an app for the first time. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, and this write-up is super useful if you’re about to tackle a similar problem space. Open source libraries are tried, facial recognition services are evaluated, and their takeaways are solid, if not a bit disappointing. As you can see, the really simple idea of using facial recognition functionality was not that simple to implement. The entire piece is worth a read.

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