React for Vue developers

For the past three years, I’ve been using both React and Vue in different projects, ranging from smaller websites to large scale apps.

Last month I wrote a post about why I prefer React over Vue. Shortly after I joined Adam Wathan on Full Stack Radio to talk about React from a Vue developer’s perspective.

We covered a lot of ground on the podcast, but most things we talked about could benefit from some code snippets to illustrate their similaraties and differences.

This post is a succinct rundown of most Vue features, and how I would write them with React in 2019 with hooks.

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Full Stack Radio 114: React for Vue developers

I had the honor to be a guest on Full Stack Radio with Adam Wathan.

We talked about why I prefer React over Vue — which I wrote about two weeks ago — and how to implement some patterns that Vue provides out of the box but aren’t explicitly available in React. Examples include computed properties, events and slots.

Adam’s quote:

In this episode, Adam talks to Sebastian De Deyne about learning React from the perspective of a Vue developer, and how to translate all of the Vue features you’re already comfortable with to React code.

Tune in on fullstackradio.com or on your favorite podcatcher!

14 KB

When you visit a website, your browser connects to a server via TCP. With TCP, the first roundtrip can be up to 14 KB large.

In other words, the first 14 KB sent to the client will always be the quickest to render in the browser. The rest of the response is streamed afterwards.

This website’s homepage is about 9.7 KB at the time of writing. Articles are roughly 4-10 KB, depending on their lengths. All CSS is inlined, so besides fonts and images everything is loaded withing the first roundtrip, making page loads fast and snappy.

Not all sites can be contained within 14 KB — most probably can’t. But keep the number in mind, and try to optimize the first 14 KB instead.

Understand React hooks internals with a 28-line React clone

Shawn Wang (@swyx) wrote about how React hooks work internally. The article is a deep dive into JavaScript closures, and builds up to a 28-line React clone with support for the useEffect and useState hooks.

In this article, we reintroduce closures by building a tiny clone of React Hooks. This will serve two purposes – to demonstrate the effective use of closures, and to show how you can build a Hooks clone in just 29 lines of readable JS. Finally, we arrive at how Custom Hooks naturally arise.

Understanding how React deals with hooks internally isn’t a required to use them, but it’s interesting material nonetheless!

You can read the full article on the Netlify blog.

Running PHP CS Fixer on every commit with husky and lint-staged

Last month, I wrote a post about automatically running prettier before every commit. This ensures that all JavaScript and CSS are formatted correctly before they’re stored in the project’s repository.

Husky and lint-staged have been working hard keeping our front-end assets clean as Spatie, so we decided to expand their responsibilities to keep our PHP files clean too. This is a modified version of my previous post using PHP CS Fixer instead of prettier. There’s also an example of a conmbined configuration to run prettier and PHP CS Fixer simultaneously at the end of the post.

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Web components

Every now and then, web components hype seems to resurface. Judging by my Twitter feed, it’s a bull market period now. Seems like a good time to share some thoughts.

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Don’t forget to be selfish every now and then

The other day, I stumbled upon an older article by DHH. “Work on what you use and share the rest”.

My core philosophy about open source is that we should all be working on the things that we personally use and care about. Working for other people is just too hard and the quality of the work will reflect that. But if we all work on the things we care about and then share those solutions between us, the world gets richer much faster.

I’ve been keeping this in the back of my mind the past few months.

I was always adding features because I’d expect other people to expect them. It’s a trap! You’re not making people happier by guessing what they might need. You’re not doing anyone a disservice by building things for yourself.

Building things for yourself makes it easier to ship something you feel happy about. It makes it easier to ship something at all.

Don’t forget to be selfish as an open source maintainer every now and then. It’s a good investment in the long run.

I used to fall in the trap of thinking I needed to add features because other people might expect them to be a part of my code, not because I need them myself.

The great divide

Chris Coyier consolidated an array of opinions about what it means to be a frontend developer today.

On one side, an army of developers whose interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are heavily revolved around JavaScript.

On the other, an army of developers whose interests, responsibilities, and skill sets are focused on other areas of the front end, like HTML, CSS, design, interaction, patterns, accessibility, etc.

It’s that other side that seems to really be feeling this divide. A quote from Mandy Michael:

What I don’t understand is why it’s okay if you can “just write JS”, but somehow you’re not good enough if you “just write HTML and CSS”.

When every new website on the internet has perfect, semantic, accessible HTML and exceptionally executed, accessible CSS that works on every device and browser, then you can tell me that these languages are not valuable on their own. Until then we need to stop devaluing CSS and HTML.

A lot of these excerpts really hit home. I’m looking forward to the conversation this might spark.

Read the full piece on css-tricks.com.

An introduction to Phoenix LiveView

The last year or two, I’ve been playing around with Elixir. Chris McCord, author of the Phoenix web framework, is working on a new feature for Phoenix: LiveView.

Phoenix LiveView is an exciting new library which enables rich, real-time user experiences with server-rendered HTML. LiveView powered applications are stateful on the server with bidrectional communication via WebSockets, offering a vastly simplified programming model compared to JavaScript alternatives.

In short, LiveView enables you to enable interactive, real-time app, without touching any JavaScript, as the application logic lives on the server.

LiveView looks like an interesting alternative to the current SPA trend. You can read Chris’ entire walkthrough on dockyard.com. Even if you’re not familiar with Elixir yet, LiveView’s proposed programming model is an interesting topic on it’s own.

Everyone has JavaScript, right?

I used to think disabled JavaScript went hand in hand with visitors explicitly blocking it. I came to the conclusion that I don’t necessarily need to cater to that crowd, because the degraded user experience was by choice. After reading through this chart, I realized how wrong I was.

Sometimes your JavaScript just won’t work. Be prepared.

Read the flowchart on kryogenix.org.

Not all code is the same

As a short follow-up to Everyone has JavaScript, right?, there’s more to JavaScript than availability, there are also the performance implications.

I don’t think most people are saying, “don’t use JavaScript.” That would be absurd.

But use less, use it wisely, and don’t depend on a giant framework for simple stuff. Use as little JS as possible to get the experience you want. You can do that and still have a great, immersive app.

I believe we’re reaching for JavaScript more often because of its ecosystem, not because it’s the better solution. The JavaScript ecosystem simply has incredible tools to build interfaces, and I hope server side solutions will still be able to compete.

I don’t have a conclusion ready, I’m just interested in the topic. To be explored in 2019. Meanwhile, read Chris Ferdinandi’s thoughts on the matter.

iA Writer 5.2 will embrace variable fonts

iA Writer is one of my favorite pieces of software, and I can’t even say why. It just feels so good. In the upcoming 5.2 release, iA Writer will replace the current iA Writer Duo font with iA Writer Quattro, a variable font.

While traditional fonts offer in a limited number of weights, variable fonts offer an infinite scale between the weights and features.

Variable fonts have different “axis” which allow an infinite amount of variations.

Gingham variable font. Taken from Get started with variable fonts by Richard Rutter.

In iA Writer 5.2 we automatically adjust the optical weight depending on the type size you use. Weights change depending on size. The font is getting thinner and tighter spaced as we increase the type size. This has not been possible in the past.

Not just size, but different screens demand different weights, too. Fonts look different on screens; some screens have more or fewer pixels, like retina and high-density retina. Depending on what device you use, we apply different gradings.

Our job would almost be boring if type size, pixel density, and screen type were the only challenges of modern typography. As you might have noticed, dark backgrounds make white text shine brighter. That’s why iA Writer 5.2 tones the optical weight down another 5% for night mode. Who does such crazy things? Crazy people.

I, for one, welcome our new variable font overlords. More words and pictures on ia.net.

If you want to learn more about variable fonts in general, or play around with a few specimens, check out Axis-Praxis.