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.
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.
Chris Coyier consolidated an array of opinions about what it means to be a frontend developer today.
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.
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.
Read the flowchart on kryogenix.org.
Well since you asked, Mohamed 🙃, a little retrospective on this past year…
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 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 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.