A front-end operations engineer is not a title you’ve likely come across, but hopefully one that you will. Such a person would need to be an expert at serving and hosting front-end resources. They’d need to be pros at Grunt (or something similar) and have strong opinions about modules. They would find the best ways to piece together the parts of a Web application, and they’d be pros at versioning, caching and deployment.
A front-end operations engineer would own external performance. They would be critical of new HTTP requests, and they would constantly be measuring file size and page-load time. They wouldn’t necessarily always worry about the number of times that a loop can run in a second — that’s still an application engineer’s job. They own everything past the functionality.
One for the front-end developers out there. With more application logic being deferred to the client side, Alex Sexton makes the case that front-end developers should transition to front-end operation engineers; becoming “the bridge between an application’s intent and an application’s reality”.
Chrome DevTools Revolutions 2013
As the complexity of the web apps you build keeps moving, so do the Chrome DevTools. We’ll give you the latest update on your favorite companion; explore new features like emulating mobile devices, remote debugging, Canvas and WebGL profiling, Sass preprocessor support, developing completely within Chrome using the new Workspaces support, and 20 other features that are brand-new to you and will hugely improve your development.
Make time for this one if you use the dev tools. The future is bright!
Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project
Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation – so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.
In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. The bulk of the initial work will focus on internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase. For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat. Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs.
The Chromium team are moving forward at an alarming rate and are doing everything to continue. Smart move.
How to Lose Weight (in the browser)
The definitive front-end performance guide.
A group of highly talented individuals from companies like Google, Opera and Twitter have put together a great resource that will no doubt become a ‘go-to’ source for getting your site in shape.
Say hello to Mark Otto’s (creator of Bootstrap) reborn project.
Preboot is a comprehensive and flexible collection of LESS utilities. Its original variables and mixins became the precursor to Bootstrap. Since then, it’s all come full circle.
If you roll with LESS then this will no doubt become a handy resource to help you write better CSS.
Jonathan Neal (co-creator of Normalize.css) put the source in the source so you can view the source while you view source. Super handy for people that tend to view the internet by its source.
Sun – Simple HTML5 Weather App
An awesome HTML5 iPhone weather app. Just visit the site from your iPhone and then save it to your home screen. Seems to be a little sluggish but don’t let this put you off. Beautifully executed.
Prototyping Responsive Typography
Basically, a typography prototype is a single web page that consists of the project’s actual content. It’s designed in the browser using real web fonts and tools like Typecast. A typography prototype includes font choices, styles for the basic text content and a typographic scale, but nothing else.
Having an approach that focuses on the most important part of any website is fundamental to producing an outstanding experience. It’s so simple but many avoid it. Me included.
The finished typography prototype will be used as the foundation for the rest of our work. We have the recipe, and now we need to start thinking how the colours and the layout will be cooked. This way, when we start our work from the most crucial parts — the content and the typography — and build everything else up from that point, there’s much less chance that we will get lost along the way.
I know where I am starting my next project.
Building Twitter Bootstrap
Bootstrap had its first practical test in real-world use at Twitter’s first Hackweek. During the week, I helped a few folks use Bootstrap on their projects to speed up development, but had no idea how effective or widespread the toolkit would become. When all the teams got in front of the company to present their ideas, dozens of them were using Bootstrap. They had used Bootstrap to create projects that all felt like a family of ideas with a consistent design and implementation. A simple, well-designed, and documented toolkit saved countless hours with little to no help from a dedicated designer.
An amazing product that is the leader in teams of frameworks. I think we all owe Mark and Jacob a beer.
Flexbox is pretty awesome and is certainly part of the future of layout. The syntax has changed quite a bit over the past few years, hence the “Old” and “New” syntax. But if we weave together the old, new, and in-between syntaxes, we can get decent browser support. Especially for a simple and probably the most common use case: order-controlled grids.
The old dog is up to his old tricks. Digging deep into the finner points of cutting edge CSS. Great post if you want to dive into Flexbox now.
But what about soul?
Yaron Schoen :
It is recommended to build your web app taking aesthetics into account. If your couch is extremely comfortable, but looks really disgusting, no one will want to sit on it. So obviously if your site is a serious publication, but you use Comic Sans, it’s going to be hard to take you seriously.
But what about soul?
Using the proper techniques will always yield good results. But perhaps what turns a good product into a great one is the culture that is injected by the creator’s soul and need for expression.
Front-End Performance for Web Designers / Developers
It’s hard, if not impossible, to deny that performance is by far one of the most critical aspects of any decent web project, be it a small portfolio site, a mobile-first web app, right through to a full-scale ecommerce project. Studies, articles and personal experience all tell us that fast is best.
Absolutely cracking article discussing the in’s and out’s about performance. I feel it’s going to be a very talked about topic in 2013. Go read it!
The Accessibility Project
Introducing SimpleA11Y, an open source project that aims to make accessibility easier for front end developers.
Big ups to Dave for stepping up and shipping!
Preparing For A Front-End Job Interview
Preparing for an interview as a front-end developer is hard. There is no “standard” interview, and what was relevant last year might no longer be relevant today. To make the process even more complicated, each company has its own way of interviewing prospective employees, its own desired skill set and its own duties for the incoming developer.
The interview process could be quick or drawn out. The process is out of your control, so don’t stress out too much about it. As long as you have given yourself the best possible chance of landing the job, that’s all you can do.
One thing to keep in mind: don’t be afraid to apply. Some job advertisements are worded to scare off some applicants and attract only the best of the best. If the job appeals to you and you meet the essential requirements, why not apply?
I wrote my first article for Smashing Magazine a little while ago. It’s now live.
Around friends and family using older browsers?
If you’re around friends and family using older browsers this year, why not take a few minutes out to help them upgrade to an evergreen browser? Evergreen browsers are browsers with an automatic upgrade path (e.g Chrome, Firefox and Opera) and will mean that they can enjoy the best the web has to offer and avoid broken browser experiences in the future.
Just updating the family laptop. I hope you are as well…
SitePoint Podcast – The End
In this, the very last episode of the SitePoint Podcast, the extended panel of hosts and producers take a reminisce through their memories of the four years doing the podcast, what it has meant to them and how they will look back on it.
Thanks to all that shared their knowledge and helped me become a better developer. I was a big fan of the SitePoint Podcast. Sad to see it go, but I also feel like it was the right decision.
Dive into Flexbox
Authors have long been using tables, floats, inline-blocks, and other CSS properties to lay out their site content. However, none of these tools were designed for the complex webpages and webapps we are making nowadays. Simple things like vertical centering require work. Complex things like flexible grid layouts are so hard that it’s considered ambitious to roll your own, hence the success of CSS grid frameworks. Still, if so many projects needs to do these things, why can’t it just be easy? Flexbox aims to change all that.
Its going to be great to see this take over the internet in the not to distant future. If you want a head start then this article by Greg will help you lead the pack.
What I Learnt Building Twitter Bootstrap
Today Bootstrap is really fucking popular. However, what people often don’t realize is that despite its popularity, and despite it being a “Twitter” project, it isn’t actually maintained by a team at Twitter (nor was it ever).
Bootstrap is (and has always been) maintained by two nerds who like to write code together. Just two nerds.
What’s more, this wasn’t something we did in the office – there was no “Bootstrap team” – no 20% time – just Mark and I hacking in our free time. And this is significant, because what building Bootstrap has taught me more than anything else, is that’s all I really care about.
Writing code with the homies.
These are the good times. Always will be, always have been.
WordPress 3.5 “Elvin”
If you’ve been around WordPress a while, the most dramatic new change you’ll notice is a completely re-imagined flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. Media has long been a friction point and we’ve listened hard and given a lot of thought into crafting this new system. 3.5 includes a new default theme, Twenty Twelve, which has a very clean mobile-first responsive design and works fantastic as a base for a CMS site. Finally we’ve spent a lot of time refreshing the styles of the dashboard, updating everything to be Retina-ready with beautiful high resolution graphics, a new color picker, and streamlining a couple of fewer-used sections of the admin.
Congrats to all that made this happen!
The Importance of Sensibility in Designers and Developers
Being sensible towards both design and engineering will allow you to work on awesome projects forever.
When we are thoughtful about creating — when we design, iterate, prototype, iterate — we can create better things. We can create great things.
When we are sensible towards both design and development, we can prioritise features, we have better insight into our process, and we will create a better product with the restraints we have.
Maykel bombarded my twitter feed the other day. Each tweet was well crafted and too the point. This post elaborates on his wise words.