Jens Oliver Meiert

Web Development

HTML and CSS and the 2019 Web Almanac

The HTTP Archive’s Web Almanac is fantastic because it provides us with data about how we build what kinds of websites. While the release of the 2019 Almanac has been accompanied by some analysis, I had found it interesting to interpret the data, too.

Post from January 15, 2020, filed under .

If It Can Be Done Using an HTTP Header, Use an HTTP Header

The following is a (slightly modified) chapter from Upgrade Your HTML, which is “all about picking examples of HTML in the wild, and explaining how to make that code better.”

Post from January 13, 2020, filed under .

How Running Your Own Website Is Much Better for You Than You Think

The typical argument for why professionals don’t have their own websites is usually that they don’t want to make the commitment, and yet that misses how the disadvantages people see are actually advantages. Renewed thoughts on how running your own website is an asset.

Post from January 3, 2020, filed under and .

An HTML Optimizer’s Config for html-minifier

Jad (Joubran) asked me about my configuration for html-minifier the other week, and in a hurry I pointed him to the config I had worked out for sum.cumo. In my own projects, however, I work with a different, more ambitious setup.

Post from December 20, 2019, filed under .

When to Open Links in a New Tab

Always open links in the same tab unless doing so 1) could disrupt a process, 2) could risk data loss, or 3) could confuse the user.

Post from December 9, 2019, filed under and .

CSS: When to Use Logical Properties

Logical properties are great and long overdue. They are great because they solve an ugly problem of international, multi-directional web development in that directionality does not need to affect your writing and managing of CSS anymore…

Post from November 22, 2019, filed under .

Website Optimization Measures, Part IX

Random improvements and notes around compression and caching, content security and feature policies, IndieWeb markup, protocols in links, entity references, image formats, and ISBNs in URL paths.

Post from November 14, 2019, filed under .

The cover of “Upgrade Your HTML.”

Upgrade Your HTML (the Booklet)

I’ve written a very short book on improving HTML code: Upgrade Your HTML. Upgrade Your HTML is about one thing: Picking examples of HTML in the wild, and explaining how to make that code better. Kindly. Constructively. Thoroughly, as finding a balance between detail and brevity permits.

Post from November 4, 2019, filed under .

On Writing Better Markup

As HTML is so important and yet also so easy, everyone writes HTML, and everyone says they can write HTML. And with that they don’t just mean they are able to write HTML, but that they write good HTML, where “good” means “high quality.” That would be great news.

Post from October 16, 2019, filed under .

The Developer’s Fallacy of Close Collaboration with Designers

Working closely with designers makes sense and is awesome, notably for mutual understanding and efficiency. And yet there are also good reasons not to work closely with designers. For developers it’s important, for otherwise foolish, to be aware.

Post from October 1, 2019, filed under and .

Definition of Web Developer

Web developer, n.: A person who—

Post from September 24, 2019, filed under .

“Must Work Without JavaScript”

That websites should work without JavaScript has a long professional tradition, and for apps much the same has been asked for. Yet with the success and ubiquity of scripting, how relevant is it to make sure sites and apps “work without JavaScript”?

Post from September 5, 2019, filed under .

Optional HTML: Everything You Need to Know

Optional HTML can be left out to improve performance, to guide code comprehension, and to hone the craft. An overview over all optional tags, rules around quotes for attribute values, and omissible attribute value defaults, as well as notes on pitfalls and tools.

Post from August 20, 2019, filed under .

When to use img, img@srcset, and picture and source

I’ve disliked srcset and the whole family of ideas around it from the start because doing the same thing for the same purpose several times has usually looked like too much DX cost for too little UX gain to me. Two angles at what to use when.

Post from July 17, 2019, filed under .

Image Compression: How to Super-Easily Set Up Automated Base Optimization

Setting up image compression tooling is easy—and for those who want to err on the safe side automatically employing lossless compression, it’s even easier with a solution from sum.cumo: Merlin.

Post from June 24, 2019, filed under .

The Problem with Web Development Checklists, or: The Frontend Checklist, Revised

Checklists are a great way to make sure nothing gets forgotten, yet they are problematic when they contain items that aren’t important. A few general thoughts and a very specific review of The Frontend Checklist—of which 33 guidelines appear useful, and 41 not (yet).

Post from June 19, 2019, filed under .

Understanding Image Compression: Tooling and Context

Image compression plays an important role for performance optimization. It seems straight-forward but is a little deceptive, however, because it consists not of one but two parts—and it’s usually lack of understanding of one part that causes problems.

Post from May 22, 2019, filed under .

A Crime Called Favicon

16×16, 30×30, 32×32, 48×48, 57×57, 60×60, 64×64, 70×70, 72×72, 76×76, 90×90, 96×96, 114×114, 120×120, 128×128, 144×144, 150×150, 152×152, 160×160, 167×167, 180×180, 192×192, 195×195, 196×196, 228×228, 256×256, 270×270, 310×310, 558×558.

Post from May 9, 2019, filed under .

How Can We Make Website Maintenance Work More Visible?

The maintenance and maintainability of websites is a much neglected topic. This is problematic because: We cannot not maintain. Yet primarily we may deal with a visibility problem that we could explore more options for.

Post from April 24, 2019, filed under .

Print Styling, the 3 Basics

Many sites are not prepared for print, and yet our users print, and they save through print. Therefore: Have a print style sheet, and be it a negative one. Hide what’s not usable or useful. Always test, and tweak when you want better.

Post from April 5, 2019, filed under and .

Optional @lang

The lang attribute is one of HTML’s global attributes. If one doesn’t simply take it for granted, it begs a number of questions—and these suggest to drop W3C requirements around it, and to demand software to do the job.

Post from March 21, 2019, filed under .

What Happened on Google+, the Web Development Archives

Following a few philosophy posts to be archived, here are past entries related to web development. Nothing more, nothing less.

Post from March 9, 2019, filed under and .

HTML and Performance: Leave Out Optional Tags and Quotes

As experts we should know what code is optional and leave it out, and our production systems should do a better job assisting us with that. After all the years of neglecting basic HTML optimization, let’s think about taking the next step and not ship optional HTML markup.

Post from January 29, 2019, filed under .

Google Lighthouse and PWA

A review of Lighthouse’s PWA audits and the PWA category as a whole. Just in time to see it be superseded by Lighthouse 4, the major update that solves some (unfortunately not all) of those issues.

Post from January 17, 2019, filed under .

On Performance Visions, or: Performance Optimization Is a Process

It’s smart to have a vision for what one wishes to achieve for the performance of a site or app. Yet even the soundest approaches to performance visions have their problems, and in them we recognize that performance, or performance optimization, is indeed a process.

Post from December 4, 2018, filed under .

If you like what you see here, consider the ebook version of all of my 2005–2015 posts on web design and development: On Web Development.

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Cover: CSS Optimization Basics.

Perhaps my most relevant book: CSS Optimization Basics (2018). Writing CSS is a craft. As craftspeople we strive to write high quality CSS. In CSS Optimization Basics I lay out some of the most important aspects of such CSS. (Also available in a bundle with Upgrade Your HTML.)

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Last update: January 15, 2020

“Work is love made visible.”