Jens Oliver Meiert

What Happened on Google+, the Web Development Archives

Post from March 9, 2019, filed under .

Google+ is still shutting down. Following a few philosophy posts to be archived, here are some of the technical entries. Nothing more, nothing less, for they’re again a little random outside their original context.

December 19, 2014:

Maintainable Social Script Integration:

I’ve open-sourced a functioning but scrappy script, or three of those, that shield markup from social widgets or their scripts or so, and throw it all at everyone around: github.com/j9t/social-widget-wrapper. Maybe that should have been the intro.

January 5, 2015:

HTML/CSS retrospective.

  1. Keep use of IDs and classes to a minimum; then
  2. use functional ID and class names; otherwise
  3. use generic ID and class names.

Accompanied by using names that are as short as possible but as long as necessary, and noting that the same rules essentially apply to custom elements, too, I’ve not more to add, more than six years later. I very much deem these rules, that by the way clearly ban presentational names for these are not maintainable, golden.

The thoughts from the archives.

January 15, 2019:

iOS and Android.

A few weeks back I bought an iPod Touch. I got the iPod to eventually replace my Nexus 4—over my travels I got used to being off the (phone) grid and relying on wifi, and I liked the perks the iPod offered, like the nice size, a superior battery life, and better privacy for lack of cell phone capability.

Meanwhile, Android came as 5.0, of which I got parts OTA. Here’s what I observed software-wise, and I wish both Android (Google) and Apple to listen 😊

iOS fails:

  • Text selecting and editing is, for such a basic task, a disaster—it’s cumbersome and easily requires several (high precision) taps. Editing a word is pure chance and oftentimes requires deleting and typing it all again.

  • The app choice is, for my needs, poor to non-existent (I’m not sure what Apple advertises but Play has actually apps one needs). For all practical purposes it’s as if there are no apps at all. Try, for example, to find a file manager that works, or a media player that plays all common formats. Or try to find something useful for free (you can on Play). I get it, Apple likes to make it all easy for us, but until they do, we don’t need hundreds of $2.99 apps that do s (and don’t even “look” good).

  • Either click areas are too small or screen sensitivity is too bad, for many buttons need multiple presses. I’m not sure whether this goes away with practice, but it’s pretty noticeable and annoying.

Android fails:

  • Google apps. This has been bad for, forever. At first Google apps were just scattered around for poor naming conventions, then they got welded into the system only to be disabled, not uninstalled, and now they spread cancerously. Docs, Sheets, Slides, seriously? I’m waiting for Google Type, Google Copy, and Google Paste.

  • No system photo app. The idea to remove Gallery, a fine, decently designed, well-integrated app in favor of, uhm, Photos, is astonishingly bad. It’s really so bad, I’m editing out some ungoogliness. (Gallery KK helped a little, in case you looked at this dumbfounded, too.)

  • This… thing called Google Now. I know. The third fail that involves Google apps 😉 But even though you can supposedly deactivate Google Now, it’ll still stick around, and there’s this Now button that pops in your way all the time. I have strong negative feelings about Now. I don’t want it, and its trigger-happiness to claim ownership over microphones is offensive (as if Google wasn’t an American company).

    (Another Google app fail, some actually useful apps don’t get maintained or improved. Like Finance or Voice. But it’s enough here.)

iOS tops:

Android tops:

  • Design! I think there were a few regressions since Android 4.4 but overall Android is much more usable and appealing than iOS. (Go figure. Well done, Matias Duarte and team. I love this.)

  • Performance! Android is wonderfully smooth and snappy on a 2012 Nexus.

A note on hardware:

That Apple keeps on inventing their own adapters (that they overcharge costumers and pollute the environment for) is something I much hold against them. But, then, the hardware seems otherwise very nicely done. The latest iPod Touch is maybe a bit too long, but it’s otherwise a neat device. I quite like it.

Overall:

I wish Apple to focus more on usability and design (this still reads odd, no?), and to stick to standards for their hardware. For Google, I wish them to become more open again software-wise (ha, that’s newish, too), and to allow people to get rid of Google apps. And to maintain all their apps. This has gotten a bit microsoft-esque almost. I also see a danger of overshooting with the design efforts; less may be more now.

Okay, this just had to get out.

January 16, 2015:

HTML retrospective.

When we provide code for others to embed on their sites, we better make sure it’s top-notch. Code that’s for others must be better than code we use for ourselves. Special focus must lie on economy (minimalism), validation (who are we to pull down the quality of other sites), and maintainability.

Most f this up (notably Google, who I still hope the most will start paying attention to this).

The thoughts from the archives (though neither particularly eloquent nor powerful).

February 15, 2019:

Security, encryption, volunteering.

I put in some pro bono work to furnish the Android app Crypt4All (AES) with a German translation. (Note that I’m not all too versed when it comes to security, but I do occasionally use AES, through AES Crypt, to encrypt some data.)

I believe encryption to be critical to protect us from rogue states like the Five Eyes, and deem pro bono work to never get out of fashion. There’s always something nice we can do, for free.

March 19, 2015:

Remember: April 9 is CSS Naked Day:

Let’s keep the tradition alive. Mark the day in your calendar, and consider signing up for reminders (basic event support from my end).

March 22, 2015:

CSS retrospective.

Around 2003–2005, I had a phase in which I wrote most of my sites without any IDs and classes. Simple sites, like uitest.com. Back then, selector choice and support was limited however, and so I soon eased out and used IDs and classes again. (There’s nothing per se wrong with them, of course.)

What I learned, however, influences me to this date: to be as frugal as possible when it comes to using IDs and classes. Relying on the most minimal markup possible is demanding, but pays off greatly in terms of efficiency and maintenance.

The (as always somewhat cheeky) thoughts from the archives.

May 13, 2015:

A Vision of Web Development:

Reminding that “writing HTML, design-agnostic as it should be, has always been underestimated”—and is “the hardest to write well.”

May 18, 2015:

Web Standards: We’re F’ing It Up:

It’s a problem to just change specs. But it’s an increasingly bigger problem not to clean and prune them. The intimidating complexity of web standard specs should precisely be a motivation, not a threat, to come up with a plan. Here, the populist version.

June 16, 2015:

Education, connection, responsibility.

The other week I visited my old school, the BBS Varel, where I made my “auxiliary” computer science degree. I had the pleasure to talk to three classes about life after said degree, and some lessons learned.

Among the tips I shared were the following:

  • Focus on reliable, excellent sources
  • Don’t shy away from, in fact seek pro bono work
  • Though a somewhat sad indicator of the times, set aside time for self-marketing (perhaps through maintaining a little, business card style website)
  • Automate what you can, both in your professional as well as your personal affairs (aka the Google spirit)
  • Take responsibility for your work, and be aware how it may be used (privacy! rights!)

I thank the team and students of the BBS for having me.

July 13, 2015:

Typography retrospective.

Brief story. I had fixed but also filed an insane number of bugs in my time at Google. One of the ones that I still find sad, embarrassing even, to still see open is that on Google’s homepage, we’ve never used actual apostrophes: “I’m Feeling Lucky” says the poor thing since time immemorial.

This issue of poor punctuation, of course, is wide-spread (and I’ll pull out another retrospective later, musing about why we may never cure it). But apart from using and producing smarter software, there are also crutches like: typography cheat sheets. And one of those I once compiled and shared, documenting correct punctuation for several dozen languages.

The thoughts from the archives. (Cheat sheet.)

September 16, 2015:

Maintainability retrospective.

There’s almost nothing on HTML and CSS maintenance out there. That nothing includes a little guide, following, that needs reviewing and updating.

Beside poor habits of code optimization (WET CSS!), lack of sense (and best practices) for maintenance is a serious inhibitor for our field. The HTML and CSS Working Groups can throw as many features at us as they like, here we, the web dev community, desperately need to get better. Preferably with, otherwise without the working groups.

The thoughts from the archives.

November 25, 2015:

Modern web development: use resets, frameworks, libraries, pre-processors, package and build management &c. pp. ad nauseam.

Quality web development: understand and use what’s needed.

December 8, 2015:

HTML retrospective.

Writing HTML is extraordinarily easy, writing good HTML quite the opposite. How convenient that there are ground rules.

The thoughts from the archives.

January 6, 2016:

The Law of Maintainability:

One cannot not maintain.

June 14, 2016:

Website ownership.

Since 2008 I suffer from nightmares that meiert.com still uses an XHTML doctype: No other project does that I’ve worked on since.

This and many other decisions do have good—I hope—reasons, however. And those reasons I recently jotted down in a “meta” post at meiert.com/meta.

I’m sharing this not because of the doctype, then, but for three other reasons. One, to solicit feedback—explaining [my] quality efforts, I sure make mistakes. Two, I wish to pass on some hands-on experience working on websites for almost two decades. Three, related, I believe in web design as a process, and more often than enough I’ve missed the opportunity to illustrate what that means through examples. Here’s one.

July 12, 2016:

HTML.

How many (and which) elements have been part of every single version of HTML?

15: a, address, dd, dl, dt, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, li, p, title, ul.

That’s it. No body and no html element (these came with HTML 2.0, or perhaps a draft prior to that).

All elements of HTML, over time, with additional information.

November 14, 2016:

Stop Using the Old “Clearfix”:

Write clean HTML and rely on the overflow property.

December 21, 2016:

CSS Shorthand Syntax Considered Important:

CSS shorthands are no anti-pattern, just as little as universal selectors, just as little as !important, and just as little as no-js would not be one. Now we learn that shorthands were an anti-pattern. No, they’re not. Yes, they are! No they’re not.

February 16, 2017:

Principles of Web Development:

Web development, at more than 20 years of age, is becoming an increasingly mature profession. Web development is also subject to constant change, and the field produces more of that change, out of itself. More technological standards, possibilities, and practices; standards, possibilities, and practices that have attracted, but also frustrated us, the people in the field. But as many have observed, more recently perhaps Jeremy Keith in his Design Principles, there are principles for us to hold on to.

April 28, 2017:

Technical progress threatens to become the source of values, and thus does away with the norm that man has believed in for thousands of years: that one ought to do what is true, beautiful, and conducive to the unfolding of man’s soul.

—Erich Fromm: On Being Human.

I’m at a crossroads with my work, where I zero in on joining another tech endeavor (company) I believe in, and to throttle my studies even though they’ve led to invaluable lessons. But this may well be an eye of a needle, a narrow passage through which I and my work must go.

What is my work, precisely? Developing a model of reality that allows us to reclaim our freedom, for we’ve always been free but somehow imprisoned ourselves. What we appear to be going through is an incredibly complicated story, one that is not told by religion, nor science, nor spirituality, nor by those schools that preach Optimism or Acceptance or the Now or what not (no), and neither by philosophy, yet. But while the story is complicated and perhaps forever indecipherable (there’s the idea of physical reality as a perfect illusion, so for us to truly learn), there seems to be a model, a world view that can explain well enough. What I have to do with it, then, and whether I’ll be able to make a contribution, any contribution, I don’t know. Yet I’m not interested in anything but truly appreciating the very magic and beauty of our lives and realities. Life is magic, and there’s no need to fear. That’s why I’m a philosopher, and that much for a glimpse, at my non-technical work.

May 31, 2017:

70% Repetition in Style Sheets: Data on How We Fail at CSS Optimization:

Looking at data for some of the most popular websites, we repeat ourselves too much in CSS; using declarations just once is often one solid avenue to avoid repetition; together, we need to put more focus on style sheet optimization.

This is probably one of the more in-depth articles about web development I’ve written this year, with I believe important points for us to find more effective ways of writing CSS.

June 26, 2017:

Web development.

When I created UITest.com in 2004 I set it up to simply collect resources to build and analyze websites. Soon I focused only on featuring high quality or unique tools (for many things there’s an abundance of resources—for other things it’s really hard). I added Site Check to just generate a basic pre-filled list of whatever tools allowed direct access, so to make testing in many tools a little easier. A bookmarklet followed suit. Only last year did I also start posting new tools on Twitter. And then I wrote a little book about website quality control that was heavily inspired by both my Google work but also this work on UITest.com.

UITest.com is still quite plain and I’m not sure whether or when that would change. But hacking around this evening I got to pry the door open of something I’ve always wanted to do: make Site Check a better tool of its own. And based on a few PHP scripts I had actually written in my early time at Google (we open-sourced them but it seems they died with Google Code) I’ve introduced a very basal, very humble first nudge in that direction: Site Check’s “first impression.”

This first impression which you can now inspect with any Site Check analysis – say, here, of w3.org – simply takes a few data points and gives a thumbs up or down.

Is that useful website testing? No, rather not. But it’s an uncontroversial start. It’s one that sits nicer with many of us than a blunt unexplained number, and it’s one that I want to begin with when improving UITest.com. Expect more tools, usually one each week, and more features, probably with more individual tests, more data points, and a more reliable, better explained “first impression.”

Until then 👍

July 2, 2017:

Security.

I once (2014?) built a password generator.

And like many things it was just a test balloon and I never talked about it.

Not that I am now—there are much nicer tools than this one—, it just came to my mind. I love this about being in tech—sometimes we just hack something about, and sometimes the result is great and we do more with it, sometimes we toss it right away, and sometimes it’s just fine to have it sit around (and then it does). 😇

(For something more useful wrt security check out the Traffic Randomizer Chrome extension. At least I believe it’s useful, and I welcome ideas to make it better.)

July 13, 2017:

Stop Using Resets: Visual Examples of the Practical Nonsense of Resets and Normalizers:

Or, when Jens found out that he could just collect websites that use reset style sheets and the like, disable those style sheets, document the results and write a post with the diffs for visual evidence. All because “we ran after this mirage for more than a decade.”

July 25, 2017:

What I Learned Building Google’s Web Frameworks:

On building Google’s Go and Maia HTML/CSS frameworks, and succeeding and failing as a tech lead.

August 1, 2017:

Web Development: How Making Our Own Lives Difficult Is More Important Than We Think:

On craftsmanship. And sugar drinks.

August 24, 2017:

How to order CSS selectors.

CSS.

Positive surprise: Researching selector order standards I ran into a one-box for my own draft.

Negative surprise: After many years, there are no other proposals? I’m just working on a brief section about the need for a basic sense of selector order in my upcoming book, on CSS optimization, and now wonder whether we need more, sooner? Has anyone else touched the subject lately?

August 29, 2017:

What Kills and What Will Save Content Management Systems:

Imagine you just moved into a new place, and realize that you lack a screwdriver to put up some of your furniture (it’s not from IKEA). You ring at your neighbors’, find one who’s home, and she…

September 11, 2017:

CSS @-Rules, an Overview:

From @charset to @viewport. Or from @bottom-center to @top-right-corner.

September 12, 2017:

Web development.

Everyone can write invalid HTML and CSS. One thing that makes us experts is that we write quality code. Whether in 2000, 2010, 2020, or 2030: Experts validate.

And yes, there are exceptions. But when we validate our and other properties, rarely do we run into any exceptions that are, uhm, valid. There’s a difference between special and sloppy.

(Cf. validators on UITest.com.)

September 14, 2017:

The Cost of Frameworks, Illustrated:

A visual attempt to show how for everything built for the long run, external frameworks are a pricey crutch that has to be avoided or be thrown away at the earliest time. The reasons: quality—and cost.

October 1, 2017:

CSS.

I’ve set up CSSTidy, including a fix for it to work with https URLs.

However, it’s also a test: Is CSSTidy at all as useful as it once was? I haven’t embedded it in any dev processes in a while.

October 9, 2017:

Web development.

I like this piece by Mandy Michael. We do have a problem here because we need specialists to at all identify excellent coding practices and to enable us to write true quality code, yet what “full service” and “full stack” have bred and raised are generalists, i.e., people who may be good at one or two things but that aren’t in others.

Show me someone good in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and I show you one who’s not. Not in all three.

We also have a problem here because no website can exist without HTML, quite improbably without CSS, but definitely very clearly without JavaScript. HTML and CSS are the true necessities—and as we, some of us very familiar with CSS, have quipped many years ago, no one even masters CSS.

Yes, it’s always good to see the big picture. But it’s indeed important to specialize—and not be dinged for that by hiring standards that have the understandable but unrealistic and quality-wise harmful goal of hiring people who can do “everything.”

October 12, 2017:

CSS.

There’s a new CSS reset, reboot.css, and I’ve just added it to be caught through the Reset Style Sheet Highlighter extension (when referenced individually).

The field seems to insist on a need, but do we not learn? Does no one question the need for a reset when, upon removing it, there’s no effect? Or when there are frameworks that thrive without using any “reset,” “normalizer,” or “reboot”?

October 14, 2017:

CSS.

As with every tool, one can use it wrong. Using a knife to eat a soup is frustrating. Using a hammer to solder circuit boards is very difficult. Using !important to fix every layout problem is like using pesticides against bugs around crops: It’s tough on the environment.

…but !important is still a tool, and a useful one. A brief snippet from my upcoming book on CSS optimization ☺

Cf.

October 17, 2017:

Web development.

What is a compilation framework?

Compilation frameworks are frameworks that include third-party style sheets and scripts. These may be public reset style sheets but can extend to elaborate UI elements. Skeleton, for example, used to [still does?] build on Normalize.css; Blueprint is thought to incorporate Eric Meyer’s CSS reset. WrapBootstrap and Flat UI Pro are arguably compilation frameworks by extending Bootstrap, but we typically find the compilation framework species internally, when institutions build their own frameworks on the basis of public ones.

Yet:

[…] composite frameworks mean composite problems, and there’s extra work involved in testing and maintaining. Special attention is in order.

I’m sharing this definition as the term comes up rarely, and as I couldn’t spot any good public definitions. The snippets I lazily took from The Little Book of HTML/CSS Frameworks.

October 21, 2017:

Surveillance.

Here’s an interesting document that sheds a particular and instructive light on the severity and history of current day mass surveillance and espionage: the European Union’s Report on the Existence of a Global System for the Interception of Private and Commercial Communications (ECHELON Interception System) of 2001.

(This is an official EU document. For a shorter read and a first impression, I’ve made my own highlights available publicly.)

What happened exactly I don’t want to speculate about: How is it that we (Europeans) have known since 2001 that the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are systematically violating human rights and international law, but have not done anything about it; how did the report disappear from the news cycle; why were no connections made to it since the 2013 revelations; &c.

We knew many years before Snowden that there are mass surveillance and espionage by the “Five Eyes.”

Yet, as relevant as the report still is, as relevant are some of the conclusions and recommendations made by the rapporteur, 16 years ago; notably:

Conclusion and amendment of international agreements on the protection of citizens and firms[:]

  • States […] that the existence of a global system for intercepting communications, operating with the participation of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UKUSA Agreement, is no longer in doubt;

  • Calls on the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe to submit to the Ministerial Committee a proposal to protect private life […];

  • Calls on the Member States […] to provide all European citizens with the same legal guarantees concerning the protection of privacy and the confidentiality of correspondence; […]

  • Calls on the Member States to adopt the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as a legally binding and enforceable act at the next Intergovernmental Conference in order to raise the standard of protection for fundamental rights, particularly with regard to the protection of privacy; […]

  • Calls on the Member States to aspire to a common level of protection against intelligence operations and, to that end, to draw up a Code of Conduct […] based on the highest level of protection which exists in any Member State, since as a rule it is citizens of other states, and hence also of other Member States, that are affected by the operations of foreign intelligence services;

  • Calls on the Member States to negotiate with the USA a Code of Conduct similar to that of the EU; […]

  • Urges the Council and the Member States to establish as a matter of priority a system for the democratic monitoring and control of the autonomous European intelligence capability and other joint and coordinated intelligence activities at European level;

  • Calls on the Member States to make sure that their intelligence systems are not misused for the purposes of gathering competitive intelligence […];

  • Calls on Germany and the United Kingdom to make the authorisation of further communications interception operations by US intelligence services on their territory conditional on their compliance with the ECHR […];

  • Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to develop and implement an effective and active policy for security in the information society; […]

  • Calls on the Commission and Member States to promote software projects whose source text is made public (open-source software), as this is the only way of guaranteeing that no backdoors are built into programmes; […]

  • Calls on the European institutions and the public administrations of the Member States systematically to encrypt e-mails, so that ultimately encryption becomes the norm; […].

[…] while the exact motives may still be obscure, we’ve been dealing with reckless violation of our civil rights for around two decades now. It must stop.

October 26, 2017:

DRY CSS: How to Use Declarations Just Once, Effectively:

Using declarations just once is one way to control repetition in style sheets. It’s not a silver bullet, as we’ve seen with recent data, but it’s so powerful as to make for a key style sheet optimization method. A look at the process and examples.

November 6, 2017:

Web Development: When to Automate:

A few thoughts from an upcoming lengthier essay on minimal web development.

November 17, 2017:

CSS: The Reason Why Selectors Should Be Ordered, Too:

We’ve talked a lot about declarations as declarations are at the heart of our work with direct consequences for the quality of our style sheets. We’ve not talked much about selectors, though, and that may be a mistake.

November 20, 2017:

Web development.

Different context—hardware and programming—but for HTML and CSS I can still much relate: “I, for one, look forward to the end of the barnstorming era and the onset of the era of professional, and ethical craftsmanship.”

For that, craftsmanship, do we of course all talk about quality.

November 22, 2017:

On Big Picture Thinking in Web Development:

Thoughts on thinking outside the box, in tech, with examples ranging from selector performance to a general development vision, to illustrate how very different issues can all reach beyond their perimeter.

November 29, 2017:

Performance of CSS Selectors Is Still Irrelevant:

From my upcoming book on CSS optimization: Selector performance is not something to optimize for as the price we pay for it is, indeed, terrible: We micro-manage our work for gains that aren’t even noticeable.

December 13, 2017:

Expert Web Development: A 3rd Key Differentiator:

On complexity and how we make a mistake deducing that when Google, Facebook, or Twitter present a technical solution to a problem, we’re dealing with the same problem and need the same solution.

December 15, 2017:

Privacy Experiments: How to Auto-Generate Random Web Traffic:

I believe that privacy, which has never been about “hiding something,” is a fundamental civil right, one that is but must not be infringed on; so I once more played with randomizing personal web traffic.

January 2, 2018:

The Two Extremes of Writing CSS, and What We Can Learn from Them:

Extremes can be useful. In practice they help get the maximum out of a given approach, and in theory they can show what we’re headed to. Compare two ways of writing CSS—like Tachyons or Atomic CSS, and 2000’s idealistic coding.

January 8, 2018:

Web development.

Paul Kinlan created a nice page (with feed) featuring the latest from all Google Developers Experts: webgdedeck.com. One convenient way to follow them—us—all.

January 9, 2018:

Web development.

UITest.com is a long-term side project of mine where I regularly publish web-based development and design tools. I keep it quite simple (the site hasn’t changed all that much since 2004) but iterate just as I do with other projects. These days, I implemented some gentle design and typography changes and lightly restructured Site Check.

Site Check, indeed, is what I suggest to check out if you haven’t already. See e.g. [a test run], or pipe in your own site. Site Check performs only a few tests itself, returning a rough indicator for the tested site’s quality; but as you can tell, it gives the opportunity to immediately get the test results from by now more than 70 (!) other tools. Although there are better development tools, and better-integrated ones, I believe this has always meant great time savings, and I’ve accordingly been using Site Check myself since, of course, 2004.

If you like to help, however (and I could much use a hand), it would be most useful if you would 1) share any ideas for improvement particularly around the way the tools are organized, as well as Site Check itself (email info at uitest dot com), and 2) spread the word. I’m not a marketer, but if UITest.com has value then I like to increase this value further, but also make it more clear. For a start, UITest.com has a Twitter account (twitter.com/uitestcom) where all new tools are posted.

Thanks! 🙏

January 11, 2018:

On Material Design:

When Google introduced Material Design back in 2014, I was happy; I was happy for the team and I was happy for Google to mark another milestone on the long way of improving the aesthetics of their products. But, I was also concerned.

(More tough love for Google right after ampletter.org? This was just long ready for release.)

January 23, 2018:

UX.

Useful reminders: Jon Yablonski’s “Laws of UX: A collection of the key maxims that designers must consider when building user interfaces.”

(I wish the icons and the poster text would back up the laws more forcefully.)

January 24, 2018:

The Compact Guide to Web Maintainability: 200 Tips and Resources:

The result of reviewing, normalizing, rephrasing, sorting, and testing 134 responses to a maintainability survey that yielded more than 500 data points, to form a new guide, a new and more definite guide to web maintainability.

February 7, 2018:

How Declaration Repetition Developed over Time, a Statistically Insignificant Sample:

We know that there’s excessive declaration repetition in the Web’s style sheets, that each declaration is on average repeated 2–3 times. Now we know a little more.

February 13, 2018:

Quality.

I much like how Andrew Hunt and David Thomas have (in 1999?) applied the broken window theory to software.

February 16, 2018:

Web development.

If we put Gzip into the picture, then things look even better. That’s because a lot of repetition means a better compression ratio.

One version of a popular argument, and it’s not helping us to fight bloat.

February 19, 2018:

Quality.

There are two ways of constructing a software design: one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies; the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.

I love it 😬

February 22, 2018:

HTML.

There’s an index for all HTML elements, and with today’s update it features HTML 5.2, too.

However, I’ve decided not to feature all W3C versions of HTML “5” anymore, but only the latest: I want to limit the confusion the W3C causes with their own brew of HTML. For the latest in HTML it’s best to refer to the WHATWG specification.

March 6, 2018:

Web development.

I’m glad I could publish [We Write CSS Like We Did in the 90s, and Yes, It’s Silly] with A List Apart because I believe that the subject of how we write CSS deserves much more attention. Our whole situation, then, with great new technological possibilities, with ever better tools, and yet some really old ways much intrigues me.

March 14, 2018:

User-Centered Web Development:

A few thoughts on how as developers, we certainly have users.

April 12, 2018:

CSS Optimization Basics:

My latest little book, covering mindsets needed for writing effective style sheets, optimization options during operation and for production, and useful resources to aid and inform the work with CSS. (Pay what you want.)

May 8, 2018:

Web development.

The video for my talk at beyond tellerrand, on the dangers of being a web developer (and the awesomeness of our field), is live. 🙏 #btconf

June 27, 2018:

The Craft of CSS:

An interlude of sort.

July 5, 2018:

AMP, a Strategy:

There are problems with AMP. Three ideas on how to work with it.

July 10, 2018:

Web development.

To me, view-source: is so great and important because it anchors the idea that web development is, in essence, simple and for everyone. And it is, no matter how hard we try to make it complicated, and therefore I wish view-source: to remain a feature, forever.

Cf.

July 27, 2018:

News and information transfer.

How fitting when you learn that Mozilla Firefox removes native feed support through your feed reader.

In 20 years on the Internet, I still haven’t seen anything more effective to stay informed than RSS or Atom syndication feeds. But though browsers will influence the development, for this statement it’s still a bigger problem when sites stop to offer feeds than when browsers drop support. (We’ll see what site owners decide to do.)

I believe the better route would have been to make it easier, really really easy, to understand, subscribe to, and manage feeds for the less technical users. We left that road when Google shot down Google Reader. I believe that was a disservice to the Web, one that now reached Mozilla.

August 13, 2018:

CSS.

For sum.cumo I’ve reviewed the base configuration of stylelint as well as our own adjustments. I liked inspecting stylelint more thoroughly; it’s pretty powerful and the standard config sound.

My only (public) override recommendations:

  • disable declaration-no-important (rationale)
  • set number-leading-zero to never

Optionally for rather a matter of taste (and then something to bring even closer in line with e.g. our old guidelines at Google), I also suggest to

  • set function-url-quotes to never
  • set string-quotes to single
  • set declaration-block-semicolon-newline-after to always
  • set rule-empty-line-before to always

This isn’t complete, this is even ignoring that in the meantime, I’ve joined the wider stylelint team (in some unspecified capacity), but it reflects the notes I took a few weeks ago. Swimming in a sea of code.

September 25, 2018:

A Short Guide to Minimal Web Development:

There’s an art and even a bit of magic around simple frontend code. Writing such code comes with a few preconditions: perhaps a firm understanding of core technologies, a lot of practice, public scrutiny, and then some. Thoughts.

October 8, 2018:

CSS.

In my column at heise I’ve recently sketched how style sheet quality is quite a particular topic—and in sum.cumo’s blog I’ve explained in English.

After all, so it seems, we’ve survived 20 years of CSS without much validating.

October 30, 2018:

EOT—consider following me on twitter.com/j9t instead.

Goodbye, Google+.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of December 23, 2018.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a tech lead and author (sum.cumo, W3C, O’Reilly). He experiments with philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Goodreads. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

Read More

Have a look at the most popular posts, possibly including:

Say hello on Twitter 👋

Looking for a way to comment? Comments have been disabled, unfortunately.

Found a mistake? Email me, jens@meiert.org.

You are here: HomeArchive2019 → What Happened on Google+, the Web Development Archives

Last update: March 9, 2019

Digital rights and the protection of animals and nature are important. I support the EFF, Mercy for Animals, and Greenpeace.