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I Learned How to be Productive in React in a Week and You Can, Too

This article is not intended for seasoned React pros, but rather, those of us who make websites for a living and are curious how React can help us reason about updating user interfaces. I’ve been intrigued by React for some time, and now that it has gained some standing in the community as well as good reviews, the time to learn it seemed justified. There are so many new technologies constantly emerging in front end development that it’s sometimes hard to know if effort into learning something new will pay off. I’ll spend this article going over what I think some of the most valuable practical takeaways are so that you can get started.

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The `background-clip` Property and its Use Cases

background-clip is one of those properties I've known about for years, but rarely used. Maybe just a couple of times as part of a solution to a Stack Overflow question. Until last year, when I started creating my huge collection of sliders. Some of the designs I chose to reproduce were a bit more complex and I only had one element available per slider, which happened to be an input element, meaning that I couldn't even use pseudo-elements on it. Even though that does work in certain browsers, the fact that it works is actually a bug and I didn't want to rely on that. All this meant I ended up using backgrounds, borders, and shadows a lot. I also learned a lot from doing that and this article shares some of those lessons.

Before anything else, let's see what background-clip is and what it does.

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​Sponsor: O’Reilly Fluent Conference  

This year, the O'Reilly Fluent Conference (March 7-10 in San Francisco) brings you new 2-day, in-depth training courses in topics like React, CSS Layouts, Website Planning and Design. You'll also find case studies, introductions to new tools and technologies, best practices, inspiring keynotes, the ever-lively expo hall, and nonstop networking opportunities. Take a look at the schedule and see how it measures up against the problems you need to solve or the things you promised yourself you'd learn. Fluent could just be the best thing you do for your career in 2016.

Take 30% off your registration when you use the code CSS30.

Building & Maintaining OUI (Optimizely’s UI Library): Part 1/2

The following is a guest post by Tom Genoni. Tom is going to introduce us to the thinking and process behind Optimizely's new UI library / Sass framework. Part 2, by Daniel O'Connor, looks at some of the technical and integration bits.

When I first started working on web projects, stylesheets were seen as a necessary evil. It was neither a real language to be taken seriously by a computer-science minded engineer nor simple enough for a designer to fully own and understand. With few best practices, organization of the CSS was always ad hoc—“type styles in this section, colors in that section”—and every company did it differently. But as web applications, and the teams building them, grew larger and more complex it became harder to manage ballooning codebases while maintaining consistency across teams and projects.

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Hey, Look What Day It Is  

One of my favorite self-declared holidays.

Interesting tidbit. It was considered a mistake by the CSS Working Group:

Box-sizing should be border-box by default.

Choosing the Right Markdown Parser

The following is a guest post by Ray Villalobos. Ray is going to explore many of the different varietals of Markdown. All of them offer features beyond what the original Markdown can do, but they offer different features amongst themselves. If you're choosing a version to use (or a version you're offering to users on your web product), it pays to know what you are getting into, as it's difficult to switch once you've chosen and there is content out there that depends on those features. Ray, who has a course on Markdown, is going to share which versions have which features to help you make an informed choice.

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#143: Using and Caching Third-Party JSON with WordPress

On the design of CSS-Tricks as I record this, one of the things I wanted to add was a "Front End Design & Development Jobs" widget, powered by the CodePen Job Board. Those jobs are available as JSON data.

Couldn't we just do an Ajax request for that and use it? Perhaps a little JavaScript Templating? Sure, we could. But Ajax requests are async. I'm picturing a little spinner on every page load, waiting for the data …

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