On Style Maintenance

I was talking to a brilliant engineer friend the other day who mentioned they never get to build anything from the ground up. Their entire career has consisted of maintaining other people's (often quite poor) code.

In a perfect world, we'd all get to write code from scratch, it would work perfectly, and we would put it into a bin in the sky, never to be looked at by anyone again.

We all know that's not how it works. Code need to be maintained.


The Challenge of Constructive Criticism and How to Get It

Something that has been on my mind lately is how we talk about the deliverables we work on as designers and developers. There are plenty of times when we want feedback on our projects and turn to our friends, co-workers, colleagues, Twitter, and all kinds of other people for their honest opinions about the quality of our work.

But this can be problematic. The feedback we get is often not what we hoped for. In some cases, it can feel personal, which is almost never what we hope for.

Managing the way we seek, request, and respond to feedback can have major implications on the end result of our work. This post will cover some tips and tricks for having those dialogues.


WordPress Without Shame

Even-handed take on WordPress by Gina Trapani. I've been unapologetically on WordPress for a long time.

I also can't wait to see what the future of it will be:

Automattic’s React-based Calypso rewrite of the WordPress admin is a clear sign that at least the leaders of the community are trying to reimagine what a WordPress born in 2016 would look like. Eventually? Soon?

SVG Charting Libraries

I rounded up the ones I know about, mentioned a bunch of considerations you might want to think about when choosing, and linked up some demos.

And don't forget you can create them by yourself, too!

Building a Website Performance Monitor

A couple of months ago I wrote about using WebPageTest, and more specifically its RESTful API, to monitor the performance of a website. Unarguably, the data it provides can translate to precious information for engineers to tweak various parts of a system to make it perform better.

But how exactly does this tool sit within your development workflow? When should you run tests and what exactly do you do with the results? How do you visualise them?



Wenting Zhang created 512 (!) icons with just HTML and CSS. Usually just one element, the occasional extra element thrown in, and drawn with things like borders, backgrounds, and box-shadows.

Looks like the same bug bit Wenting that bit Nicolas Gallagher. Taking the shapes that CSS can make and combining them to draw.

Predictably, I'm going to point out that SVG would be a more-ideal tool for this. Less fragile, easier to maintain and style, scaleable, etc. I mention that not to take away from this impressive project, but because I'd love to see a similar project where the icons are drawn with hand-crafted paths and golfed.

SVG & Media Queries

Jake Archibald digs into how bizarrely media queries can behave when embedded into a <style> block inside the SVG itself and then used in a variety of different ways across different browsers. The results are spotty at best.

It would be nice to see this reined in, but I wouldn't worry too much about it in general. Inline SVG doesn't seem to have any trouble and I wouldn't trust an <img> do anything fancy like have internal media queries anyway.

#149: A Quick Intro to Pattern Lab Node with Brian Muenzenmeyer

In this screencast I pair up with Brian Muenzenmeyer who, among other things, works on Pattern Lab. Specifically, the Node version of Pattern Lab, along with Geoff Pursell.

I should point out: this screencast barely scratched the surface of what Pattern Lab offers. It's not a comprehensive overview. Brian said a recent 8 hour workshop couldn't even cover it all. The topics covered in this screencast are:

  1. What is Pattern Lab?
  2. Why would I use it?
  3. Getting it
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