Articles by
Chris Coyier

Founder, writer, designer, spam-deleter, email personality

The Four Big Ways Jetpack Helps with Image Performance

We've been working with Jetpack around here as a sponsor. It's a great match because as someone with a bunch of self-hosted WordPress sites, Jetpack is one of those no-brainer plugins for me. Jetpack can do a ton of good things for any site in a variety of very different ways. Here's one way to think about it: it brings the power of WordPress' own massive servers to you.

For now, let's just focus on one angle of what Jetpack can do for you: image performance. Jetpack does a ton for you in this regard, solving some non-trivial performance upgrades. Let's take a look at what I see as the four big boosts you get from Jetpack on your images.

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Here’s the thing about “unused CSS” tools

There are a lot of tools that aim to help you remove "unused CSS" from your project. Never a week goes by that I don't see a tool for this being shared or promoted. It must strike some kind of perfect chord for some developers. I care about performance, and I know that reducing file sizes is good for performance. Indeed, it is. I bet we have CSS that is unused in our stylesheets, if we removed that, that's a performance win. Yep, it would be. We should automate that. Ehhhhhh, I'm not so sure.

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Your Brain on Front-End Development

Part of the job of being a front-end developer is applying different techniques and technologies to pull off the desired UI and UX. Perhaps you work with a design team and implement their designs. I know when I look at a design (heck, even if I know I'm not going to be building it), my front-end brain starts triggering all sorts of things I know will be related to the task.

Let's take a look at what I mean.

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#160: The All-Powerful Front-End Developer

The internet is, without metaphor, just a bunch of servers tied together with wires. Without servers, we'd have no way to share our creations with the world. Yet, in a bit of a paradox, servers are less essential to our work than they've ever been. We can now do things on the front-end that used to require a back end. When we do need a backend, our front-end skills can be put to work, giving us some surprisingly powerful new abilities.

The site that goes along with this talk is: The Power of Serverless for Front-End Developers (thepowerofserverless.info).

Thanks to An Event Apart for sponsoring this! I originally created and gave this talk at An Event Apart in early 2018. It was part of a larger whole because the editorial team at AEA works closely with the speakers. At AEA, you’ll find that each presentation sheds light on the next—that the event is not merely a collection of disparate talks, but a curated, cutting-edge curriculum for the modern designer, coder, and strategist. A curriculum that continues after the conference ends, with slides, articles, videos and other resources shared freely on our website.

At An Event Apart, you won’t just learn what’s happening right now. You’ll also look ahead to what’s next.

Frustration

Jeremy Keith talks about a couple of recent frustrating moments in his life. One regarding a musical instrument, one involving a build process:

That feeling of frustration I get from having wiring issues with a musical instrument is the same feeling I get whenever something goes awry with my web server. I know just enough about servers to be dangerous. When something goes wrong, I feel very out of my depth, and again, I have no idea how long it will take the fix the problem: minutes, hours, days, or weeks.

I echo his later sentiment that moments like these become great writing opportunities.

I'd say that it's always OK to experience frustration. It doesn't make you a lesser developer, at any level. But at the same time, the more experienced of a developer you become, less things will trigger that frustration, because of the resources you've built up to deal with those situations. Notice Jeremy didn't give up and a co-worker came to the rescue.

Transmit Droplets

Ethan Marcotte documented his workflow for storing GIFs in a web directory. Sometimes just SFTPing files into a folder is as fancy a workflow as you need, and in fact, modern workflows don't have anything on it!

I've also used Transmit's fancy features for this kind of thing. I prefer saving the connection as a Droplet, which is basically a little application you can drop a file onto and have it upload to exactly where you want it...say a GIF in a specific server directory.

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