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Robin Rendle

Writer, designer, type nerd.

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The Codification of Design

Jonathan Snook on managing the complexity between what designers make and what developers end up building:

Everything that a designer draws in a Sketch or Photoshop file needs to be turned into code. Code needs to be developed, delivered to the user, and maintained by the team.

That means that complexity in design can lead to complexity in code.

That’s not to say that complexity isn’t allowed. However, it is important to consider what the impact of that complexity is—especially

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The “Developer Experience” Bait-and-Switch

Alex Russell describes his thoughts on the current state of JavaScript and how we might sometimes put a ton of focus on the ease-of-use of development at the expense of user experience. So, for example, we might pick a massive framework to make development easier and faster but then that might have an enormous impact on the user.

Alex describes it as substituting “developer value for user value.”

The “developer experience” bait-and-switch works by appealing to the listener’s parochial interests

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Removing jQuery from GitHub.com frontend

Here’s how and why the team at GitHub has slowly been deprecating jQuery from their codebase:

We have recently completed a milestone where we were able to drop jQuery as a dependency of the frontend code for GitHub.com. This marks the end of a gradual, years-long transition of increasingly decoupling from jQuery until we were able to completely remove the library. In this post, we will explain a bit of history of how we started depending on jQuery in the

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XOXO 2018

There’s not much talk about frameworks here. There’s no shaming about old techniques, or jokes about JavaScript. There’s just a couple hundred people all around me laughing and smiling and watching talks about making things on the web and it all feels so fresh and new to me. Unlike many other conferences I’ve visited, these talks are somehow inclusive and rather feel, well, there’s no other word for it: inspiring.

I’m sitting in a little room buried underneath the … Read article

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Customise radio buttons without compromising accessibility

Here’s a nifty post by Chen Hui Jing where she walks us through her process for making radio buttons accessible via keyboard. I particularly enjoyed this bit where she discusses the four options that are available to us to hide the radio input and replace them with a selection of cards that act like toggles instead:

Most of us mess up the keyboard navigation portion of things when we hide the input element. There are several ways to make something

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Designing With Code

Wall Street Journal design director Matthew Ström on something near and dear to me: the link between code and design tools:

We’re in the middle of a design tool renaissance. In the 8 years since Sketch 1.0 was released, there’s been a wave of competition among traditional design tools. And as the number of tools available to designers grows exponentially, ideas that were once considered fringe are finding a broader audience.

One of these ideas will significantly change the

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Creating the “Perfect” CSS System

My pal Lindsay Grizzard wrote about creating a CSS system that works across an organization and all of the things to keep in mind when starting a new project:

Getting other developers and designers to use the standardized rules is essential. When starting a project, get developers onboard with your CSS, JS and even HTML conventions from the start. Meet early and often to discuss every library, framework, mental model, and gem you are interested in using and take feedback

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The Cost of JavaScript in 2018

Even though we mentioned it earlier, I thought this outstanding post by Addy Osmani all about the performance concerns of JavaScript was still worth digging into a little more.

In that post, Addy touches on all aspects of perf work and how we can fix some of the most egregious issues, from setting up a budget to “Time-to-Interactive” measurements and auditing your JavaScript bundles.… Read article

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Framer X

Framer X is a brand new app that’s about to be released and this quick demo reel takes us on a tour through some of the changes to the previous app—it all looks super exciting.

As a designer, I’m most interested in the prototyping tools and being able to quickly explore complex scene transitions between one state and another. But as a developer, I’m interested in how it all ties into React. The website describes it like so:

Use actual

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The peculiar magic of flexbox and auto margins

In front-end development, there are often times when I know that I don’t know something. I might know enough to know what CSS to search for, but I have absolutely no idea how to use it or what the right syntax is. Somehow, in my head, there appears to be a filing cabinet that’s entirely empty, and when I try to look something up, all I find is an almost illegible sticky note instead.

One topic like this (which is … Read article

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Did you know that style and script tags can be set to display: block?

The other night, Amit Patel mentioned that you can set script tags in HTML to display: block with CSS and then edit that code inline with the contentEditable attribute. This means that you can then see it all update live in the browser as you type. Shortly after, Marius Gundersen replied that you can do this with the style tag as well.… Read article

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Your Body Text is Too Small

Several years ago, there was a big push by designers to increase the font-size of websites and I feel like we’re living in another era of accessibility improvements where a fresh batch of designers are pushing for even larger text sizing today. Take this post by Christian Miller, for example, where he writes:

The majority of websites are still anywhere in the range of 15–18px. We’re starting to see some sites adopt larger body text at around 20px or even

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Font Playground

This is a wondrous little project by Wenting Zhang that showcases a series of variable fonts and lets you manipulate their settings to see the results. It’s interesting that there’s so many tools like this that have been released over the past couple of months, such as v-fonts, Axis-Praxis and Wakamai Fondue just to name a few.… Read article

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CSS: A New Kind of JavaScript

In this wacky and satirical post, Heydon Pickering describes a wild new technology called Cascading Style Sheets that solves a lot of the problems you might bump into when styling things with JavaScript:

A good sign that a technology is not fit for purpose is how much we have to rely on workarounds and best practices to get by. Another sign is just how much code we have to write in order to get simple things done. When it comes

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Design Systems at GitHub

Here’s a nifty post by Diana Mounter all about the design systems team at GitHub that details how the team was formed, the problems they've faced and how they've adapted along the way:

When I started working at GitHub in late 2015, I noticed that there were many undocumented patterns, I had to write a lot of new CSS to implement designs, and that there weren’t obvious underlying systems connecting all the pieces together. I knew things could be better

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itty.bitty

Mark this down as one of the strangest things I’ve seen in a good long while. Nicholas Jitkoff has made a tool called itty.bitty that creates websites with all of the assets being contained within their own link. You can create a website without any HTML or CSS resources at all because it’s all been base64 encoded into the URL itself.… Read article

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Prototyping in the Browser

Prototyping animations and interactions is vital for a number of reasons: they can make your interface feel deceptively fast, they can help focus the user on a specific task, and they can provide a better sense of the current state of your application. Is data being loaded? Is something now unclickable? How long do they have to wait until they can perform an action?… Read article

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Better rendering for variable fonts

I was messing around with a variable font the other day and noticed this weird rendering issue in the latest version of Chrome where certain parts of letterforms were clipping into each other in a really weird way. Thankfully, though, Stephen Nixon has come to the rescue with a temporary hack to fix the issue which using a text-shadow on the text that’s using the variable font:

.variable-font {
  text-shadow: 0 0 0 #000; /* text color goes last here 
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World wide wrist

After all the hubbub with WWDC over the past couple of days, Ethan Marcotte is excited about the news that the Apple Watch will be able to view web content.

He writes:

If I had to guess, I’d imagine some sort of “reader mode” is coming to the Watch: in other words, when you open a link on your Watch, this minified version of WebKit wouldn’t act like a full browser. Instead of rendering all your scripts, styles, and

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The web can be anything we want it to be

I really enjoyed this chat between Bruce Lawson and Mustafa Kurtuldu where they talked about browser support and the health of the web. Bruce expands upon a lot of the thoughts in a post he wrote last year called World Wide Web, Not Wealthy Western Web where he writes:

...across the world, regardless of disposable income, regardless of hardware or network speed, people want to consume the same kinds of goods and services. And if your websites are made for

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