Beginner Articles

A Guide to 2017 Conferences

Back by popular demand! It's difficult to keep track of all of the great talks and conferences happening in our industry. Sometimes you may find out too late that an event is taking place, and it's a real shame when it's an something you might have attended. We've compiled this list so you can see what's happening, both in your hometown, and abroad. This list will be updated throughout the year.

If you have a conference to add, we're happy to put it in! Please use the form at the bottom of the post.

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Web Animation Workshops

I’m thrilled to announce a brand new workshop series I’m starting with Val Head about web animation! We’ll be taking two-day workshop around to different cities starting this November, starting with Austin and New York. Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been diving into animation already, this course won’t just get you started- you’ll leave with all the tools necessary to make subtle and beautiful web animations, and how to pick the right tools for the job.

Val and I both have been speaking and giving workshops around the world, and together we make a venn diagram of strength and knowledge about how to animate on the web. We’ll be covering everything from theory, to technique, to bug fixes and cross-browser stability. We both focus on accessibility and performance. You’ll learn how to make great animation decisions both from a design and technology perspective. We’ll cover working with SVG, CSS, and JavaScript technologies, both native and API. We’ll discuss complex animations, responsive animations, and UX animations, and go over when to use each. You won’t find this much web animation knowledge packed into one workshop anywhere else!

To make sure you get as much out of these workshops as possible we’re keeping the the class sizes small. Each workshop is limited to 40 participants and will include hands-on exercises to get you started.

What the heck is the event loop anyway?

In 2014, Philip Roberts gave a great talk at JSConf EU, walking through the event loop and breaking down what JavaScript is doing under the hood for those of us without CS degrees. I came across this talk the other day in my Twitter stream, and really enjoyed it. Even though it's a couple years old, it has stood the test of time and remains a great resource.

Debugging CSS Keyframe Animations

Creating CSS animations may be about learning the syntax, but mastering a beautiful and intuitive-feeling animation requires a bit more nuance. Since animations command so much attention, it's important to refine our code to get the timing right and debug things when they go wrong. After tackling this problem myself, I thought I'd collect some of the tools that exist to aid in this process.

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Beginner Concepts: How CSS Selectors Work

Are you new to CSS? This article is for you! Perhaps the biggest key to understanding CSS is understanding selectors. Selectors are what allows you to target specific HTML elements and apply style to them. Let's not think about style right now though, let's just focus on the selecting.

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Abbr’s for Web Nerd Acronyms

I'm really lazy about using <abbr></abbr> tags for acronyms. Most people who read a techy blog like this probably understand them, but surely there are some visitors who don't where a simple tooltip explanation would be beneficial. Maybe with this easy copy-and-paste resource to reference I'll actually start doing it. This is an education blog, after all. (more…)

CSS is to HTML as a CMS is to… HTML

From the desk of important beginner concepts:

You have a website with 100 pages on it. All 100 pages use the same style.css file. You'd like to change the background color of every single page. You make one adjustment in the CSS file, and that background color adjustment will be reflected across all 100 pages. You don't need to edit each of those pages individually. That's the core benefit behind CSS: abstracting the design away from the markup.

Now you want to make another change to those 100 pages. You'd like to include the publication date underneath the title of each of the pages. That is something you'll need to edit the HTML to do. If those 100 pages are based on a template, as they would be when using a CMS (Content Management System), you can make one adjustment to the template file and the date adjustment will be reflected across all 100 pages. That's the core benefit behind a CMS: abstracting the content away from the markup.

The point is that once a website is any more than one page, there are going to be shared resources and it's time to use a CMS. Just as the zen garden taught us that using CSS is vital to allow design freedom and make redesigns easier, the ultimate freedom comes from also using a CMS where we also aren't locked to any specific HTML. HTML isn't for content these days, it's for describing content. Databases are for content.

I have made this scientific chart to drive home the awesomeness of this all.

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