This week we’re shifting gears because we’ve finally got the upper hand over our old RSS robot. From now on these emails will quickly sum up what’s been going on over on CSS-Tricks but we also want to link to things that didn’t receive as much attention as we think they deserve.

Here’s what we’ve published this week:

✻ I Learned How to be Productive in React in a Week and You Can, Too: Sarah takes a look at some myths of React development and walks us through her initial experiences.

✻ Choosing the Right Markdown Parser: Ray Villalobos writes about the differences between the various markdown parsers that are out there.

✻ Building and Maintaining Optimizely’s UI Library: Tom Genoni explores the thinking behind a framework that he and his team at Optimizely have been working on.

✻ Extending Sass with PostCSS: Chris looks at a post by Ashley Nolan and states why he’s a little worried that it’s possible to be “coding on an island” if your approach with PostCSS is to simply replicate all the features of Sass.


✻ Over on the Almanac, Geoff and Chris looked at ::placeholder and :placeholder-shown which is a little confusing but they broke it down to this:
 

What we’ve been reading, listening and watching

 

CSS Variables are heading to Chrome 49:

CSS variables, more accurately known as CSS custom properties, are landing in Chrome 49. They can be useful for reducing repetition in CSS, and also for powerful runtime effects like theme switching and potentially extending/polyfilling future CSS features.
But Sass already has this feature you might say–why is this a big deal now? Well, with CSS variables it’s possible to define them multiple times, which will help us if we ever need to adjust the gutters or margins of a grid inside a media query. We can also use CSS variables in conjunction with the Shadow DOM: authors of web components can give us an API into parts of their interface with a variable, like --button-background. And this will help us safely theme them, without the potential danger of destroying any of the other styles in the component.
(Notice the dark theme now available in DevTools?!)

dotCSS Conference 2015:

Dan Eden’s talk about writing (and removing) CSS at Dropbox is particularly interesting, as is Chris Eppstein’s talk on who CSS is designed for. Looking towards the future, Rachel Andrew’s discussion about the New CSS Layout is fascinating and also kind of scary. She notes that the spec for Flexbox and Grid are wonderful in theory, but Rachel is a little cautious about how they might be abused by designers in practice. And in Editing Images in CSS, Una Kravets walks through how blend-modes can be used to manipulate images similar to how we might use a photo editing app.


Controlling font performance with font-display:

Did you know that browsers disagree about how to load web fonts? When loading a new web font some browsers have no timeout for the request and so sometimes the text of a webpage will remain invisible. There are ways to control this with a web font loader, but Rob Dodson has written a great post that looks at another possible solution with a new property called font-display.



In other news around the web


A note from the archives


International box-sizing awareness day has now become a holiday celebrated by millions all over the world, but did you know that border-box is actually supposed to be its default value anyways? For more on that you can read about this incomplete list of mistakes in the design of CSS.

 

What have you learnt this week?


Chris Coyier: I was at an SNDMakes event this past weekend, which is a prototyping event based around community. It was held at the (crazy beautiful) Cards Against Humanity offices in Chicago, and I learned that the CAH folks are lovely and accommodating. The team I was on was Nicole Zhu from Knight LabAllyson Wakeman from The Second City, and Charlie Hall from Polygon. We built a prototype of a website to connect gamemakers and playtesters called I Want In. We used Middleman to do it, which was fun to learn as it shares so many similarities to Rails (which I work in every day), yet outputs a totally static website.



Until next month!
Team CSS-Tricks
CSS-Tricks wants you to be more informed about the web.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list