CodePen Embedded Pen Upgrades

They now:

  1. Have an all-new design that allows for a split-view (code on the left, preview on the right) when the responsive design allows.
  2. Can be editable.

Along with all the same great features they have always had like themes (total design control! change all your embeds at once!) and optional click-to-play (for increased performance).

Learning to Use Google Analytics More Effectively at CodePen

Here's how most people use Google Analytics: you copy and paste the default tracking snippet into your templates. Look at the pageview data that comes in. That's all good, but that isn't the most useful analytics for many sites. Google Analytics can track just about anything. It's very flexible and very powerful. Philip Walton and I co-wrote this article to show you how to do some custom GA stuff to help you collect data you maybe didn't know you could collect and how you can look at that data in useful ways.


Seriously, Just Make a Pen

The original title of this post was "Seriously, Just Make a JSFiddle". It was written before I beame the co-founder of CodePen. It's no secret or surprise that CodePen was inspired by apps like JSFiddle and JSBin. It's my job to point you to CodePen and my opinion that it's a good choice for you.

Has anyone ever asked you for help troubleshooting some combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and they copy and paste the entirety of all the files into an email or forum post? It's super common, and so consider this an intervention. When you are having trouble figuring something out:


Reduced Test Cases

If you are having trouble with something while building a webpage, the most helpful thing you can possibly do is start building a reduced test case. "Trouble" could be anything: the CSS isn't doing what you think it should, the JavaScript isn't behaving right, there are cross-browser issues, etc. In the process of creating a reduced test case, you will either:

  • Find out it was a mistake you made, help you isolate it, and fix it (or have a great test page for asking for help)
  • Discover a true bug, and arm you with the perfect demo to present to the people responsible.

So what is a reduced test case, anyway? A reduced test case is a demo/example page you create which reproduces the problem you are having with the least amount of code possible. Only the HTML needed to show the problem content. Only CSS that is related to that reduced HTML. Only the JavaScript related to the problem functionality at hand.

Reduced test cases are the absolute, no doubt about it, number one way to troubleshoot bugs. In fact, some people contribute to open source projects simply by turning bug reports into reduced test cases for more experienced developers to explore. Here is how you might get started creating one from your problems...