In the work that we do on the Web (as well as in our daily lives), we’re often confronted, informed, or judged based on averages. I never really stopped to think about it, beyond being bugged by the fact that averages aren’t truly representative of reality. Then I listened to 99% Invisible’s episode “On Average”. It was incredibly enlightening and the stories shared in that episode provide sage wisdom that is very relevant to the work that we do.
Dispatches From the Internets
Late last week, Josh Korr, a project manager at Viget, posted at length about what he sees as a fundamental flaw with the argument for progressive enhancement. In reading the post, it became clear to me that Josh really doesn’t have a good grasp on progressive enhancement or the reasons its proponents think it’s a good philosophy to follow. Despite claiming to be “an expert at spotting fuzzy rhetoric and teasing out what’s really being said”, Josh makes a lot of false assumptions and inferences. My response would not have fit in a comment, so here it is…
Ten years ago today:
Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. User #12,028 (back when they were still sequential).
I am a bit of a geek for proper punctuation: Em dashes… en dashes… curly quotes… ellipses… I love them all! Prior to 2007, I was a long-time Windows user and was a master of the Alt + numeric code system of entering special characters on that operating system.1 For nearly a decade, however, I’ve been writing and developing on a Mac and I absolutely love how much easier it is to use special characters. When I started setting up my new Surface Book, I began searching for a way to bring Mac-like special character entry to Windows 10.
The Web Bloat Score Calculator has been making the rounds on Twitter and I wanted to share my immediate thoughts on it.
Full disclosure: We both work at Microsoft, but on different teams. ↩
This is my son Oscar. In case you can’t see the picture, he looks nothing like me because he’s adopted. He’s also friggin’ adorable, but that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because my son is black and despite the fact that he will grow up in a family that has the means to provide him with a good education and far more opportunity than a lot of children in America—including me—the sheer fact that his skin is dark means he will grow up in a far different America than I did.
Sixteen years ago, Stewart Butterfield conceived of a contest that would test the mettle of any web designer: The 5k. The idea was that entrants would build an entire site in 5kB of code or less. Its aim was to force us to get creative by putting a bounding box on what we could do:
Between servers and bandwidth, clients and users, HTML and the DOM, browsers and platforms, our conscience and our ego, we’re left in a very small space to find highly optimal solutions. Since the space we have to explore is so small, we have to look harder, get more creative; and that’s what makes it all interesting.
In two back-to-back, potentially NSFW posts discussing web development vs. native development, Eran Hammer covered a lot of the pain points encountered in each. For instance, on the Web, you’ve got rendering and user interface inconsistencies between browsers. On the other hand, retention for native apps is notoriously crappy.
The other day I got a message from someone I’ve been mentoring via email. His question was one I think a lot of folks in our industry struggle with:
Can you please tell what are keys to success and what should I do to become a successful programmer and software engineer? Anything is appreciated.