Posts tagged: development

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22 November, 2017

Smashing Magazine moves to a JAM stack architecture

Smashing Magazine, the much beloved and prolific resource for web designers and developers, has relaunched with a new design and new membership model. At the same time, it migrated from a variety of platforms which ran its publishing, comments, e-commerce, user management and more, over to a new technology platform and sets a new benchmark in what can be achieved with what was once thought of a basic, static architecture. And it is now live, for Smashing’s several million monthly visitors, on Netlify. (Also my new home)

Smashing Magazine redesign

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27 March, 2017

Keeping a Jamstack Site Feeling Fresh With Recent Tweets

Having somewhere on your site to show a few of your recent tweets is a common requirement. Twitter provides some easy ways to embed tweets or twitter feeds onto your site via Javascript, but I’m keen to remove external javascript dependencies from my site. It helps the site to render more quickly, and lets me control exactly how it looks.

But for a static site, it would be a pain to need to compile and deploy after every tweet. Luckily, by stitching together some simple tools, this can all happen automagically whenever a new tweet is posted.

Fresh slice

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1 August, 2016

Isomorphic Rendering on the JAMstack

I have been experimenting with something that seemed obvious to me for a while. A web development model which gives a pre-rendered, ready-to-consume, straight-into-the-eyeballs web page at every URL of a site. One which, once loaded then behaves like a client-side, single page app.

The fact that so many frameworks set about this with all manner of complex add-ons and machinery gave me cause to think I was missing something big. So I built a simple proof of concept with a static site generator to see if this model could work. I’m pretty pleased with it. Let me talk you through the approach and show you the result.

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1 February, 2016

Progressive Enhancement Design Smackdown

Seven years ago I picked a fight. It was during my first few months of working at an agency and I was full of pith and vinegar. I was entering a place where building for the open web was not traditionally valued as much as I felt it should be, and so I began making my case and being disruptive.

Feathers were ruffled. Debates were had.

Hawk vs Wall

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5 November, 2014

The Shapes of Web Views

A few nice folks around the web have been sharing visualisations of the most popular viewport sizes appearing in the analytics for their sites. I thought these were beautiful and useful and wanted to make it easier for people to create their own and highlight the need for responsive web design.

The most common viewports used to view this site

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14 November, 2013

On Hiring Developers

Recently, I made a comment on twitter about how I think developers can make it easier for employers to recruit them. It sparked a little discussion which has been hard to summarise in 140 characters, so here’s a short blog post to try to clarify my point.

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29 November, 2012

Simplicity and performance with static files

I’ve been beating a drum recently, and it has a lot to do with pursuing simplicity in technical architectures. I want to allow for optimizations where it matter most and avoid the kind of technical and functional bloat you can get through using some CMS platforms. So I was delighted when a colleague recently shared a link to Kyle Rush’s post which demonstrates some huge value in this approach on the Obama fund-rising campaign site.

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25 July, 2012

Bootstrapping front-end development with Yeoman

Recently Addy Osmani posted a sneak peek at, which is described as a client-side stack, comprised of tools and frameworks that can help developers build beautiful web applications. For me, this is incredibly timely as at R/GA we have been making some effort to build tools to help us streamline our front-end development efforts, and keep the quality high.

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3 November, 2011

Excessive Enhancement at Full Frontal

In a few days I will be speaking at Full Frontal in Brighton. This conference, now in its third year, has done a great job of capturing so much of what is important and exciting to many front-end web developers.

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19 September, 2011

Value in a happy hack day

A few weeks ago at The Team, inspired by the Atlassian model of FedEx days which we have have successfully employed before, we managed to make some time for the development team to spend the day away from the office to work on something for themselves. No clients and no managers, just our own requirements and some time to work in new ways together. It yielded some valuable results.

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9 September, 2011

Expectations of web development at agencies

Recently I was involved in an very short bit of consultancy for an e-commerce company. We were focussing on the performance of their site in the browser, and they were more than a little surprised at the software engineering rigour that we exhibited given that we are just an agency. Perhaps we’re thought of us web development production lines who churn out web sites. That’s not my view.

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10 August, 2009

In defense of IE6

No really! Read that title again. I’m about to argue against placing so much blame for painful Web development at the door of Internet Explorer 6. I’m not going try and claim that IE6 isn’t a huge pain in the arse of all good Web developers. Let’s face it, Web developers love to bitch about it, but I do think that it’s time for some accountability.

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27 July, 2009

Flash v Web. Behind enemy lines

OK, I’m being over dramatic, but sometimes it does feel like I’m on a bit of a stealth mission. Pity that I forgot to bring any stealth! I’ve been working here at The Team for 3 months now and am enjoying myself greatly, but there is an issue that challenges me on a daily basis. That is that we do a lot of Flash work here, and yet I’m a big advocate of using Open Web Technologies.

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15 February, 2009

Mashing up flickr in the client with jQuery

Recently I saw Tim Stevens post on Twitter about a slide show he had built using his Liveloom application. His slide show grabs some photos from Flickr tagged with ‘Osmosoft’ and then renders them with all manner of visual effects using Flex. While the visual effects available via Tim’s app are impressive, I’m a big advocate of open web standards and enjoy making things from HTML and Javascript, rather than using tools like Flex.

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5 January, 2009

Unobtrusify your Javascript

Recently Jon Lister, a colleague of mine at Osmosoft showed me a website made by his friend Joshua Bradley. The site, used some of the Javscript code from TiddlyWiki’s animation engine to create some nice visual effects. I loved the design, but could see some room for improvement in the implementation. I’m a big advocate of Unobtrusive Javascript and Progressive Enhancement and so I set about producing a quick demo of how a similar result could be achieved in the most Web-kind and accessible way available using jQuery for the behaviors.

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18 April, 2008

Jsspec Bundle for Textmate Helps With Writing

Recently, we at Osmosoft have been trying to make good on one of our pledges: To introduce a unit testing framework to Tiddlywiki development.

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