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Not A Newsletter #1

Newsletters are very popular right now and I was toying with the idea of starting one because I too like to read a couple of Newsletters which regularly arrive in my inbox. Only that they are not really arriving in my email inbox anymore because I subscribe to Newsletters with my RSS Reader Feedbin like I would subscribe to blogs. Sooo why not just use the platform I already have, blogs are cool, right?

At this moment I don’t have a clear vision for how regularly these posts will occur and what exactly will be in them but I plan to have them come up somewhat regularly and share interesting things I find online or maybe even offline. 99% will be somehow connected to Web Development I’m pretty sure.

I’m a freelancer and I do frontend web development. But as many of you probably know, frontend development can take two very different forms. I remember a while back there was this idea in our community that there is a backend of the frontend, which focuses more on programming application code with Javascript. Think of React, Vue.js and the like. On the other hand there is more visual, frontend focused frontend work which has a lot to do with HTML, CSS and probably some JavaScript to help out with visual and interactive things. Sliders, animations and the like.
I definitely feel very much at home in the latter camp, but I feel like I have to develop my skillset further, which means I have to decide whether I want to get more into actual JavaScript programming or branch out in another direction.

I have decided I want to further develop my skills in another area: Accessibility, Inclusiveness, Sustainability, Performance and everything that’s kind of in that camp. If I want to be a frontend specialist focusing solely on HTML, CSS and some visual and interactive JavaScript I have to go deeper with these technologies and concepts to really add value to the projects I’m part of.

This was a rather long intro but it should set the tone for the links I want to share in this first installment. I hope you find a useful thing or two in there.

And I want to leave you with a quote from Tom MacWright’s blogpost How to blog I keep thinking about since I’ve read it:

For me, burnout is caused by doing something I usually love at a time when I don’t love it.

I have not thought about it this way before but it resonates a lot with me.

My typical day

There is this blog post chain going on in the web development blogosphere right now where people describe their typical day. I’ve always found it very interesting to see how other go about their day. I remember the Offscreen Mag had these “a day in the life of” series, which I also really enjoyed.

While I haven’t been tagged by anyone, Dave Rupert called for anybody to chime in. So here I am.

6:30am — I wake up roughly around this time every day without an alarm. If I don’t wake up naturally, my dog Frodo will help out. I let him out into the garden and get ready for the day.
6:45am — I make coffee for myself and feed Frodo.
7:00am — Hobby time. I paint Warhammer miniatures. Depending on my projects and mood I skip this and get straight to work.
8:00am — I’m most productive in the morning, so that’s the time I tackle the most important tasks of the day.
9:00am — Going for a walk with Frodo.
10:00am — Some more work.
12:00am — Cooking lunch, usually something quick like Pasta.
1:00pm — Back to work.
3:00pm — Another walk and play with Frodo.
4:00pm — Back to work again for the final spurt before running out of energy.
5:00pm — Dinner. Mostly consisting of bread, cheese and some Ahle Wurscht.
5:45pm — Washing dishes and some tidying.
6:00pm — Time for painting miniatures, playing video games with friends and some Netflix to round out the day.
10:00pm — I let Frodo out into the garden for a last stroll and then it’s time for bed.


Obviosuly not every day is exactly the same, sometimes there is more work to do, sometimes there is less. That’s the nature of being self employed.
My daily schedule is also somewhat tied to Frodo and I’ve found that everything shifts a bit depending on the time of year. In the summer for example I go for a walk very early first thing in the morning and then again late in the evening. But the above should give you a rough outline of how my typical day looks like.

2020

My guiding principles for 2020, or rather life going forward in general:

Be more kind to myself.
Done is better than perfect.
It is happening. Enjoy it.

The inert attribute and property polyfill

The inert attribute/property allows web authors to mark parts of the DOM tree as inert:

When a node is inert, then the user agent must act as if the node was absent for the purposes of targeting user interaction events, may ignore the node for the purposes of text search user interfaces (commonly known as “find in page”), and may prevent the user from selecting text in that node.

Furthermore, a node which is inert should also be hidden from assistive technology.

I just recently learned about the forthcoming inert attribute and it’s really interesting. I highly recommend you read the Explainer.

Frontend Design, React, and a Bridge over the Great Divide

Brad Frost:

Frontend designers create the HTML, CSS, and presentational JavaScript code that powers web products’ user interfaces. I see frontend design as helpful mortar that bridges the gap between design and development.
Whatever the label is, these people specialize in crafting the code that powers the UIs of websites.

If you’d substitute every instance of “React” with “Vue” than this article could be written by me or about me. The parallels are astounding. Next time somebody asks what exactly it is that I (like) to do, I can just point them to this article. Thank you Brad!

The New Wilderness

Maciej Cegłowski:

The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.
That is not consent.

Maciej is on point, as always.

The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet

Yancey Strickler:

I went dark on the internet a few years ago. I took social apps off my phone, unfollowed everyone, the whole shebang. This was without a doubt a good decision. I’ve been happier and have had better control over my time since. Many others have done this and are doing this. A generation of modern wannabe monks.
But even as my personal wellness grows, I see a risk in this change.

I’m currently on a, for the lack of a better word, digital detox, inspired by the book Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. (Yes, I’m still allowed to use my blog. My detox, my rules.) Over the past years I have deleted social apps on multiple occasions but never for long. This time it’s at least for this month. While I’m enyoing the more quite and focused time so far I also wonder what negative sides it could bring with it. It’s not only the fear of missing out on something, but also the question what will happen if everyone pulls back and hides away from public spaces. On the other hand, my blog is a public space and everyone is welcome here. The digital detox is also not only about eliminating social media from my life. Anyway, there’s a lot to think about here and I thought this article was interesting.

Inside Microsoft’s surprise decision to work with Google on its Edge browser

Tom Warren:

It’s clearly early days for Microsoft’s Chromium adventures, and engineers from Microsoft and Google seem to be collaborating well toward similar goals. But Microsoft and Google are still fierce competitors, and we’ve yet to see how that will play out in the browser space.

Interesting article on The Verge on how the Microsoft Edge switch to Chromium came about and how Google and Microsoft are now working together.

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

#shotoniphone #nofilter

font-weight: 1000

Today I had to add a new font face to a website, it was called “fat” and was even bolder than “black”. The common font-weight for black is 900, so I went above that and chose font-weight: 1000 for the fat font face but that brought me into trouble with the font not loading in Safari. So I started reading up on the topic, because before I never used such a high value or thought much about it.

The MDN web docs say about font-weight values:

A value between 1 and 1000, inclusive. Higher numbers represent weights that are bolder than (or as bold as) lower numbers. Certain commonly used values correspond to common weight names, as described in the Common weight name mapping section below.

but then it continues:

In earlier versions of the font-weight specification, the property accepts only keyword values and the numeric values 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900. CSS Fonts Level 4 extends the syntax to accept any number between 1 and 1000. This enables variable fonts to provide a much finer-grained range of font weights. Note that this is not yet supported by all browsers.

The CSS Fonts Level 4 are only a W3C Working Draft at this point. It got updated last on September 20th 2018. font-weight values over 900 or generally values other than 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 are not allowed/working. CSS Fonts Level 4 will update that so you can use any number between 1 and 1000, including 1000, mostly because of variable fonts. But Chrome and Firefox seem to accept different values like 980 or even 1000 already for normal fonts just fine, but not Safari.

What got me confused today was only that the MDN web docs flip flop between what values are allowed. I think the page should only list the CSS Fonts Module Level 3 values in the general sections.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the docs and use them all the time, I just wanted to share my journey from today. And I should probably find out how to propose and update for the font-weight page.

Update

Okay, so you can just connect your Github account to MDN and edited pages. I just published an update to the font-weight page according to my research. I also requested for technical review. Let’s see how this goes. How exciting!