February 10 2015

CSS Variables: An interim solution

Finally: CSS Variables are coming. Unfortunately they represent something of a dilemma for CSS’ fundamental principle of backwards compatibility. As Aron Gustafson notes, the current (and indeed, probably any hypothetical alternative) implementation of CSS variables simply can’t be done in a backwards-compatible way that doesn’t also require code duplication. So how can we make practical use of them today?

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October 21 2013

Cargo Cult CSS

It is generally accepted that having a methodology for writing and managing CSS is preferable to having none at all. In spite of this, some of the practices developers have adopted are having a detrimental effect on the semantic quality and longterm maintainability of what we build. I’m going to talk about some of the problems with techniques being advocated by CSS ‘framework methodologies’ and how we, as web developers, can better solve these problems.

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July 20 2012

Why I’m backing

Like many long-time Twitter users, I’m deeply concerned by the imminent (but as yet unconfirmed) threat to third-party developers who make use of the Twitter API. Twitter has evolved a great deal since its inception, but it would be wrong not to give credit to the ingenuity of third-parties who have helped make the service what it is today. Just to give a few examples:

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April 30 2012

On Opera & Vendor Prefixes

Reacting to Opera’s announcement that their latest experimental builds of their browser software would be spoofing certain -webkit vendor prefixes, I somewhat antagonistically vented on Twitter:

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April 8 2011

The Case Against Behaviour-Driven Development

Test-driven development is now an accepted good practice in software development, particularly for teams practicing some form of Agile methodology. However it doesn’t provide any kind of framework for business stakeholders and developers to easily communicate requirements using a shared vocabulary. Agile methodologies do give this, but exist somewhat externally to the workflow of development itself. Behaviour-driven development was devised with this goal in mind, centred around the idea that the functionality you are building in your software is actually behaviour.

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January 13 2011

The Mobile Cold War

As most people know, Google is an advertising company. They may appear otherwise at times, but ultimately advertising has been and probably always will be their bread and butter. Given this, they have a vested interest in ensuring that they have influence in the various media where advertising is both an effective and saleable product.

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January 30 2010

Microsoft’s iPad Problem

A lot of the current hand-wringing regarding the iPad seems to concern its lack of Flash support. A vocal crowd of people with a vested interest in Flash’s ubiquity are beside themselves at the concept of a Flash-less browser gaining widespread adoption (even though this actually happened about 18 months ago). To me their incredulity resembles the first stage of the Kübler-Ross grieving process — denial — and pretty soon we’ll start seeing the other stages too (arguably we already have).

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