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STAR Apps: A New Generation of Front-End Tooling for Development Workflows

Product teams from AirBnb and New York Times to Shopify and Artsy (among many others) are converging on a new set of best practices and technologies for building the web apps that their businesses depend on. This trend reflects core principles and solve underlying problems that we may share, so it is worth digging deeper. Some of that includes: Visual consistency: Presented as a design system (not to be confused with a pattern library or style guide) often built with libraries like styled-components and tools like Storybook. Internal consistency: Created with static typing tools like TypeScript. Data manipulation: These work with GraphQL-speaking clients like Apollo. Data representation: Displayed with a library for reusable components and behaviors, like React. Naming things is hard, and our industry has struggled to name this new generation of tooling for web apps. The inimitable Orta Theroux calls it an Omakase; I slimmed it down and opted for a simpler backronym pulled from letters in the tooling outlined above: STAR (Design Systems, TypeScript, Apollo, and React). STAR apps are not “yet another front-end stack.” They involve additional opinions and constraints. As such, STAR apps aren’t necessarily easy, either. They have a learning curve. A solo developer may find STAR apps unnecessarily verbose because they front-load communication overhead. STAR apps are more about product team workflow than they are about any specific technology. However, we find...

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2019 CSS Wishlist

What do you wish CSS could do natively that it can’t do now? First, let’s review the last time we did this in 2013. ❌ “I’d like to be able to select an element based on if it contains another particular selector” ❌ “I’d like to be able to select an element based on the content it contains” ❌ “I’d like multiple pseudo elements” ❌ “I’d like to be able to animate/transition something to height: auto;“ ❌ “I’d like things from Sass, like @extend, @mixin, and nesting” ❌ “I’d like ::nth-letter, ::nth-word, etc” ✅ “I’d like all the major browsers to auto-update” Ouch. Oh well. I’m not sure how hotly requested all those actually are or how feasible it is to even implement them. They’re merely ideas that I thought we be useful in 2013, and as it turns out, I still do. This time, instead of me making my own list, let’s have a gander around the internet at other people who have rounded up CSS desires. TL;DR List In observing several sources of conversation around things people desire in CSS, these seem like the most common asks: Parent queries. As in, selecting an element any-which-way, then selecting the parent of that element. We have some proof it’s possible with :focus-within. Container queries. Select a particular element when the element itself is under certain conditions. Standardized styling of...

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How to Use Animation in Angular 6

In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the importance of animations in improving the user experience. I’ll show you how to incorporate animations in Angular 6 applications with the help of animation components and Bootstrap. The Role of Animations in User Design Most web users are visual creatures and therefore respond to visual objects. This means that as a designer, you have to find a way to incorporate animations in your designs.  Animation can prove to be a useful tool when it comes to user interaction with your website or app. However, this doesn’t mean that when you use animation,...

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How I’ve Been Using Notion Personally and Professionally

I use Notion quite a bit, both personally and professionally. In a sense, it’s just an app for keeping documents in one place: little notes, to-do lists, basic spreadsheets, etc. I like the native macOS Notes app just fine. It’s quick and easy, it’s desktop and mobile, it syncs… but there are enough limitations that I wanted something better. Plus, I wanted something team-based and web-friendly (shared URLs!) and Notion hits those nails on the head. Here’s a bunch of ways to use Notion as well as some scattered random notes and ideas about it. Workspaces are your teams...

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How to Use the WowBook jQuery Flipbook Plugin

If you are looking for an easy-to-use tool that can turn your photos and PDF files into interactive flip books or slide shows, WowBook, one of the most popular jQuery plugins on CodeCanyon, is for you. This premium plugin offers two realistic page-turn effects, complete with page-turning sounds, and it runs smoothly on all modern browsers. Flip books created using the WowBook plugin are responsive and look good on both desktop and mobile devices. Furthermore, they support common touch gestures such as pinch to zoom. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add WowBook to a webpage and...

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