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New flexbox guides on MDN

MDN released a comprehensive guide to Flexbox with new and updated materials by Rachel Andrew. The guide includes 11 posts demonstrating layouts, use cases and everything you could possibly want or need to know on the topic. All of the related Flexbox properties are nicely and conveniently attached to the table of contents, making this extremely easy to use. In this post, Rachel adds helpful thoughts and context about Flexbox. Her comment on Flexbox initially being treated as a silver bullet solution for all our layout issues struck me: Prior to Grid shipping, Flexbox was seen as the spec to solve all of our layout problems, yet a lot of the difficulty in using Flexbox is when we try to use it to create the kind of two-dimensional layouts that Grid is designed for. Once again, we find ourselves fighting to persuade a layout method to do things it wasn’t designed to do. Guilty as charged. I remember being so eager to ditch floats and learn a new syntax that I treated Flexbox as a square peg trying to be fit into a round hole. That definitely bit me on at least one project. Most importantly about this guide is that it forms a sort of trifecta of reference materials on layout specifications provided by CSS: Flexbox, Grid and other Box Alignment properties. Oh, and while we’re on the...

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HTML 5.2 is Done, HTML 5.3 is Coming

The W3C has completed its second round of HTML5 recommendations for implementation. The entire announcement is worth a read because there are interesting tidbits that provide more context and personnel changes within W3C, but the highlights of this recommendation are nicely summed up: Many of the features added integrate other work done in W3C. The Payment Request API promises to make commerce on the Web far easier, reducing the risks of making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. New security features such as Content Security Policy protect users more effectively, while new work incorporated from ARIA helps developers offer people with disabilities a good user experience of their applications. There are also semantic changes to HTMl elements that are worth noting: Clarifications and bug fixes bring the HTML Recommendation closer to what has been deployed recently. The definition for the main element has been updated to support modern responsive design patterns, the style element can be used inside the body element. Numerous constraints on code have been loosened, while where necessary for interoperability or security a few have been carefully reinforced. And, spoiler alert! HTML 5.3 is officially in its first public working draft. Direct Link to Article — Permalink HTML 5.2 is Done, HTML 5.3 is Coming is a post from CSS-Tricks...

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WordPress User Survey Data for 2015-2017

A grand total of 77,609 responses from WordPress users and professionals collected by Automattic between 2015 and 2017. The stats for 2015 and 2016 have been shared at the annual State of the Word address and 2017 marks the first time they have been published on WordPress News. A few items that caught my attention at first glance: Between 66% and 75% of WordPress users installed WordPress on their own. In other words, they were savvy enough to do it without the help of a developer. Hosting providers were next up and clocked in at 13-14% of installs. WordPress professionals described their clients as large and enterprise companies only 6-7% of the time. I guess this makes sense if those companies are relying on in-house resourcing, but I still would have pegged this higher. What do users love most about WordPress? It’s simple and user-friendly (49-52%). What frustrates them most about it? Plugins and themes (19-28%). Seems like those two would go hand-in-hand to some degree. I’m not a statistician and have no idea how much the results of these surveys accurately reflect the 26% of all sites on the internet that are powered by WordPress, but it sure is interesting. Direct Link to Article — Permalink WordPress User Survey Data for 2015-2017 is a post from CSS-Tricks...

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Monitoring unused CSS by unleashing the raw power of the DevTools Protocol

From Johnny’s dev blog: The challenge: Calculate the real percentage of unused CSS Our goal is to create a script that will measure the percentage of unused CSS of this page. Notice that the user can interact with the page and navigate using the different tabs. DevTools can be used to measure the amount of unused CSS in the page using the Coverage tab. Notice that the percentage of unused CSS after the page loads is ~55%, but after clicking on each of the tabs, more CSS rules are applied and the percentage drops down to just ~15%. That’s why I’m so skeptical of anything that attempts to measure “unused CSS.” This is an incredibly simple demo (all it does is click some tabs) and the amount of unused CSS changes dramatically. If you are looking for accurate data on how much unused CSS is in your codebase, in an automated fashion, you’ll need to visit every single URL on your site and trigger every possible event on every element and continue doing that until things stop changing. Then do that for every possible state a user could be in—in every possible browser. Here’s another incredibly exotic way I’ve heard of it being done: Wait a random amount of time after the page loads Loop through all the selectors in the CSSOM Put a querySelector on them and see...

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Front-End Performance Checklist

Vitaly Friedman swings wide with a massive list of performance considerations. It’s a well-considered mix of old tactics (cutting the mustard, progressive enhancement, etc.) and newer considerations (tree shaking, prefetching, etc.). I like the inclusion of a quick wins section since so much can be done for little effort; it’s important to do those things before getting buried in more difficult performance tasks. Speaking of considering performance, Philip Walton recently dug into what interactive actually means, in a world where we throw around acronyms like TTI: But what exactly does the term “interactivity” mean? I think most people reading this article probably know what the word “interactivity” means in general. The problem is, in recent years the word has been given a technical meaning (e.g. in the metric “Time to Interactive” or TTI), and unfortunately the specifics of that meaning are rarely explained. One reason is that the page depends on JavaScript and that JavaScript hasn’t downloaded, parsed, and run yet. That reason is well-trod, but there is another one: the “main thread” might be busy doing other stuff. That is a particularly insidious enemy of performance, so definitely read Philip’s article to understand more about that. Also, if you’re into front-end checklists, check out David Dias’ Front-End Checklist. Direct Link to Article — Permalink Front-End Performance Checklist is a post from CSS-Tricks...

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