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Category: Link

It’s Time for an RSS Revival

Brian Barrett: Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS. I’m an RSS reader lover, so I hate to admit it, but RSS ain’t going mainstream. It was too nerdy 20 years ago and it’s too nerdy now. RSS is still incredibly useful technology, but I can’t see it taking off alone. For RSS to take off, it needs some kind of abstraction. Like Flipboard, where you can get started reading stuff right away and feeding it RSS isn’t something you need to handle manually. Apple News is kinda like that. I’m a little love/hate with Apple News though. I like reading stuff in it, but I’ve stopped publishing in it because it became too much work to get right and have it look good. It’s like managing a second site, unlike RSS which just brainlessly works when your CMS supports it. A little-known feature of Apple News was that it used to be able to function as an RSS reader, but they removed that a couple of years ago. Boooooo. Podcasts have the right abstraction. People listen through apps that combine discoverability (or at least searchability) with the place you actually subscribe and listen. Ironically, RSS-based. Digg has been a bit like Flipboard or Apple News: a combination of a very nice RSS reader but also curated content. They’ve just nuked their reader seemingly...

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`:focus-visible` and backwards compatibility

Patrick H. Lauke covers the future CSS pseudo class :focus-visible. We’re in the early days of browser support, but it aims to solve an awkward situation: … focus styles can often be undesirable when they are applied as a result of a mouse/pointer interaction. A classic example of this are buttons which trigger a particular action on a page, such as advancing a carousel. While it is important that a keyboard user is able to see when their focus is on the button, it can be confusing for a mouse user to find the look of the button change after they clicked it – making them wonder why the styles “stuck”, or if the state/functionality of the button has somehow changed. If we use :focus-within instead of :focus, that gives the browser the freedom to not apply focus styles when it determines it’s unnecessary, but still does when, for example, the element is tabbed to. The scary part is “instead of”. We can just up and switch with browser support as it is. Not even @supports can help us. But Patrick has some ideas. button:focus { /* some exciting button focus styles */ } button:focus:not(:focus-visible) { /* undo all the above focused button styles if the button has focus but the browser wouldn't normally show default focus styles */ } button:focus-visible { /* some even *more* exciting button focus...

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“Just”

Brad Frost’s “Just” article from a few years ago has struck a fresh nerve with folks. It’s a simple word that can slip out easily, that might be invoked to keep text casual-feeling, but the result can be damaging. Brad: The amount of available knowledge in our field (or any field really) is growing larger, more complex, and more segmented all the time. That everyone has downloaded the same fundamental knowledge on any topic is becoming less and less probable. Because of this, we have to be careful not to make too many assumptions in our documentation, blog posts, tutorials, wikis, and communications. Imagine yourself explaining a particular task to an earlier version of yourself. Once upon a time, you didn’t know what you know now. Provide context. The beauty of hypertext is that we’re able to quickly add much-needed context helpful for n00bs but easy enough for those already in-the-know to scan over. And making documentation more human-readable benefits everyone. Ethan Marcotte takes this one step further: I’ve noticed a rhetorical trope in our industry. It’s not, like, widespread, but I see it in enough blog entries and conference talks that I think it’s a pretty common pattern: namely, the author’s sharing some advice with the reader and, if the reader’s boss or stakeholders won’t support a given course of action, suggests the reader “just do the thing...

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Designing Button States

Tyler Sticka on the complexity of designing buttons and making sure that we’ve taken into consideration focus, hover and active states during the design process: In truth, mouse effects are probably the least important state to design for. By accounting for more functional states early, you can lower the need for costly redesigns as your pattern library matures. Here are the fundamental states you should address early on, in approximate order of importance. I’ve been spending a lot more time lately thinking about focus styles as being a crucial challenge when building for the web and so I particularly take Tyler’s advice to heart. He argues that we should repeat this maxim throughout the button design process: “I do solemnly swear never to disable browser focus styles without including a thoughtfully designed replacement.” The first step: focusing on focus styles. On a related note, we recently did a series on CSS Basics that included a post dedicated to link styling for various link states. Also, there’s a pretty good post that’s related to this topic called Buttons in Design Systems that tackles a bunch of UX considerations for buttons, like how to write a good label. Direct Link to Article — Permalink The post Designing Button States appeared first on CSS-Tricks....

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How to Write a Git Commit Message

An oldie but goodie, Chris Beams writes about the secret art of writing helpful Git commit messages. Here’s why he thinks it’s so important: If you haven’t given much thought to what makes a great Git commit message, it may be the case that you haven’t spent much time using git log and related tools. There is a vicious cycle here: because the commit history is unstructured and inconsistent, one doesn’t spend much time using or taking care of it. And because it doesn’t get used or taken care of, it remains unstructured and inconsistent. But a well-cared for log is a beautiful and useful thing. git blame, revert, rebase, log, shortlog and other subcommands come to life. Reviewing others’ commits and pull requests becomes something worth doing, and suddenly can be done independently. Understanding why something happened months or years ago becomes not only possible but efficient. A project’s long-term success rests (among other things) on its maintainability, and a maintainer has few tools more powerful than his project’s log. It’s worth taking the time to learn how to care for one properly. What may be a hassle at first soon becomes habit, and eventually a source of pride and productivity for all involved. This post pairs well with a more recent post on the topic. Where Chris provides a format for consistency, Stephen Amaza takes that same...

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