Jeremy KeithMaking websites. Writing books. Hosting a podcast. Speaking at events. Living in Brighton. Working at Clearleft. Playing music. Taking photos. Answering email.
Journal 2872 Links 9507 Articles 81 Notes 6398
Saturday, May 14th, 2022
Friday, May 13th, 2022
Thursday, May 12th, 2022
I think, with the sheer volume of functionality available to us nowadays on the front-end, it can be easy to forget how powerful and strong the functionality is that we get right off shelf with HTML. Yes, you read that right, functionality.
I firmly believe that companies first need to identify and research the problem they are trying to solve, and then select the right technology to do it. Those technologies may not be the latest buzzword, and they may not cause venture capitalists to come crawling out of the woodwork, but choosing technologies with that approach tends to be a lot more successful in the long run — at least, assuming the primary goal is to actually solve a problem rather than attract VC money.
Wednesday, May 11th, 2022
Broadly, these are websites which are still web pages, not web applications; they’re pages of essentially static information, personal websites, blogs, and so on, but they are slightly dynamic. They might have a style selector at the top of each page, causing a cookie to be set, and the server to serve a different stylesheet on every subsequent page load.
This rings sadly true to me:
Also, I never thought about “serverless” like this:
Recently we’ve seen the rise in popularity of AWS Lambda, a “functions as a service” provider. From my perspective this is literally a reinvention of CGI, except a) much more complicated for essentially the same functionality, b) with vendor lock-in, c) with a much more complex and bespoke deployment process which requires the use of special tools.
To be honest, I’m not all that convinced by Robin’s arguments here about overhauling the governance model at the World Wide Web Consortium (partly because the way he describes the current model sounds pretty okay to me). But I’m very interested in what he has to say in the broader philosophical sense about using values to solve problems:
A value is worth something if it’s there to help you when the rubber hits the road and starts hydroplaning. Sure, you’ll need a handful of high-level lofty values as reminders, if only because there’s always a vocal guy (it’s always a guy) who thinks it’s just outrageous to put people before profits. But mostly you want Values You Can Use.
That might be the best description I’ve come across yet for design principles: values you can use.
When we say that engineering is about trade-offs, we’re saying that engineers solve their hardest problems using values (which they call “heuristics” because everyone’s entitled to be fancy some). In implementing a system, you might need to decide between an option that provides people with the best experience, another that delivers the greatest value to the shareholders, and yet a third one that makes the control centre blinkenlights dance in the prettiest way.
Tuesday, May 10th, 2022
Agile design principles
I may have mentioned this before, but I’m a bit of a nerd for design principles. Have I shown you my equivalent of an interesting rock collection lately?
If you think about design principles for any period of time, it inevitably gets very meta very quickly. You start thinking about what makes for good design principles. In other words, you start wondering if there are design principles for design principles.
In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity.
It’s wonderfully practical!
I realised recently that there’s another set of design princples that put prioritisation front and centre—the Agile manifesto:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
And there’s this excellent explanation which could just as well apply to the priorty of constituencies:
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Yes! That’s the spirit!
Ironically, the Agile manifesto also contains a section called principles behind the Agile manifesto which are …less good (at least they’re less good as design principles—they’re fine as hypotheses to be tested).
Agile is far from perfect. See, for example, Miriam Posner’s piece Agile and the Long Crisis of Software. But where Agile isn’t fulfilling its promise, I’d say it’s not because of its four design principles. If anything, I think the problems arise from organisations attempting to implement Agile without truly internalising the four principles.
Oh, and that’s another thing I like about the Agile manifesto as a set of design principles—the list of prioritised principles is mercifully short. Just four lines.
Sunday, May 8th, 2022
Saturday, May 7th, 2022
This version of Roboto from Font Bureau is a very variable font indeed.
Friday, May 6th, 2022
An opinionated blog about writing. I’ve subscribed in my feed reader.
We’re all LARPing on LinkedIn.