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Daily knowledge devs and designers need to get ahead of the game

A Substack newsletter by Adam Roberts

Daily knowledge devs and designers need to get ahead of the game

Introducing Modern CSS: A Sight for Thor Eyes

Today: Intro to Modern CSS; Holiday prep; SQL learning; Design thinking thinking; It's the night before hearings, my fav time of the year; and Jim Ryan

Introducing Modern CSS

We’re doing it! This month I’ll be covering Modern CSS, with members receiving a post covering a new aspect of the subject every day. Not a member? Sign up for a 14-day trial here. Here’s an introduction:

If you’re a front-end dev or designer, I hopefully don’t need to convince you of the value of gaining a good grounding in CSS.CSS skills are a must. I’m not working in either of those positions, so to me CSS, while important, always seemed kind of… unexciting? Important, useful, but not as gripping as its rowdy partner JavaScript, anyway.

But recently, things have changed in the world of Cascading Style Sheets. From CSS grid layout, the powerful but often misunderstood layout system, the powerful team of CSS+SVG, all the way to the controversial world of CSS-in-JS. Even I noticed.

The way I think of it: You know how Thor, as portrayed the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was always kinda dry–very powerful and reliable, but just… unexciting? And then in the last couple of movies he really let his hair down and became fun and interesting, and more powerful? That, but for front-end tech.

This month, I’ll be taking a look at this world in more depth (CSS, not the Avengers) and introducing you to the new, modern CSS. You’ll get a new post every day that’ll help you get to grips with its powerful (and fun and interesting) nature. At the end, you’ll get those compiled into an ebook you can keep!

I hope you join me. I promise it’ll be Marvel-ous! First post tomorrow!

If you’re not yet a member, sign up for a 14-day trial here.


I Need a Vacation from This Vacation

Front-end

How to get your mobile site ready for the holiday season [smashingmagazine].

Use React path constants to prevent yourself going insane [medium/dailyjs].

An intro to render caching for React [css-tricks].

A comparison of the React and Vue ecosystems [vuejsdevelopers].

TypeScript and Babel make a cute couple [iamturns].

What’s new in Chrome 69 [developers.google], out now.

The X Factor

Back-end/programming/mobile

An interactive book on learning SQL [selectstarsql].

Resources for the excellent tmux utility [github/rothgar].

An upcoming talk during O’Reilly’s Velocity conference focused on running a major refactoring project, from Slack engineer Maude Lemaire [conferences.oreilly].

Netflix’s image discovery process–which the company uses to automate content promotion–is kinda staggering, at least to me [medium/netflix-techblog].

Vet-eran’s Day

Design/UX/product

A guide to creating a design system for a cross-platform product [speckyboy].

How to get feedback on your designs using design vetting [uxmovement].

Four ways to think like a designer [fastcompany].

Former Apple engineer Ken Kocienda released Creative Selection, a book about the design process at Apple [macstories]. He worked on Safari on the Mac and the touch keyboards on the iPhone and iPad, there will be some learnings!

A Trill’ Ride

News/business

Amazon is worth US $1 trillion. Now the company–gigantic, unwieldy and besieged by lawmakers–needs to live up to it, according to this hot take [bloomberg].

Facebook, Google and Twitter are testifying to US lawmakers tomorrow about supposed suppression of conservative voices. A preview of what to expect [recode].

Regarding FB, a couple of timely news stories ahead of this: How Facebook used the platform in his bloody Phillipine drug war [buzzfeednews], and how Facebook warriors play their part in Libyan conflict [nytimes].

A fun quiz from the New York Time: spot the deceptive Facebook post [nytimes]. I got 2/4, FYI. So I guess I’ve been slightly influenced and on an unrelated matter I’m now going to move to Russia.

Inside Facebook’s arms race to protect users ahead of the US midterm elections [nbcnews]. I hope they did better than 2/4!

Meanwhile, it’s very easy to buy political ads on Google, a group posing as Russian trolls discovered [buzzfeednews]. Wait, so their deceptive ads were themselves a deception? I think we’re in trouble, epistemologically-speaking.

Google is notifying people targeted by a secret FBI investigation [motherboard.vice].

A mobile spyware company leaked millions of sensitive records, for the second time in three years [krebsonsecurity].

A new side-channel attack demonstration by security researchers used a sonar signal to deduce a user’s unlock code [motherboard.vice].

Facebook’s building an Instagram shopping app [theverge].

Medium is deprecating custom domains [help.medium], so if your company’s content marketing strategy involves this… uhhh… do something else…

You Know the Dril

Everything else (apps, fun tools, gaming, culture, funny stuff)

An interview with the best Twitter user, @dril [vice].

Some hero is archiving metadata from all YouTube videos [motherboard.vice].

Speaking of YouTube, this professor can’t upload videos featuring public domain music by composers such as Bach and Puccini [arstechnica].

Finally, via Kottke, here’s the the Jack Ryan/Jim Halpert mash-up we all deserve.


There you have it, another day’s worth of useful, interesting and entertaining content for ya. I hope you’re excited about Modern CSS, and my extended Thor metaphor helped. I’m now working on an Avengers fan fiction where each team member is a different programming language. JavaScript = Iron Man (so many gadgets!), and then Thanos is a power cut.

Back with more tomorrow!

Curated by Adam

Daily knowledge devs and designers need to get ahead of the game