There was truly so much great content in 2018, it was hard to limit this list (thus why I ended up with 14 in a post originally intended for 10). In reviewing articles for this, some themes stuck out. 2018 was a year when developers seemed to focus on things like performance, making the transition to mobile (and specifically this was the year of the PWA) and, finally, making the often difficult choices about which technologies to focus on (especially when faced with so many options).
All About Prefetching by Katie Hempenius
As I said, one of the focus this year seemed to be on improving performance, often as it relates to mobile. Katie Hempenius took a deep dive into how you can use a prefetching strategy to improve perceived performance. This is a great overview of a topic that is rarely covered.
Faster than AMP (author unidentified)
AMP was a topic of much controversy in 2018. However, what I love about this post is that it doesn’t offer another perspective on the same controversy, but, rather, digs into how AMP works (or doesn’t in some cases) to improve performance. The author (whose name I cannot find) promises more in this series, and I hope they follow through.
A good post (1st in a series) looking at the slowest AMP page and examining why performance is failing to better understand what AMP does to try to address performance. It's not trying to pitch you AMP, just understand what's going on under the covers. https://t.co/md2cXaRaC4 pic.twitter.com/K50EgSZS7C— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) December 10, 2018
Elements To Ditch Or Repurpose On Mobile by Suzanne Scacca
By 2018, most sites have made a transition to mobile in one way or another, however, this is not always a smooth transition. Often sites have taken their desktop mindset and brought it - along with unusable desktop design elements - to their mobile site. This post covers some of the worst offenders and, better yet, offers strategies to fix them.
A great post by @sescacca on some web design elements that need to be scrapped or rethought for mobile. Couldn't agree more, especially with modal popups and oversized content. https://t.co/NUgNr0FlOk— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) December 6, 2018
Reluctant Gatekeeping: The Problem With Full Stack by Heydon Pickering
This post stuck with me because it makes a similar case to one I have been making about the issues with the title “full stack developer.” Heydon focuses on the unintended consequences of accepting that one person can do all the things.
This is a very good post on some of the often unspoken implications of the rise of the title of "full stack developer" by @heydonworks. I like that it gets at some of the economic aspects of the title, which I've argued, are really what drives the it. https://t.co/acJNJ4Fh3X— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) December 4, 2018
An Extensive Guide To Progressive Web Applications by Ankita Masand
2018 was definitely the year that everyone seemed to decide that they needed to take a closer look at building progressive web applications, driven largely by improved browser support for PWA features. There were a lot of PWA-focused tutorials in 2018, but Ankita’s was definitely one of the most extensive and helpful.
This is a really thorough guide To Progressive Web Applications by @AnkitaMasand. If you haven't yet explored PWAs or if you are just looking for details and examples on some of the key parts of a PWA, keep this one for reference. https://t.co/pIAExCoT1F— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) November 27, 2018
Making music with magenta.js by Monica Dinculescu
Soemtimes it is great to just build something because it is fun - it helps us reconnect with why we love to code in the first place. I also love reading posts when developers do these sorts of project because their passion for the idea comes through clearly. In this post, Monica Dinculescu experiments with generating music using machine learning. Will I use this is my day-to-day work? Unlikely. Was it fun to read and learn? Absolutely!
Methodologies for measuring project health by Nadia Eghbal
This is an extremely difficult topic that tackles an issue developers face - knowingly or not - on a consistent basis. That issue is whether a particular open source project is healthy enough to adopt and use. There are no easy answers, but Nadia Eghbal explores some options in this well-researched and detailed post.
Should we measure the health of an open source project by its contributors, by the rate and recency of changes or some combination? A good look at methodologies for measuring open source project health by @nayafia. https://t.co/RGzos3ByGu— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) August 28, 2018
The Bullshit Web by Nick Heer
Another performance-focused post that looks at the useless cruft we often include on web pages unthinkingly. Nick argues that this cruft has impaired the progress we have made with the power and speed of our hardware, and with little tangible benefit.
The speed of the web has not kept pace with the speed of our internet connections because we've loaded pages with useless cruft that often has little to do with the actual content being displayed, argues @pxlnv https://t.co/qAL1EwWVg0— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) August 2, 2018
Leveling up: why developers need to be able to identify technologies with staying power (and how to do it) by Matt Biilmann
It can be difficult for a developer to know what to focus on for their long-term health of their career these days. There are not only so many options to choose from, but everyone is out there pushing their own agenda it seems. Matt, one of the founders of Netlify, offers a ton of excellent advice in this post on what to focus on and how to see it in the context of the bigger picture of the overall trajectory of your career and development as a coder.
This is another performance-related (and security-related) post that gets at an issue many front-end developers face consistently: third-party scripts can be extremely helpful in providing added and necessary functionality, but they come with inherent risks. This post tries to help you mitigate those risks by measuring the impact of third-party scripts on your site and finding ways to offset the risks.
Everything Easy is Hard Again by Frank Chimero
If you’ve ever felt like things move so fast that it is difficult to keep up with the constant need to learn new skills necessary just to keep your head above water, then Frank Chimero’s post may strike a chord with you (as it did with me). He discusses how we’ve managed to make the simple things difficult in many cases, and made learning (and keeping up with( web development in the process. His message of developing a personal philosophy towards change and learning is an important one for developers of all skill levels.
Everything Easy is Hard Again by @frank_chimero. I relate to so much of this. Especially the sense that we're solving the same problems 20 yrs later but in increasingly complex ways. The common refrain is that the problems are new but I'm old & can't adapt https://t.co/s3lCRDawjS— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) February 16, 2018
Native And PWA: Choices, Not Challengers! by Aaron Gustafson
Things are often presented to developers as binary choices. You either learn web or native. You must learn Angular - and not React - to succeed or vice versa. The truth is that these rarely are as binary as they seem, and this is especially true when it comes to choosing PWA or app for mobile. You are free to choose which best suits the needs of what you are creating - or you are free to choose both. Aaron lays out the options nicely.
The choice of Native And PWA is not zero sum. As @AaronGustafson explains, it is a matter of understanding the needs of your project and matching that to the strengths of each solution. https://t.co/v9YNdjMpBS— Brian Rinaldi (@remotesynth) February 9, 2018
Advice to the newish programmer by Tom MacWright
Another post that discusses the difficulties of working in a fast-changing industry with a lot of competing demands (and voices) pushing you in a variety of directions. While Tom MacWright directs this post at “newish” programmers, it is an excellent reminder for any of us of the challenges we face (and maybe gets us thinking on how to address them).