This Week on the Front End—June 11, 2015

Welcome to This Week on the Front End, our weekly roundup of news from the world of the front-end web.

You can check out the other editions under the frontendnews tag, and don’t forget to check out our weekly JavaScript and .Net roundups too!

News and Views

Toot toot! All aboard! The Internet of things is about to take off, and you don’t want to miss the train. Remember to pack your JavaScript skills, or acquire some quickly!

Hm, Mozilla—a non-profit organization dedicated to the public good—has jumped into the Pocket of a commercial outfit. I’ve seen some pretty tetchy Slack conversations about this, with some feeling that Mozilla is selling out. What do you think?

Firefox now also supports DRM. We’re taking bets on what they’ll add next. I think it’ll be a button to conveniently send all your data to the NSA, but I could be wrong.

The Onion explains the redesign of its site in eye-watering detail.

A Partnership Apart

Speaking of partnerships, Learnable has partnered with A Book Apart—something I really am excited about as a Learnable member.

###Is Thunderbird going down the Thunderbox*?

Elio makes an impassioned case for why Mozilla really should be officially supporting Thunderbird, its free email client.

* The what?

In Brief


As long as you’re OK with the taste of mustard, it’s time to be using flexbox, according to Bashkim Isai. And if that doesn’t convince you, have a look at more expamples of what’s possible with flexbox.

When I starting reading The End of Global CSS, I thought the world was coming to an end. But no—this is just a really interesting article by the brilliant Mark Dalgleish on some big changes coming to the world of CSS.

CSS gives you a lot more options to optimize images these days. Let Jason Grisby help you to get your image-set.

And if you’re sick of reading, try watching this handy video that introduces the basics of making your images responsive. And here’s another one by Bruce Lawson.

You know that cantankerous old uncle who despises new-fangled technology? Old browsers are like that, refusing to recognize new features in CSS. But you can keep them happy while giving newer browsers the best experience.

You Eye

Did you know that CSS3 even had its own UI Module? Neither did I. But here it is—and at Level 3, no less.


Ew, a spider! O, wait, it’s just an alternative to JavaScript, so don’t step on it. Or maybe do step on it.

I know some code stinks, but a whole talk on all the different smells of bad JS code? I dunno … maybe my dog will like it.

Meanwhile, Jack Franklin makes some predictions about JS over the next 12 months … presumably because he wants people to laugh at him next year.

Apparently, you can advance JS without breaking the web—which is great news, if you were worried about that.

And finally, David Walsh pulls 7 essential JS functions out of his arsenal. Ew, that didn’t come out very well.


When I was a kid, my teachers used to remind me to “be nice to other children”. In this tech age, kids are probably being told “be nice to mobiles … or a big bad Internet Giant will eat you!” Find out how to be nice and friendly to mobiles, before it’s too late.

I visited a restaurant once, and every time I tried to read their menu, they slapped it shut again! Very frustrating! I’m talking about their mobile menu, of course. So it pays to learn how to build great mobile menus for your site.


Responsive images are big these says—no, I mean small. Or whatever. If you want to stay in the <picture>, get up to speed on the the new type attribute.


Take the test: can you distinguish Helvetica Neue from Apple’s new San Francisco font? (Clue for cheats: Helvetica Neue is the one that looks a lot better.)

I’m not one to celebrate a death (unless I stand to inherit, of course), but this article on the impending death of stock photos cheered me up a lot.

Is the logo dead? (I gave mine a kick, but it didn’t react :frowning: .)

A confusing form is bad form. Here are ten commandments for good form design.

Are UX and UI the same thing? Mike Atherton thinks so, and he has some compelling arguments to support his view.

Apparently, your preferences for everything from filtered photos to the color blue may be rooted in biology. And here I thought people who don’t share my tastes were just stupid.

Here’s an article that presents numbers showing that a responsive site will make you more money. (It never made me any money, grumble grumble.)


Content is a beggar, right? Here’s a video presentation discussing how to write compelling, credible content that piques interest and encourages action from readers. (I can’t think why you’d want to, but meh …)

You still think content is king? Well then act like it, and put content first.

Account? Your account? My account? Write Better User Interfaces by Asking “Who Else is in the Room?”


Here are 4 reasons not to disable zoom in your responsive design—other than because it just sucks to do so.

Ah man, accessibility is such a buzzkill. You know how fun it is to hide form buttons from users, right? Well, apparently, doing so is bad for business. Jeesh, I always thought treasure hunts were fun

Are you a cheat? Then you might appreciate this handy accessibility cheat sheet—you scoundrel.

James Edwards explains why accessibility is not an exercise in meeting abstract checks, but about improving usability for people with specific needs. Meh … let them eat cake, brother.

The Coolness

SitePoint’s own Alex Walker presents a cool, 3d effect as you scroll. (See the books turn slightly as you scroll?)

And these pure CSS icons are pretty cool:

Off the Wall

ASCII and you shall receive? Do not covet thy neighbor’s ASCII? The ASCII site, by Jason Scott of Internet Archive (in)fame, wants your old CD-ROMs. So quick, run out and retrieve them before the garbage truck arrives.

And great news: planet earth has a new flag! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Martians! This place is ours!

If you’ve ever had trouble copying and pasting on the web and wondered how to make it work better, you’ll find this article over at CSS-Tricks a really interesting read.


We’re having issues linking to articles on material design. We are working on the problem, and hope to have the issue resolved soon.

If you have any links you’d like me to put in the next edition, please just message me. [Please don’t feed the dog].

If you enjoyed any of these articles, or if they got you thinking, tell us about it below. Otherwise it gets lonely in here!


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