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On Our Radar This Week: Code Quality and Christmas Time

By James Hibbard

Ho, Ho, Ho! and welcome to the Christmas edition of On Our Radar, a weekly round-up of news, trends and other cool stuff from the world of web development.

In the news this week, the fallout from the Sony hack continued. Although doubts are starting to emerge about North Korea’s involvement, the country has been hit by two giant DDoS attacks in the past couple of days that have caused widespread internet blackouts. At the center of the controversy is a film entitled “The Interview”, which Sony had originally intended to pull, before changing their minds and announcing that it will be released online after all.

While North Korea struggled to stay online, South Korea was causing headlines of its own with prosecutors in Seoul issuing an indictment against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for running an illegal taxi service. This technically makes him an international fugitive and could see him slapped with an $18,000 fine, or face two years in jail.

Elsewhere, a new contender emerged for the city with the fastest internet speed in the world. Move over Zurich, Tokyo, and New York City – here comes Minneapolis. Yup, you heard that right!

Text Editors

Choice of text editor is something that people (especially programmers) tend to get rather passionate about – they are an integral part of your workflow and can be tweaked almost endlessly to boost productivity.

That’s why I was very interested to read a recent article by SitePoint author Abder-Rahman Ali. He spoke to 100 Rubyists (including Matz and DHH) and asked them which editor they prefer. His findings make for some interesting reading.

After reading that survey it seems like all the cool kids are using Vim. Wanna be cool, too? Well, here’s a Vim tutorial for beginners to get you on your way.

Vim not your thing? Then check out this article describing one designer’s Sublime Text setup. Sublime text bills itself as the text editor you’ll fall in love with and, I must admit, is my current editor of choice.

Here’s a screencast on setting up a dev environment in Sublime Text 3 which covers many of its great features, such as package control and code completion.

Earlier this year Github introduced a text editor to beat all text editors. Atom (as it is called) originally ran in the browser, but the team behind it have been working hard, last month releasing official packages for Linux and this month an installer for Windows.

Buzzword of the Week: MEAN Stack

MEAN Stack

MEAN is an acronym for MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and Node.js – a collection of technologies that enable developers to build an entire web application using only JavaScript. It represents a major shift in architecture — from relational databases to NoSQL and from server-side MVC to client-side, single-page applications.

This article by SitePoint author Adam Bretz examines each of these technologies in a little more depth and introduces a new book he has co-authored on the subject.

Medium is currently running a series of articles taking an exploratory dive into the MEAN stack. They’re currently on part five, but as the article says, don’t get ahead of yourself, start with part one.

Wanna build an Instagram clone with AngularJS, Satellizer, Node.js and MongoDB? Of course you do! This article shows you how.

The MEANstack Daily is a collection of articles, videos and news about MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and NodeJS.

Is this all starting to sound like a bit too much effort? Well, here’s a video detailing how you can deploy the MEAN stack to Google Cloud at the press of a button.

Finally, here’s a (very) in-depth tutorial on building modern web apps with MEAN.

Code Quality

Something that we as developers hear a lot about is code quality, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to write quality code?

There’s a plethora of tools dedicated to visualizing the quality of our code. One such tool is PhpMetrics which uses D3 and some sophisticated analysis algorithms to scan your application’s code and output intricate reports about it.

And these tools aren’t just restricted to server-side development. Here’s how you can use ESLint to maintain the quality of your JavaScript, or use HTML Inspector to help you (and your team) write better markup.

This is one developer’s story of how pair programming and mentoring led to him writing superior quality code and this report details how the Internet of things is improving code quality in open source Java projects.

This video from the Keep Ruby Weird conference has an unusual take on the matter, claiming that there are many similarities between great writing (as in prose) and writing great quality code.

Finally, quality code is backed up by quality tests. Check out my short review of Rails 4 Test Prescriptions and win yourself a copy of the book.

It’s Christmassss!

Christmas card

Most of us will be taking a well-earned break over the Christmas period, but just in case you find yourself craving a fix of web design, be sure to check out the Boagworld Christmas special, in which Paul and Marcus hear stories of Christmas past from Chris Coyier, Sarah Parmenter, Dan Edwards, Bruce Lawson, and many, many more.

The Unfinished Business podcast also put out a Christmas episode, aptly entitled Jingle Bell Rock. It sees the return of Anna Debenham (a former co-host) as a special guest and also happens to be the 100th episode.

Although Santa will have been and gone by now, here are 20 Christmas gift ideas for web designers. I’d be interested to hear what web-related goodies Santa brought you, dear reader, in the comments.

Looking forward to 2015, in this article 50 well-known designers share their top three design trends for 2015.

And looking back at 2014, here are the year’s best and the worst web design trends.


So that’s everything for this week. Thanks for joining us.

I’ll leave you with the best light display you’ll see all year (which is quite literally out of this world), a list of the eight things that technology wants to kill next (not content with face-to-face conversations) and an app that finds beer and wine that better match your taste (I’m in).

So which links caught your attention? What’s your text editor of choice? How do you measure your code quality? What web-related goodies did Santa bring you? Let us know and the discussion can begin.

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