On Our Radar This Week: Replicators, RWD and More Resources
Welcome to On Our Radar, a weekly round-up of news, trends and other cool stuff from the world of web development.
As ever, there’s been a whole lot of groovy stuff going on: Nestlé announced that they intend to make a real-life Star Trek food replicator, Larry Page voiced his opinion that the future of the workforce may well be part-time (which is fine by me) and it came to light that the NSA thinks that Linux Journal is an extremist forum. Meanwhile, scientists revealed that men would rather receive an electric shock than think.
In tech news, a startup founded by Dropbox and MIT alums launched, which aims to power the next generation of email applications. Google announced a Gmail API aimed at giving developers a better way to build apps that integrate with Gmail and, not wanting to be left out, Microsoft increased OneDrive storage to 15 GB free for everyone.
There’s been a lot happening in the world of WordPress lately. A new plugin aims to bring true version control to the blogging tool and CMS, the beta version of WordPress 4.0 was released, and Longreads (owned by Automattic, which also owns WordPress), leveraging the fact that WordPress famously “powers 22% of the internet”, created a collection focusing on the Best of WordPress, Vol. 1.
Here are some more links to help you brush up on your WordPress skills:
- How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website
- Custom Post Types: Take WordPress Beyond Blogging
- Game Changing Git Based WordPress Development (Video)
- How to Customize the WordPress Dashboard to Minimize Confusion
- Customizing WordPress Comments
- 15 Things You May Not Know WordPress Can Do
Bonus fact: WordPress sponsors beer conferences. What’s not to love?
It’s not just your WordPress skills that need keeping up to date. Here’s a mix of tutorials and articles covering everything from functional programming, through deploying Django on Heroku, to Jetbrains’ somewhat unfortunately-named 0xDBE.
- Don’t Be Scared Of Functional Programming
- Rapid Website Deployment With Django, Heroku & New Relic
- Simplify Your Ruby Code With the Robustness Principle
- 0xDBE: A First Look
- Wrapping Text Around A Curved Image With CSS Shapes
- How to Create a tiled background slideshow
- Seven Things You Should Never Code Yourself
Responsive Web Design
Nowadays, almost every new client wants a mobile version of their website. So what to do? There was a time when the mobile experience was relegated to a subdomain (usually “m” or “mob”), but then along came Responsive Web Design (RWD) and turned it all upside down.
RWD describes an approach that, with the aid of CSS3 media queries, allows the design and content of a site to adapt to the size and orientation of the user’s device (be it a smartphone, tablet or PC). RWD is a great way to make your site look great no matter how it is viewed and is an essential skill for designers to master.
- Responsive Web Design Basics
- 35 The Most Excellent Responsive Web Design Tutorials
- Responsive Images using (Video)
- Responsive Paragraphs for Non-Designers (Video)
- Thoughts from Responsive Day Out
- Responsive Design vs ‘m.’ Sites
- “RWD Is Bad for Performance” Is Good for Performance
There’s been a lot of debate around test-driving your code lately, embodied by a series of discussions between Martin Fowler, Kent Beck and DHH (the creator of Rails).
Whichever side of the fence you come down on, the fact that we should all be testing our code is inescapable. Here’s a bunch of links to help you do just that.
- Simple Testing in Ruby Using Minitest (Video)
- A BDD Workflow With Behat and Phpspec
- Make Your Ruby Tests Cleaner with Minitest and Shoulda
- Fearless Browser Testing [JSConf2014] (Video)
- Stop Guessing, Start Simple A/B Testing (Testing of a different nature)
- Taking the test trash out with DatabaseCleaner and RSpec
And don’t forget, one major advantages of testing is being able to refactor your code with confidence, as demonstrated in this article (Ruby) and this one (PHP).
There’s so much good stuff appearing daily, it’s hard to even know where to start:
- Largest collection of free Microsoft eBooks ever
- Web Development Tools for Linux & How to Install Them
- Placekitten (A simple service for getting pictures of kittens to use as placeholders)
- RawGit (Serves raw files directly from GitHub with proper Content-Type headers)
- Take a digital health check (Courtesy of Mr. Paul Boag)
- Prelang (Automatic Rails Development)
That’s it for another week. I’ll leave you with the awesome phenomenon that is giflinks (make sure you use them in your next project) and an example of stunning design bringing an otherwise boring subject to life.
Now it’s over to you: do you make all of your sites responsive by default? Is TDD truly dead? How much would you pay for a Star Trek food replicator? Let us know and the conversation can begin.
Also, if you have any problems implementing anything covered here, or just want to discuss it some more, SitePoint’s forums are a great place to visit.