On Our Radar This Week: Watch Apple, and Intuitive Animations

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Welcome to On Our Radar, a weekly round-up of news, trends and other cool stuff from the world of web development.

Watch your usability

Apple have released development kit information for their new Apple Watch, with info on how the device will work (at least initially) and details about getting your iPhone app ready for Apple Watch. Needless to say, there has been a lot of talk about this, and among them are these initial impressions for WatchKit.

The UX of mobile settings for Apple and other operating systems such as Google’s Android and Windows Phone have been under the spotlight too, with Apple coming out unscathed. The same can’t be said for Microsoft though. Does your team have a UX writer? It’s an important role that doesn’t get much credit.

When you’re creating your own UI, Erik has 7 rules for creating gorgeous UI that have been hard won in the fire of personal experience and also, yes, by copying and learning from the best. If you’re to create your own UI, desktop browsers can be left out in the cold. Interact.js fills this gap by providing drag and drop, resizing and multi-touch gestures with inertia and snapping for modern web browsers.

Animating and moving on to Sass

We are improving how browsers handle SVG transforms. Chris covers animation on CSS transforms, browser issues, and how they’re resolved by the GreenSock Animation Platform, known as GSAP. When it comes to managing CSS within your own team, we look at the process of migrating your team to Sass, and if it’s worth the process.

Given that, here are also 15 essential Sass mixins to explore, and CSS Dig that helps you to analyze the CSS of your website in new ways.

Intuitive visualisation

Explained Visually are making hard ideas intuitive by providing wonderfully explanative visuals. Setosa‘s data visualisation is all built on top of the d3 graphics library. If you are animating your own works, James looks at multipliers in JavaScript animations and how to easily explore their effects.


A decent website of style guide resources came to our attention recently. Netflix have also given us a good insight into how Netflix diagnosed and fixed complex latency issues, where we get to see Node.js in flames. We may not have the resources available to us that Netflix have ready to hand, so here’s Comcast that lets us simulate terrible network connections so you can build better systems.

Facebook have released Flow, a static type checker for JavaScript that promises to give an automated way to look for type-conflict issues within your code, and lets you gradually evolve your code in to a typed code system.

Last but not least

Lastly, I’ve been exploring CodeWars, where you are to code up challenges of different types and grades. When your code passes given tests, you can look at how others have coded up their solutions too. I’ve been noticing that many go for short and complex code. But here’s an interesting article about how shorter code is inconsiderate got me thinking. The main thrust is that the more condensed the code, the harder it is to develop and understand. Debugging code is a task that is orders of magnitude more difficult than writing it in the first place. If you are at your limits when writing the code then debugging it is going to be next to impossible. So keeping your code simple and easy to understand is helpful all round.

Which links caught your attention? Are you preparing for Apple Watch, how are your animations progressing, and what do you think of Google’s automatic captions or the lego worm? Whatever takes your interest, we would love to hear from you.

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 (you can sign in with your Google, FaceBook, Twitter, GitHub or Yahoo account).

Paul WilkinsPaul Wilkins
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I'm a web developer living in Christchurch (thanks for all the quakes) where JavaScript is my forte. When off the computer I volunteer down at the local community centre, or enjoy playing tabletop games such as Carcassonne or Stone Age with friends.

animationappleGoogle Tutorials & ArticlessassSVGUIuxwatchkit
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