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Fleeting thoughts, evergreen articles, and links to intersting stuff from around the web. And it’s all here all in one convenient chronological list. You can also browse by topic if you’re looking for something speciific.


Don't Change the Station

Someone once told me that radio stations never set out to play the best songs. They only want to play the songs that will make the fewest people change the station. He went further and said that they actually use polls for to figure this out. That is,…

Delete Friction

Brains and habits are weird. Sometimes even the most insidiously tiny bits of friction deter our best intentions, and it can be worth it to make something just a little bit easier in order to make it happen. Often, it only takes the smallest change in the right place in order to reset and rebuild.

Tips for writing Rails tasks with Thor instead of Rake

A bunch of good insights about both Thor and Rake quirks that matches up pretty well with things I’ve been finding as I go deeper into the world of Thor and Rails Generators

Modern CSS For Dynamic Component-Based Architecture

Stephanie Eckles shares her CSS Day presentation about modern CSS development strategies that are available now and will be broadly available in the near future.  She covers CSS reset additions, nesting selectors, cascade layers, theming, layout utilities, and several other topics that expand on some exciting ideas for organizing CSS by taking advantage of all the modern improvements.

Rails Generator Actions

Almost everything done with Rails Generators happens using actions that streamline common tasks that would otherwise have to be performed with lower-level file system commands. Some of these actions are Rails-specific and some come from Thor. This post explores all of them as a unified collection.

Rails Generators & Templates

While it’s difficult to identify one specific piece of Rails Generators that makes them special, Thor’s templating functionality makes a strong case for being that feature. We’re going to see how it works and the how Rails streamlines the process in order to see how handy templates can be.

Take an Easy Step

Big or bold steps aren’t always right. Frequently, they’re clearly wrong. Other times not so much. Choosing the right size for that next step isn’t always easy. But taking the easy step is often a good enough bet.

Live Coding Interviews

In the tech world, live coding interviews are very prevalent but but also terribly inaccurate proxies for assessing potential team members. Fortunately, with additional awareness these practices can be changed to provide better results for everyone involved.

Read-only web apps

Your app should work in a read-only mode without JavaScript. 

Per usual, Jeremy distills things down to simple and unobjectionable points. So many of the arguments against progressive enhancement seem to follow the the thinking from when we collectively believed that sites should look the exact same in every browser.

Progressive enhancement isn’t either/or. It’s a helpful spectrum where the more functionality that can be accessible without JavaScript the better, but just because it may not be pragmatic to have everything accessible without JavaScript all the time, there’s plenty of ways to ensure information can still be accessible without massive engineering efforts.

Stretch 15

A free 15 min daily stretch routine to help desk workers avoid aches and pains 

Getting older and sitting too much has increasingly felt more and more painful. This felt like a great way to remember to take a stretch break and covers most of the stretches I’ve been trying to work into a morning routine. I set it to my home page for new browser windows to see about getting the routine to stick.

Varying Levels of Website Fidelity via Site Settings

I haven’t shared anything about the inner workings of my recent site update, and I’m not planning on it. However, supporting a “Site Fidelity” option inspired by Jim Nielsen is one of the little things I’m more excited about. 

It’s a sort of hybrid “progressive enhancement” demo meets “a perpetual option for CSS Naked” that provides both a handy feature for some visitors and a constant reminder to always keep things as simple and semantic as possible.

The details element is amazing

Some interesting and fun exploration here by Robin. The Details element is one I haven’t built for with my site update, but there’s certainly some good opportunities to use this more in the future. 

To Supercharge Learning, Look to Play

Play is a key component of the arts and aesthetics in myriad ways. Art and play are like two sides of the same coin, with play being a part of artistic expression, imagination, creativity, and curiosity. Though it often gets buried in adulthood, the urge to play exists in all of us. It has been a major part of how we’ve evolved as a species. 

About Those Docs

Daniela Baron writes up some great advice and a thorough list for thinking about documentation on a project.   It’s one of those where you find yourself aggressively nodding along, but there’s one that really stuck out because it feels so often overlooked. So often, people focus on well-written code not needing extensive documentation, and that can be partial true in terms of understanding what the code is doing.

Good names and understandable code can’t, however, explain the why of how a certain section of code is written. We talk about making sure code can be intention-revealing, but it’s never going to be able to communicate the state and context of the project at that specific point in time and how that informed the approach.

Creating Custom Rails Generators

Rails generators can help remove significant friction from the process of spinning up new ideas, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the included generators. You can also create custom generators as long as you’re familiar with the available APIs and know where the speed bumps are.

Steering Attention and Leverage

Automated code review tools are a mixed bag, but if we could get all of the benefits with fewer of the drawbacks, they turn into powerful ways to leverage our limited daily time into significant results.

Movement & Joy

Sit-skiing has let me get moving again and find joy without pain, and it’s truly been life-changing.

A Heat Map Reporter for Minitest

I created a custom reporter for Minitest to try and proactively identify the underlying source of a problem by inspecting and classifying each failure and customizing the information displayed based on the context and type of failure. It also presents a heat map summary to help more quickly identify individual areas that are likely to be causing the other errors.

Thinking Smaller and Locally

This is a personal one, so bear with me. I’m sharing mainly because I can’t imagine giving myself this kind of space ten years ago. So I’m hoping that painting the picture could help other folks who may be in a similar space. Losing a limb kind of…

Thoughts on Trust in Business

The other day, I signed up for Hey without poking around or even thinking about it. I just put in my credit card and set up forwarding for my personal email. After the fact, I thought about how unusual that was and started thinking about what it takes…