21 posts tagged webdev

The Era of Code

Or, rather, The Dark Ages of the Web

Frontend coding is a waste of time.

Something I’ve said privately for awhile, but I guess I haven’t been brave enough to post publicly: frontend coding is a waste of time. I know, audacious, right? But it’s true. I’m a designer who can code (full stack no-less, not only frontend) and while I highly value writing good frontend code, and often go to painstaking lengths to do so, it’s the most base level part of my process, and most in need of a replacement or alternative.

Let me explain

With few exceptions, a finished design in InDesign or Illustrator is ready for the press. This is not true of a finished web design in Photoshop.

I have a background in print design. In print, as I’m designing, I’m also creating/producing. With few exceptions, a finished design in InDesign or Illustrator is ready for the press. This is not true of a finished web design in Photoshop. I’ve started achieving the same parity in my web work, but only by designing in the browser, with live or prototype code. This process is quicker than the normal Photoshop > Frontend Code route, but it’s still a far cry from the direct creativity-to-production efficiency a print designer is able to achieve.

The Enlightenment

The web is also becoming more complex. Do you really envision hand-coding complex CSS animation, with gradients, and 3d transforms, and other whizz-bang features in a production setting? Sure, it’s fun to experiment, but when it’s your clients dime for the amount of time you spend on a project, with deadlines staring you in the face, you’ll end up simplifying the pitch—likely before you even talk to the client, let alone at their behest. Is that a good reason to constrain ourselves from using some of the amazing new features we have in our toolbox?

Youthful Indiscretion

I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re among the last of a generation of web designers who hand-codes all or most of our design work.

The web is young. Someday we’ll look back on this period in the web’s history and realize how little control we had over design, how underpowered our rendering engines were, how rudimentary hand-coding was, and how much work it took to get from idea to clickable execution. It won’t happen overnight, but the tools will continue to evolve. While the end result may not look exactly like InDesign for the web, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re among the last of a generation of web designers who hand-codes all or most of our design work. After all, I’m sure somebody hand-coded some of the first postscript to ever make it’s way through the first digital plate-maker and onto a press.


January ends today, which I believe means that the statute of limitations on posts reflecting on the past year ends as well. I felt it would be remiss for me to not at least highlight a few things that I spent my time on last year.

2011 was a big year. As the year started, I was currently working on an as-yet unannounced, top-secret project for Threadless, alongside Good Apples.


I’m with Ingrid: I see a growing movement of people who value craft and quality over price and immediate availability or convenience. That’s not to say that we all have to work as individuals or build small things, though. I believe it’s a harder challenge to scale good craftsmanship, but companies like Apple show us it’s possible.

It’s partly my personality, but I take a lot of solace in approaching my work with a craft method—as a craftsperson. It’s a perspective that allows me to take a deep breath and take on work with a balance of meticulous detail and function. A good craftsperson pursues quality and aesthetic, but also know when to pay attention to value and how something works.

Colorado Cupcake Shop Sales Explode As Neighboring Web Development Studio Hires More Nerds

Friends and fellow Boulderites Quick Left know their dev stuff, and—apparently—their cupcakes.


Teach your clients about the mysteries of the web

Paddy Donnelly & Jack Osborne have curated a fascinating (and already growing) repository of articles centered around issues that clients of web design and development services often have: things like the mythical fold, use of whitespace, spec work, and the importance of content.

It’s a great resource. I wouldn’t send a client directly to it—that just seems a little cheap—but if you’ve got a client that has some of these questions and is willing to learn, these are good educational starting points.

(via swissmiss)

Visit the Link

Twitter angers third-party developers with ‘no more timelines’ urging

Time will tell what this statement really means in practice—and I fully understand the argument (and Twitter’s right to take such a stance against their 3rd-party developers)—but it’s easy to speculate where this goes. It’s sad to see a company—that was popularized in no small part by giving 3rd parties access to their data—begin to change course and restrict those developers and former partners.

(via Daring Fireball)


An Instagram Rainbow


Developer Elliott Kember and cohorts have been playing around with Instagram’s API since before it was actually an API, starting with a web interface for the iPhone photo app called Insta-great!. At a recent hack night, along with Marc Roberts and Phil Sturgeon, he created Instashade. It pulls photos from the service and then organizes them in a rainbow, of sorts. It’s very pretty. And, if you have a larger monitor, there’s a big version too.

Visit Original

Why your design will never be complete…

I try not to work with clients who have this mentality. Often, when the site launches is when the real work is just starting.

How do I learn to program?

I’m a designer who learned to program out of shear frustration. I didn’t have the resources to hire a programmer yet I had ideas that I wanted to execute and was tired of feeling helpless. I let the frustration motivate me, and now I can play both ends—design and development—it’s the best thing I ever did for my career.