Snippets

These snippets are my attempt to save and organize various bits of code, best practices, and resources relating to web development and design. They also function as a to do list of sorts, for things I want to implement in my own code, but haven't yet. The concept is inspired by Jeremy Keith's links and CSS-Tricks, among other things. Enjoy.

Drupal Composer scaffold file prepending and appending

The file-mapping configuration setting consists of a map from the destination path of the file to scaffold to a set of properties that control how the file should be scaffolded.

The available properties are as follows:

  • mode: One of “replace”, “append” or “skip”.
  • path: The path to the source file to write over the destination file.
  • prepend: The path to the source file to prepend to the destination file, which must always be a scaffold file provided by some other project.
  • append: Like prepend, but appends content rather than prepends.
  • overwrite: If false, prevents a replace from happening if the destination already exists.

The mode may be inferred from the other properties. If the mode is not specified, then the following defaults will be supplied:

  • replace: Selected if a path property is present, or if the entry’s value is a string rather than a property set.
  • append: Selected if a prepend or append property is present.
  • skip: Selected if the entry’s value is a boolean false.

Examples:

"file-mapping": {
  "[web-root]/sites/default/default.settings.php": {
    "mode": "replace",
    "path": "assets/sites/default/default.settings.php",
    "overwrite": true
  },
  "[web-root]/sites/default/settings.php": {
    "mode": "replace",
    "path": "assets/sites/default/settings.php",
    "overwrite": false
  },
  "[web-root]/robots.txt": {
    "mode": "append",
    "prepend": "assets/robots-prequel.txt",
    "append": "assets/robots-append.txt"
  },
  "[web-root]/.htaccess": {
    "mode": "skip",
  }
}

Mike Taylor - A case for browser-engine diversity... - View Source 2019

Given the recent demise of Presto and EdgeHTML rendering engines, and dominant market share growth for Chrome (and its Chromium engine), can we make a case for browser engine diversity in a decreasingly diverse browser engine world? In this talk, we’ll talk about web compatibility, interoperability, the web standards process, and hopefully conclude that we should care about these things in 2019.

Equal height rows in CSS Grid Layout

Great answer by Michael_B on Stack Overflow:

Short Answer

If the goal is to create a grid with equal height rows, where the tallest cell in the grid sets the height for all rows, here’s a quick and simple solution:

  • Set the container to grid-auto-rows: 1fr

How it works

Grid Layout provides a unit for establishing flexible lengths in a grid container. This is the fr unit. It is designed to distribute free space in the container and is somewhat analogous to the flex-grow property in flexbox.

If you set all rows in a grid container to 1fr, let’s say like this:

grid-auto-rows: 1fr;

… then all rows will be equal height.

It doesn’t really make sense off-the-bat because fr is supposed to distribute free space. And if several rows have content with different heights, then when the space is distributed, some rows would be proportionally smaller and taller.

Except, buried deep in the grid spec is this little nugget:

7.2.3. Flexible Lengths: the fr unit

When the available space is infinite (which happens when the grid container’s width or height is indefinite), flex-sized (fr) grid tracks are sized to their contents while retaining their respective proportions.

The used size of each flex-sized grid track is computed by determining the max-content size of each flex-sized grid track and dividing that size by the respective flex factor to determine a “hypothetical 1fr size”.

The maximum of those is used as the resolved 1fr length (the flex fraction), which is then multiplied by each grid track’s flex factor to determine its final size.

So, if I’m reading this correctly, when dealing with a dynamically-sized grid (e.g., the height is indefinite), grid tracks (rows, in this case) are sized to their contents.

The height of each row is determined by the tallest (max-content) grid item.

The maximum height of those rows becomes the length of 1fr.

That’s how 1fr creates equal height rows in a grid container.


Why flexbox isn’t an option

As noted in the question, equal height rows are not possible with flexbox.

Flex items can be equal height on the same row, but not across multiple rows.

This behavior is defined in the flexbox spec:

6. Flex Lines

In a multi-line flex container, the cross size of each line is the minimum size necessary to contain the flex items on the line.

In other words, when there are multiple lines in a row-based flex container, the height of each line (the “cross size”) is the minimum height necessary to contain the flex items on the line.

The Perfect Paragraph

Walking down an aisle in a library, I no more than glance at the vast majority of books shelved on either side of me. Only a madman would suggest that my disregard of these books should sanction their pages being torn out. Nonetheless, because research has shown that visitors don’t read the average Web page in full, and because the “success” of a page is more easily measured by user action than cognition, we are often encouraged to marginalize our writing in favor of visual signifiers or action cues.

Sure, most people will “bounce” your content, but if you really have something to say, don’t alienate the people who are willing to give your writing a chance. Good typography does justice to your words, and good wording does justice to your ideas. If readers are comfortable reading your type, then they will more likely be comfortable with what you are writing about.

The W3C At Twenty-Five - Rachel Andrew's #WebStory

One of the reasons I care so much about the web platform remaining open and accessible to new people who want to publish on and build things for the web is because of the route I took to get here.

As mentioned earlier, the W3C is celebrating their anniversary by inviting people to share stories of how they became involved in the web. In that spirit (and perhaps to encourage Smashing readers to share their stories), here is mine.

I had never intended to work with computers. I intended to become a dancer and singer, and I left school at 16 to go to dance college. My father is a programmer, however, so we were fairly unusual at the time as we had a computer in the house by 1985 when I was 10.

As a child, I liked typing in the code of “choose your own adventure” games, which appeared in books and magazines. I liked spotting the strings of text which would then show up in the game I would later play (usually, once my dad had fixed it up) on our Amstrad CPC464. I liked to visit the computer lab at Newcastle University, see the huge computers, and talk to the women who worked on them. Perhaps most importantly (and despite my arty interests), I never grew up thinking I couldn’t use computers. I just wasn’t especially interested.

[…]

Then I became pregnant with my daughter and had to leave the theatre. I was good at crewing and loved the theatre, but it was heavy and sometimes dangerous work with unsociable hours — not really a job for someone with a baby. I didn’t know what I would do, but I could type so I thought that perhaps I could type up essays for people. I was upsold to a computer — having gone into PC World looking for a wordprocessor. It was a Packard Bell 486 with a built-in 640×480 screen — a terrible machine that would allow me to either get the sound card working or the modem, but not both at once. I chose the modem and this is where my web story really begins. Even getting this modem working and getting the computer onto the Internet was something of a challenge and, once I did, I went looking for information about… babies.

I didn’t know anything about babies. All my friends were men who worked backstage in theatre. I had no support network, no family around me to help, and so I logged onto ParentsPlace and found people who didn’t mind my questions and were happy to help. At the time, there obviously was no Facebook. This meant that if you wanted to share photos and stories, you built a website. So among the forums about childbirth and toddler tantrums, there were people teaching each other HTML and sharing sets of graphics along with the code to place them. It was like typing out those “choose your own adventure” books again. I was amazed that I didn’t need anyone to fix my code — it just worked!

[…]

Before long, people would pay me to build them a website, and I felt that I should repay at least in some way for all of the questions I had asked. So, I started to answer questions in the forums. That was how it seemed to work. People would learn and move one step up the ladder, the new people would come in with the same questions and the people a step ahead would answer — all the while asking their own questions of those further along. I loved this. I could never have afforded lessons, but I had time. I could help others, and in return, people helped me.

[…]

I became interested in web standards essentially because it made no sense to me that we would have to build the same website twice — in order that it would work in both browsers.

Users Don't Hate Change. They Hate Our Design Choices.

For years, we studied teams rolling out new designs, to see if we could mitigate negative reaction to new releases and design changes. We studied hundreds of product and service rollouts. We watched and learned from the reactions of thousands of users.

When we dug into what those users’ reactions, patterns emerged. The users told us the changes inconvenienced them. They had no idea the change was coming and suddenly it was in their face. Users were upset because they were surprised.

They also told us the old version worked fine. Even when it took a while to get comfortable, they learned it. Many users mastered difficult-to-use designs.

Everything was different when the new version arrived. What they’d mastered before didn’t help them now. The company said it was an improved design, but they couldn’t see the improvements. Why should these users learn something new that doesn’t help them? Users were upset because they couldn’t see the value.

We also saw many instances where users didn’t react negatively to changes. Often, they didn’t react at all. We saw new designs that didn’t affect the users’ behaviors and they didn’t pay attention to it.

In these cases, the changes were often not noticeable. Sometimes the changes were small and isolated. Yet, we also saw users seemingly not notice several updates with extensive changes. (In more than one instance, an entire application’s infrastructure had been rewritten without a single user noticing.)

In cases when the design changes were noticeable, the designers gave the users control to switch when they wanted. The designers showed why the change was valuable to the users. And the designers made the transition easy by taking the knowledge and experience their users already had with the product into account.

Measure Performance with the RAIL Model

RAIL is a user-centric performance model that breaks down the user’s experience into key actions. RAIL’s goals and guidelines aim to help developers and designers ensure a good user experience for each of these actions. By laying out a structure for thinking about performance, RAIL enables designers and developers to reliably target the work that has the highest impact on user experience.

Every web app has four distinct aspects to its life cycle, and performance fits into them in different ways:

Image

Summary

RAIL is a lens for looking at a website’s user experience as a journey composed of distinct interactions. Understand how users perceive your site in order to set performance goals with the greatest impact on user experience.

  • Focus on the user.
  • Respond to user input in under 100ms.
  • Produce a frame in under 10ms when animating or scrolling.
  • Maximize main thread idle time.
  • Load interactive content in under 5000ms.

FastDom: eliminate layout thrashing by batching DOM measurement and mutation tasks

FastDom works as a regulatory layer between your app/library and the DOM. By batching DOM access we avoid unnecessary document reflows and dramatically speed up layout performance.

Each measure/mutate job is added to a corresponding measure/mutate queue. The queues are emptied (reads, then writes) at the turn of the next frame using window.requestAnimationFrame.

FastDom aims to behave like a singleton across all modules in your app. When any module requires 'fastdom' they get the same instance back, meaning FastDom can harmonize DOM access app-wide.