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 8 install vs. optional config

The difference between a module’s install (i.e. required) config and optional config directories doesn’t seem well documented in Drupal 8, so this answer was quite informative:

  • install: The folder can contain configs, like a view or any other config. All configs will be installed, if any config fails module can’t be installed.
  • optional: The folder can contain configs, like a view or any other config. All configs will be installed if possible. If config has missing dependencies, it won’t be installed.
Tags

shame.css, or documenting your hacks

You’d be forgiven for thinking the point of this whole exercise is to shame the developers (you can always pick a name other than shame.css) but it’s really not. I am well aware of (and responsible for) hacks and quick fixes; your product owner doesn’t care if you used an !important, they just want the new feature out of the door. Hacks happen, fact.

shame.css is jokingly titled to make it a little light-hearted whilst also indicating that anything in there is a bit of a shame; a shame to have to have done, a shame to pollute the codebase with and so on…

By isolating all your hacks and bodge-jobs in their own file you can really easily keep tabs on them; isolating them isn’t to shame the developers, not at all, it’s merely to make the team aware of them and make them painfully, unmissably obvious.

The rules

Obviously you need some kind of rules and criteria:

  1. If it’s a hack, it goes in shame.css.
  2. Document all hacks fully:
    1. What part of the codebase does it relate to?
    2. Why was this needed?
    3. How does this fix it?
    4. How might you fix it properly, given more time?
  3. Do not blame the developer; if they explained why they had to do it then their reasons are probably (hopefully) valid.
  4. Try and clean shame.css up when you have some down time.
    1. Even better, get a tech-debt story in which you can dedicate actual sprint time to it.

This certainly seems like a good approach. That said, I personally prefer to have everything related to a component living with the component, but documented as a hack, possibly searchable via some sort of comment tag, like @hack <description>.

Empty States: The Most Overlooked Aspect of UX Design Could Be The Most Important

[T]he basic questions an empty state should answer are:

  • What is this screen?
  • Why am I seeing it?
  • How can I fix this problem?

On top of this, you should aim to:

  • Communicate personality. Make your app a joy to use and connect feelings with features.
  • Explain the benefits. This is critical for your first-use empty states so your users know why they should care.
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URI vs. URL: What's the Difference?

URI

A URI identifies a resource either by location, or a name, or both. More often than not, most of us use URIs that defines a location to a resource. The fact that a URI can identify a resources by both name and location has lead to a lot of the confusion in my opionion. A URI has two specializations known as URL and URN.

URN

A URI identifies a resource by name in a given namespace but not define how the resource maybe obtained. This type of URI is called a URN. You may see URNs used in XML Schema documents to define a namespace, usually using a syntax such as:

<xsd:schema xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
            xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
            targetNamespace="urn:example"

Here the targetNamespace use a URN. It defines an identifier to the namespace, but it does not define a location.

URL

A URL is a specialization of URI that defines the network location of a specific resource. Unlike a URN, the URL defines how the resource can be obtained. We use URLs every day in the form of http://damnhandy.com, etc. But a URL doesn’t have to be an HTTP URL, it can be ftp://damnhandy.com, smb://damnhandy.com, etc.

The Difference Between Them

So what is the difference between URI and URL? It’s not as clear cut as I would like, but here’s my stab at it:

A URI is an identifier for some resource, but a URL gives you specific information as to obtain that resource. A URI is a URL and as one commenter pointed out, it is now considered incorrect to use URL when describing applications. Generally, if the URL describes both the location and name of a resource, the term to use is URI. Since this is generally the case most of us encounter everyday, URI is the correct term.

Drupal 8, behaviors, and jQuery Once

When porting some front-end code from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, I ran into an unexpected change in the use of jQuery.once(). In Drupal 7, you’d do this in a behavior:

Code language: JavaScript

Drupal.behaviors.exampleBehavior = {
  attach: function(context, settings) {
    $('.example', context).once('example-behavior', function() {
      // Do stuff.
    });
  },
  detach: function(context, settings, trigger) {
    $('.example', context).removeOnce('example-behavior', function() {
      // Undo stuff.
    });
  }
};

In Drupal 8, however, you can’t pass in a function to jQuery.once(), as the API for that jQuery plugin has changed. It now acts like jQuery.filter(), in that it filters out any elements that have already been processed so they aren’t processed more than once, and returns a jQuery collection. So, in Drupal 8, the example would be:

Code language: JavaScript

Drupal.behaviors.exampleBehavior = {
  attach: function(context, settings) {
    $('.example', context).once('example-behavior').each(function() {
      // Do stuff.
    });
  },
  detach: function(context, settings, trigger) {
    $('.example', context).removeOnce('example-behavior').each(function() {
      // Undo stuff.
    });
  }
};