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.

Cars with Broken Windshield Wipers

I was stopped at an intersection the other day. It was raining. The road on the other side sloped upwards, so I could see the stopped cars on the other side of the road kind of stadium-seating style. I could see all their windshield wipers going all at the same time, all out-of-sync with each other. Plus a few of them had seemingly kinda broken ones that flapped at awkward times and angles.

What does that have to do with web design and development? Nothing really, other than that I took the scene as inspiration to create something, and it ended up being an interesting hodgepodge of “tricks”.

The "Optimal Image Format" for Each Browser

Perhaps you’ve heard about the WebP image format? And how it’s a pretty good performance win, for the browsers that support it? Well that’s only for Blink-based browsers, at the moment. Estelle Weyl’s article Image Optimization explains the best image format for each browser:

Browser Optimal image format
Chrome WebP
IE 9+ / Edge JPEG-XR
Opera WebP
Safari JPEG-2000

And you can serve these formats through the <picture><source type=""> syntax.

Couple that complexity with the complexity of responsive images, and it really seems like outsourcing image delivery to a dedicated service seems like the way to go. At least above a certain scale.

Google Noto Fonts

When text is rendered by a computer, sometimes characters are displayed as “tofu”. They are little boxes to indicate your device doesn’t have a font to display the text.

Google has been developing a font family called Noto, which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel. Noto is Google’s answer to tofu. The name noto is to convey the idea that Google’s goal is to see “no more tofu”. Noto has multiple styles and weights, and is freely available to all.

A screenshot of the Noto Sans font in Regular 400, Regular Italic 400, and Bold 700, all with the text: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Print QR Codes For Easy URL References

Often regarded as an advertising eyesore, QR codes have their place in certain circumstances. One obvious example is providing an easily-scanned sigil on a printed Web page that enables the user to return to the live version without having to type the URL.

Web page printed with a self-referential QR code

To create the matching QR code, we’ll use Google’s Chart API, which has four required components:

  • The kind of chart information we want Google to deliver (qr, in our case);
  • The rendered size of the QR sigil, in pixels;
  • The URL to encode;
  • The form of character encoding to use.

We’d typically associate the URL with a heading element at the top of the page:

Code language: HTML

<h1>Lizabeth’s Salon</h1>
<h2>Providing Intellectual Stimulation Online Since 2001</h1>

To create the printed result, we’ll provide a margin on the right side of the h1 that is large enough for the heading, and then position a QR code in that area:

Code language: CSS

header h1 {
   margin-right: 200px;
   margin-bottom: 2rem;
   line-height: 1.5;

Because the QR code will be unique to each page, this would be added as an embedded style sheet:

Code language: CSS

@media print {
   header h1:after {
      content: url(;
      position: absolute;
      right: 0;
      top: 0;

This approach has the downside of forcing the developer to enter a URL individually for each page into the API code. If your Web host is running PHP, you can provide the URL of the current page automatically:

Code language: CSS

@media print {
   h1:after {
      content: url(
      position: absolute;
      right: 0;
      top: 0;

I totally forgot about print style sheets

Aaron Gustafson recently sent a tweet to Indiegogo in which he pointed out that their order details pages aren’t usable when printed.

A screenshot of a tweet by Aaron Gustafson saying "Dear @Indiegogo, please take a look at how your Order Details pages print. It really sucks right now.", along with a screenshot of the IndieGoGo page in question in print preview, with huge icons and various form elements littering the page, without any content to be seen.

When I saw this tweet it struck me, because I realized that it has been a long time since I have optimized a page for print or even spared a thought on checking.
Maybe it’s due to the constant resizing of our browsers and making sure that our sites work perfectly in all shapes and sizes or maybe it’s just because I rarely print web pages myself. Whatever it is, I totally forgot about print style sheets and that’s bad.

Optimizing web pages for print is important because we want our sites to be as accessible as possible, no matter the medium. We shouldn’t make assumptions about our users and their behavior. People still print web pages. Just think about articles or blog posts, recipes, contact information, and directions or real estate sites. Someone somewhere will eventually try to print one of the pages you made.

[See various tips and primer in link]