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.

Typefaces: NPM packages for Open Source typefaces — making it easier to self-host webfonts

Permalink to this heading.Why

  • Self-hosting is significantly faster. Loading a typeface from Google Fonts or other hosted font service adds an extra (blocking) network request. In my testing, I’ve found replacing Google Fonts with a self-hosted font can improve a site’s speedindex by ~300 miliseconds on desktop and 1+ seconds on 3g. This is a big deal.
  • Your fonts load offline. It’s annoying to start working on a web project on the train or airplane and see your interface screwed up because you can’t access Google fonts. I remember once being in this situation and doing everything possible to avoid reloading a project as I knew I’d lose the fonts and be forced to stop working.
  • Go beyond Google Fonts. Some of my favorite typefaces aren’t on Google Fonts like Clear Sans, Cooper Hewitt, and Aleo.
  • All web(site|app) dependencies should be managed through NPM whenever possible. Tis the modern way.

Permalink to this heading.What

Each typeface package ships with all the necessary font files and css to self-host an open source typeface.

All Google Fonts have been added as well as a small but growing list of other open source fonts. Open an issue if you want a font added!

Permalink to this heading.How

Couldn’t be easier. This is how you’d add Open Sans.

npm install --save typeface-open-sans

Then in your app or site’s entry file.

require("typeface-open-sans")

And that’s it! You’re now self-hosting Open Sans!

It should take < 5 minutes to swap out Google Fonts.

Typeface assumes you’re using webpack with loaders setup for loading css and font files (you can use Typeface with other setups but webpack makes things really really simple). Assuming your webpack configuration is setup correctly you then just need to require the typeface in the entry file for your project.

Many tools built with webpack such as Gatsby and Create React App are already setup to work with Typefaces. Gatsby by default also embeds your CSS in your <head> for even faster loading.

If you’re not using webpack or equivalent tool that allows you to require css, then you’ll need to manually integrate the index.css and font files from the package into your build system.

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Duoload: Simplest website load comparison tool, ever

A screenshot of the Duoload interface, with two websites in iframes side by side.

This is pretty excellent tool. (Note that it cannot be used on sites that disable iframe embedding, however.)

Today I needed a quick tool to compare the loading progression (not just loading time, but also incremental rendering) of two websites, one remote and one in my localhost. Just have them side by side and see how they load relative to each other. Maybe even record the result on video and study it afterwards. That’s all. No special features, no analysis, no stats.

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read.isthe.link: A basic functionality Readability almost-clone

A basic functionality [Readability] almost-clone. This service will try to search for the body of the content to a URL, and represent it stripped back and with minimal styling.

Permalink to this heading.Usage

Send your URL to https://read.isthe.link via a query string, and so long as the URL is publically available (i.e. not behind login), then the page can be re-rendered:

https://read.isthe.link?url=https://remysharp.com/node

The page will be cached for a period of time, so subsequent requests will be faster.

Permalink to this heading.Usage with private URLs

You can POST a body to the service and it will give you a hashed URL to redirect to. For example:

Javascript

const xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
 
xhr.open('POST', 'https://read.isthe.link');
xhr.setRequestHeader('content-type', 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded');
xhr.setRequestHeader('referrer', window.location);
 
xhr.onload = () => {
  const res = JSON.parse(xhr.response);
  window.location = `https://read.isthe.link?url=${res.url}`;
}
 
xhr.send(`body=${encodeURIComponent(document.documentElement.innerHTML)}`);

Permalink to this heading.Issues & feedback

All feedback, suggestions, pull requests to github (please): https://github.com/remy/read-body

MIT Licensed

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LayerSnap! Markup-based SVG Animations

The LayerSnap! title, with abstract-looking mountains or hills (as pyramids) in the foreground, and a mass of mountains or hills on the horizon.

Every so often we come across parts of our designs that could really benefit from a smooth build animation or transition. Fortunately, we use a lot of SVG for delivering our vector graphics, so we have a great deal of animation flexibility at our disposal, and one tool we've enjoyed using for helping us animate our SVGs is SnapSVG, by Adobe. Snap is great, but takes a decent amount of JavaScript skill and tinkering to churn out an animation.

While working on some projects last year, we realized that if we had a more user-friendly, markup-based approach to configuring our SVG animations, we'd be more productive, and our clients could easily work with their own animations after hand-off as well. So we built an open-source tool!

Permalink to this heading.Introducing LayerSnap

LayerSnap is a script that builds on top of Snap SVG to build simple SVG animations by editing the SVG markup's attributes. It comes with a suite of pre-set build transitions like "fade", "move-down", "enter-left", "rotate-right", etc. It also has an "anvil" transition, because no animation toolkit is complete without an anvil transition. These transitions can be configured via an attribute on every group (g) element in an SVG, and a special syntax allows you to combine each transition with a host of configuration settings for their speed, delay, easing, looping, repeating, and even interactivity.

Permalink to this heading.Demos, Docs, and more

This is our initial release of LayerSnap, so we expect it'll have some issues here and there to work out. We'd love your help in testing it out. LayerSnap has a couple of dependencies (a CSS file and Snap SVG's JavaScript), but you'll notice our project demos include jQuery and some other utilities for cueing animations when they enter the viewport as you scroll. jQuery isn't required by LayerSnap, but if you're already using it in your project, you'll find a helper script or two in the LayerSnap repo makes it easier to auto-run your animations.

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Does Google execute JavaScript?

Yet another reason to not assume your JavaScript will always run, or if it does run, that it will run in its entirety:

I’m told: Yes, it’s 2016; of course Google executes JavaScript.

But I’m also told: Server-side rendering is necessary for SEO.

If Google can run JavaScript and thereby render client-side views, why is server-side rendering necessary for SEO? Okay, Google isn’t the only search engine, but it’s obviously an important one to optimize for.

Recently I ran a simple experiment to see to what extent the Google crawler understands dynamic content. I set up a web page at doesgoogleexecutejavascript.com which does the following:

  1. The HTML from the server contains text which says “Google does not execute JavaScript.”
  2. There is some inline JavaScript on the page that changes the text to “Google executes JavaScript, but only if it is embedded in the document.”
  3. The HTML also links to a script which, when loaded, changes the text to “Google executes JavaScript, even if the script is fetched from the network. However, Google does not make AJAX requests.”
  4. That script makes an AJAX request and updates the text with the response from the server. The server returns the message “Google executes JavaScript and even makes AJAX requests.”

After I launched this page, I linked to it from its GitHub repository and waited for Google to discover it.

[...]

It seems Google is not guaranteed to run your JavaScript automatically. You may have to manually trigger a crawl. And, even then, Google apparently won’t do any AJAX requests your page may depend on, or at least it didn’t in my case.

[...]

My conclusion is: Google may or may not decide to run your JavaScript, and you don’t want your business to depend on its particular inclination of the day. Do server-side/universal/isomorphic rendering just to be safe.

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Performant infinite scrolling

TL;DR: Re-use your DOM elements and remove the ones that are far away from the viewport. Use placeholders to account for delayed data. Here’s a demo and the code for the infinite scroller.

Infinite scrollers pop up all over the internet. Google Music’s artist list is one, Facebook’s timeline is one and Twitter’s live feed is one as well. You scroll down and before you reach the bottom, new content magically appears seemingly out of nowhere. It’s a seamless experience for users and it’s easy to see the appeal.

The technical challenge behind an infinite scroller, however, is harder than it seems. The range of problems you encounter when you want to do The Right Thing™ is vast. It starts with simple things like the links in the footer becoming practically unreachable because content keeps pushing the footer away. But the problems get harder. How do you handle a resize event when someone turns their phone from portrait to landscape or how do you prevent your phone from grinding to a painful halt when the list gets too long?

A screenshot of the mocked-up infinite scrolling chat log, with various generated messages, some with photos attached. There is a debug element in the top left corner showing 978 DOM nodes.

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