We see complexity in every corner of a web project these days. We’ve read quite a bunch of articles about how complex a specific technology has become and we discuss this over and over again. Coming from a time where we uploaded our websites via FTP, had no git or similar, now living in a time where we have a build system, transpilers, frameworks, tests and a CI for the smalles projects this is easy to understand. But on the other hand, web development has grown so much in the past 15 years that we cannot really compare this anymore objectively. And while some things ‘seem’ to have been easier in the past, we neglect the advantages and countless possibilities we have today. When we didn’t write tests back then, he simply also had no test — meaning no reliable way to test for success. When we had no deployment process, it was easy to upload a new version but as easy to break something — and it happened a lot more than today when a Continuous Integration system is in place.
Jeffrey Zeldman’s “The Cult of Complex” still outlines how we lose ourselves in unnecessary details and too often try to over-think problems. I like the challenge of building systems that are not too complex but show a decent amount of responsibility (ethics, privacy, security and a great user experience and performance) and are working reliably (tests, deployments, availability and performance again). I guess this problem isn’t going away any time soon and we will talk about this soon again. If you look at it, you can see complexity everywhere — we just need to decide if it’s useful complexity or added because it was easier or because we were over-engineering the original problem.
- In The Cult of the Complex Jeffrey Zeldman writes about how we often seem to forget that simplicity is the key and goal in all we do, the overall goal for projects and life. And he explains why it’s so hard to achieve and why it’s so much easier to cultivate complex systems and tempting to add complexity to projects. A very good read we should remember and re-read from time to time. Definitely a piece I’ll add to my ‘evergreen’ list.
- Oliver Schöndorfer shares how to start with variable fonts on the web and how we can style them using CSS. A pretty complete summary of things you need to figure out whether variable fonts would be something for your project.
- With the upcoming macOS Mojave supporting a ‘dark mode’, Safari will begin to automatically set the background color of websites to a black color if no
background-coloris explicitly set. This is a great reminder to keep in mind that browsers set and can alter their default styles and we need to set our site-defaults carefully. I’m still hoping that the ‘dark mode’ will be exposed to a CSS Media Query so we can officially add support for it.
Work & Life
- Anton Sten on the moral implications for our apps. On Code of Conducts for designers, comparisons with established professions such as lawyers, journalists and medical doctors, and an explanation why the times of “move fast and break things” are definitely over as we’re dealing with Artificial Intelligence, Social Networks that affect peoples’ lives and with privacy matters enforced by GDPR.