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Diary of a front end developer

Welcome to an opinionated exploration of front end web development through the eyes of a developer who’s been building since the 90s. It contains live experiments (via CodePen), development set-up, guides, and industry musing. Covering all aspects of building for modern web, including code, user experience (UX), accessibility (a11y) and design, this is the diary of a front end developer.


Latest posts

Password field UX woes

TL;DR How do I know my keyboard is dropping characters on a password field? The Long A power cut took out my home server–a Mac Mini running macOS High Sierra. It (sensibly?) has a boot password and encrypted SSD. I brought the system back online to be prompted with the usual login screen. No matter …

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Web Dev roles

Now that I’m looking for a new role in web development, here’re some thoughts on the types of organisations I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve worked in a fair few different environments over the years, from corporate to agency and freelance. Each unique, with their own set of business and organisational challenges–not just the …

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Visual regression testing with Wraith

I’ve had a play with this before, but new machine, new set-up, this time I’ll document it… First, what is Visual Regression Testing? Simply, the visual comparison of two versions of a page, and highlighting any differences. It’s spot the difference for web folks. It’s important to note this compliments other testing, catching the sort of …

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Personal site refresh and BrowserSync gotcha

After the experiments with branding earlier this week, it was about time I gave my ‘business card’ site at a lick of paint. Didn’t want anything showy. Just a nice landing page for my main domain that leads off to various places I squirrel stuff. It’s hand-crafted with no frameworks with SCSS, and a …

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Personal branding experiments

I’m having a lot of fun working on a personal brand at the moment. Part in due for being back on the market for a new front end role, but also because it has been ages since I got to dig into some design work for me. But then again, I’m my own worst client. …

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Animating SVG (CSS vs. GreenSock GSAP)

Inline SVGs (not those loaded as images) can be styled like any other collection of DOM elements. But there appear to be a few limitations. Primarily, due to the way transforms (coordinates) are handled within SVG relative positioning is hard. I really wanted to explore animating SVG elements with purse CSS, and to an extent this …

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Live-blogging and Micro-blogging

Exploring microblogging directly from WordPress. I’ve found this style of blogging really useful when working through a problem; a worklog/devlog of sorts so I can retrace my steps (those not covered by git commits). This looks promising: For live blogging I also found this free (open source) project. My only fear with introducing yet another …

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Renewing SSL with crontab failed

LetsEncrypt SSL certificates expire every 90 days. Looks like something not quite working with the auto renewal of SSL certs for my person domains. Caught an email from LetsEncrypt warning me that various domains were about to lose their certificates, despite a cron job running on the server. To edit the crontab (Ubuntu): sudo crontab …

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Deeply nested tables that are purely for layout. Horrible inline styles. He must be building emails… The problem remains legacy email clients, and the bizarre long tail of support that results in. While desktop browsers have moved on and it has become relatively acceptable to focus support on “evergreen” browser, this move is happening much, …

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My host (Digital Ocean) provides weekly full-server backups, and I can snapshot on the fly before I make any dramatic configuration changes. But this isn’t really fine-grained enough for a production environment. Finally got around to doing something about that. All of my code is in GitHub, so I’m only really worried about content – …

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