loading...

Advice to young web developers

fluffy profile image fluffy Originally published at beesbuzz.biz on ・2 min read

I’ve been making websites in some form or another since 1995. After 25 years of experience I think I’ve accumulated enough knowledge to know a few things. Here’s some things I’d like younger developers to think about, in no particular order:

  • Sometimes a website is just a website.
  • The browser is already a client; HTML is its language.
  • The web is built around server-side rendering.
  • You can provide your data in more than one way; consider HTML to be one of several possible data representations.
  • Scaling your server helps everyone. Expecting client-side scaling only helps people with the fastest computers and Internet connections.
  • Not everyone has (or can use) a mouse.
  • Not everyone has (or can use) a keyboard.
  • Not everyone has (or can use) a touchscreen.
  • Not everyone can see colors or pictures the same way you can.
  • Not everyone can process information the same way you do.
  • It is inhumane to move things around on people.
  • The browser’s native HTML parsing is far faster than anything you can write in JavaScript.
  • HTML is already an ideal representation of DOM nodes.
  • HTML is a rich framework.
  • You can probably do that layout change in CSS.
  • Before you roll your own UI component, consider that HTML probably provides it. If it doesn’t provide it, that’s probably for a reason. Attaching DOM events to a <div> or <span> is probably not the best way of doing things.
  • Not everything has to be a “single-page application.”
  • Even if you need to preserve client state between page loads (for e.g. music or video playback) you can let the browser do most of the heavy lifting by fetch()ing a new page and replacing your content container at the DOM level.
  • Infinite scrolls are inhumane. People need to be able to reach “the end.” There are forms of eternal torment described in religious texts that are less mean.
  • If you must do an infinite scroll (and you don’t), make sure that there’s nothing you need to reach at the bottom.
  • Give people consistent but random stimulus and you will be habit-forming. Getting people hooked on your product might seem like a good idea, but the tobacco industry feels the same way.
  • If you design with CDNs in mind, then a server round-trip won’t be slow.
  • It is okay to use multiple languages in a thing. Not everything has to be isomorphic.
  • Always validate your data server-side; anything that comes from the client is suspect.
  • To the developer, “isomorphic” code breaks down the barrier between client and server. To a malicious client, it means they have control over the server too.
  • Browsers change. Relying on browser-specific behavior means you’re relying on that one browser at that one point in time. Code to the standard, and test everywhere.
  • Use polyfills to support browsers that don’t yet support the standard you’re using.
  • It’s okay to copy others; it’s how we learn things. Just remember to learn from it.

comments

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

The web is built around server-side rendering.
Not everything has to be a “single-page application.”

So many forget that it becomes a meme... :)