Monthly digest โ€“ March 2018

5 min read

This is the article version of my monthly newsletter.


Happy Easter everybody! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป

I hope you all enjoy a few days off โ€“ here are some things to read over the holidays. ๐Ÿ‡

# How blind people use technology

Buzzfeed released a video sharing how blind people use phones today. The little pocket computers we carry around all day can enable so many things for people. Seeing this video makes me happy because I think itโ€™s great that we have the technology today that can be used for more than playing games, reading emails, and checking Twitter.

Thinking of programming โ€“ did you ever wonder how blind people program? Saqib Shaikh gave a conference talk showing how he uses Visual Studio to write software. Very impressive!

Jessica Rose also had a Persuit Podcast episode "Learning to Code while blind" with Parham Doustdar on this topic, it made me think about the ways we teach coding today.

# Accessibility makes products better for everyone

Jen Simmons showed in a quick seven-minute video that accessibility is not only crucial for screen readers.

Did you ever use Pocket and found a broken saved article? Or did you use the reading mode of a browser and it didn't show the whole article?

These problems appear because some websites are not accessible. They are written with unsemantic markup and donโ€™t follow logical source code order, and this shows that accessible products are not only important for people using assistive technology but also for me using Pocket and the reader mode in Firefox.

# The web is a messy place

This month one of my goals was to set up proper CSP (Content Security Policy) reporting for my site. After breaking it by "just adding" CSP headers initially, I decided that I had to go with a proper CSP rollout-strategy.

The way to go are CSP-report-only headers which don't let the browser block resources but instead send requests to an endpoint giving information about CSP violations. At some point when you then don't get violation reports anymore, it's time to turn on CSP safely.

Thanks to Netlify's new lambda functions I was able to set up an endpoint quickly and send all the violations directly to my inbox using Mailgun.

When you start monitoring CSP violations, you discover what an unsafe place even your website is. There are so many different scripts and styles running in your visitor's browsers so that it almost scares me a little. A few violations make sense, and a few do not at all โ€“ Nicolas Hoffmann collects all kind of CSP violations with possible explanations. Very helpful and highly recommended!

# This month I learned

# You can clone repositories without the whole history

While browsing electron boilerplates to kick off another side project, I came across a way to clone git repositories without their complete history. That is handy for starter projects.

# lookaheads (and lookbehinds) in JavaScript regular expressions

Regular expressions are always a challenge for me and this month I sat down and learned about lookaheads and the upcoming lookbehind feature in JavaScript regular expressions.

# Viewport units can destroy zooming

Nice and short โ€“ If you play with the idea to use font-size: 1vw or something similar in your project... don't do it because it breaks a core functionality of zooming!

# Accessing the DOM is not equal accessing the DOM

When you use querySelectorAll the return value will be a NodeList. Did you know that there are different ways to retrieve NodeLists today? And that NodeLists can behave differently? And also โ€“ did you know that methods like getElementsByClassName do not return NodeLists but rather something else?

After seven years of web development, I have to admit that I didn't know the answers to these questions.

# Read of the month

"Timezones are hard" โ€“ as a developer you might have learned that lesson already. Matthew Lyon wrote a very long but also very informative article on time zones in programming and if you finally want to understand GMT, UTC, offsets and standard time โ€“ this article is for you.

Speaking of timezones: I started using a MacOS app called There which helps me to keep track of the timezone of my co-workers. Works nicely so far!

# Quote of the month

A 10x engineer isnโ€™t someone who is 10x better than those around them, but someone who makes those around them 10x better.

by Kate Heddleston in "Becoming a 10x Developer"

# Talks to learn from

End of last year Sarah Drasner spoke at FullStackFest about SVG and wow!!! โ€“ she sends so much positive energy to the audience while including so much useful information, links, and examples!

The talk "SVG can do that?!" is definitely worth 30 minutes of your time no matter if you just started with SVG or are using it for years.

# Songs that make you stop working

Decades ago I was a huge "The Killers" fan โ€“ I still remember being at their first concerts in Berlin. The first two albums were unbelievable good and Mr. Brightside was always one of my favorite songs. The powerful guitar riff and impulsive rhythm made me move and smile wherever I was. This month I came across a cover of this song by "Run River North" that is so different than the original that it took me up to the powerful closing to recognize it โ€“ love it!

And that's it โ€“ I hope you enjoyed this third monthly digest and if you have any feedback let me know. Have a great April! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป

Tags for this post

If you like this post share it or subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Load time