Reading list: 2018 January




Watch list: January 2018

In the same vein as my “Reading list” posts, here I’m sharing the videos I’ve seen lately.

Web development


Reading list: December 2017

Note: This post is constantly updated as I add the articles I have read.

I read many articles related to development and technology and when I see something interesting, I share it with my friends and colleagues via email. This isn’t optimal when one has more than 2 or 3 friends and as I don’t like Facebook nor Twitter, I have decided to create a dedicated post here on my blog for sharing the stuff I find interesting, insightful or just entertaining in some way.

Web Development

  • What makes a website look high end? (professional images, lots of white space, and simplicity)
  • How to Become a Great Front-End Engineer (the most important tips: don’t just solve problems but understand its root causes, read other people’s code, work with people who are smarter and more experienced than you, write about what you learn to test your understanding)
  • How to be an uncommonly good web developer (be passionate about it, it takes great energy and effort, know when to ask for help, learn to teach yourself, stay curious, understand the why, learn from your mistakes, people skills are just as important as coding skills, respect others, be proactive)



Progressive Web Apps and Frameworks


  • Writeaday – Indie Hackers (an interview with a developer of a journaling app)
    • “Most attempts to grow my user base didn’t work, so I made the decision early on to just focus on making the best product possible.”
    • “Just get that v1 out there, get roasted a little, and work like hell to improve it iteration after iteration.”
    • “There are users who can’t (or won’t) pay for an app. I don’t waste time trying to upsell them. I just want them to have a good experience and leave a good review. Free users are your best salespeople if you don’t have the money to hire a full-time sales staff.”
  • The Problem With Problems
    • Don’t come up with business ideas but rather find problems and solve them.
    • “media, blogs and communities are filled with business ideas, but not with business problems”
    • “Not all problems are even instantly recognizable.”
    • “The amount of time and energy that goes into fun, but ultimately useless ideas, is mind-numbing.”
  • Interview with Celsius Online (a game studio creating HTML5 games)
    • “We always start by developing a disposable prototype with placeholders as graphics in order to ensure that the game is indeed fun. Sometimes, what works on paper doesn’t necessarily translate into an addictive and pleasant gameplay, so that’s a mandatory step before going any further.”
  • Why I Left My $100,000+ Developer Job at Google (to focus on his YouTube channel which helps people preparing for tech interviews and see the result of his work in a more direct way)
  • What sugar does to your brain
    • Eeating too much sugar hijacks the brain’s reward system but it is disputed whether one actually can develop an addiction to sugar.
    • “high-sugar diets can alter decision-making and the ability to control behaviour”
    • “sugar using the same protocols could change the brain in exactly the same way as alcohol and nicotine do”
    • “In animals, the research is fairly clear: sugar damages their ability to make new memories.” (and a study suggests that sugar adversely impacts the cognitive functions of humans as well)
    • “To deal with the addictive powers of sugar, Professor Selena Bartlett suggests meditation exercises to build focus and willpower.”

Two great talks from Chrome Dev Summit 2017

Fast By Default: Modern Loading Best Practices

Main points:

  • Mobile has changed everything from a UX point of view
  • Factors that impact loading time, best practices for loading
  • Important metric: time to interactive (the number of seconds before the user can make useful actions on the page)
  • Parsing JavaScript is expensive so deliver as little code as possible for low time to interactivity.
  • Test your web apps on average hardware as well, not just high-end devices.
  • Every member of the team is responsible for performance.
  • Recipe for building good websites
    • Develop on an average phone
    • Keep JS parse and eval low
    • Have a performance budget (time to interactive in less than 5 seconds)
  • Performance budget tools: Calibre, Speedcurve, Bundlesize
  • Chrome User Experience Report
  • “Progressive web apps are the new normal.”
  • People are reluctant to install apps, mobile web gets stronger.
  • Overview for the new PWAs by Pinterest and Tinder (both are based on React)
  • Webpack Bundle Analyzer
  • Improving performance is a journey. Lots of small changes can lead to big gains.
  • MOM: Measure, Optimize, Monitor

Real World WebAssembly

Main points:

  • WebAssembly is for building high-performance code and running it inside your application.
  • It’s not a replacement for JavaScript, it works alongside JavaScript.
  • Compile C/C++ to wasm modules and call it from JavaScript.
  • Almost runs on native speed and also highly secure.
  • WebSight
  • Compiling the official JPEG library to a WebAssembly module, running a JPEG transcoder in the browser
  • Overview of Scirra Construct3 (a full featured web-based game editor)
  • Future features of WebAssembly (threads, improved support for debugging, garbage collection)
  • WebAssembly is ready for prime-time production applications.

A music visualizer with p5.js

Demo (live):
Demo (video):

While browsing my Instagram feed, I have come upon an artist named Kyle Dineen who makes abstract sculptures inspired by music.

I wanted to make a music visualizer for a long time and his work seemed perfect. I wrote him a message for his permission to use his work and then decided to go with a piece called “Freeze”:

First, I have traced the shape (a polygon with 21 sides) and tried to identify its main components.

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Abstract: The Art of Design

Check this trailer:

This is one of the best documentary series I have ever seen. It is about a world that was (or still is) unknown to me: “design” as a profession. Of course, I was aware of “design” as an activity before watching, but not the depth and sophistication that goes into it.

The show explains why design is not just “applied art” but how it defines the way we feel about and interact with the world. It taught me not to think of product vs. experience: the product itself is the experience, the product creates its own world. Moreover, design is actually problem solving: good design is not only beauty but it solves problems, and bad design is not just a lack of beauty but it also creates problems.

Eight episode presents the life of eight very different personality. None of them seems to be driven by their ego but by their passion for their craft. They have an impact because their message is broader than themselves: they don’t want “my design” but “good design”.

Below are some of the words and ideas from the series that I found particularly interesting.

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