Web bloat

Dan Luu wrote an article some time ago about web bloat which I generally agree with and feel this is a problem. From a personal point of view I don't think I should see performance worse than I find in 3D games when reading text. Sometimes you can see this on websites that have massive JavaScript libraries to download and that's before considering the affects on mobile devices' performance and battery life.

While it's not ideal that my phone's battery won't last as long there is another issue which Dan touches on and I won't repeat. But it restricts who can view your site. Quite often people forget the internet is global and not everyone lives in San Francisco.

Another reason I dislike the bloat is more often than not it adds nothing. Share bars, flashing and moving content. These distract, constrict the viewing area and generally make reading much harder. Reproducing browser functionality is just bad programming. This is reinventing the wheel and often less efficiently and to not benefit to the user. As fun as it may be to add a new feature on your website please consider if it exists already. Especially if it's a back button.

On a lighter note, he's also plotted the performance of various terminals and Emacs does quite well.

Posted on 18 Jul 2017, 8:53 p.m. by toadwarrior

Emacs theme of the moment

If you're looking for a good light theme I'd suggest Leuven which is included in emacs but the previous link is the best way to get the latest changes.

If there is one thing I'd complain about it's the rainbow parenthesis colours which are quite poor and I'm working out my own combination. Otherwise it seems fairly solid.

Posted on 10 May 2017, 8:19 p.m. by toadwarrior

JavaScript: The inefficient parts

My relatively new macbook rarely has any problems with the tasks I give it. I can watch HD video while listening to music and do virtually any task other than play games and never have to think about hearing the fan or feeling the heat of a cooking macbook.

So in what world is it acceptable that viewing a single photo album within Google Photos should cause my system to feel like it's on the sun and sound like a jet taking off?

Photo albums should be a perfect match for web technologies and yet we can still get it so wrong with what are supposed to be some of the smartest people on the planet in terms of software development.

Perhaps that a good sign that we should be looking beyond HTML and JavaScript and develop proper tools for building applications on the web. The cost of all the additional energy spent to execute tasks poorly in JavaScript to date could probably fund housing for all the homeless people in San Francisco. I think it's time Google heads back to the drawing board.

Posted on 1 Mar 2016, 10:53 p.m. by toadwarrior

The website obesity Crisis

IdleWord's talk on the website obesity crisis was one of the best things I've read in some time and it sums up pretty much how I feel about where web development is heading.

As we enter 2016 I can look back on 2015 as the year I've embraced ad blockers. Part of that is because Apple and their content blocking system makes it work so well but that maybe covers 5% of the reason I've made the switch. I still prefer a free web and don't mind ads as such. However ads are becoming so bloated and so are the websites they're featured on.

In an increasingly mobile world that relies on slower battery powered hardware it's downright criminal what some web developers do so I feel it's in everyone's best interest to block them. Be fair and contact the website to let them know why.

Then hit up 1Blocker for iOS and Adamant for OS X Safari isn't too bad. It has some quirks on certain pages of sites like LinkedIn which lead to disabling and re-enabling it but the overall benefit from it makes it work it.

Posted on 1 Jan 2016, 11:40 p.m. by toadwarrior

The hamburger

Recently the hamburger button has taken off on the internet and mobile apps. While the button itself is quite old I would imagine part of the reason for its take-off has been the anti-Skeuomorph movement.

I get the point of that movement and to an extent I understand it. However while children now and in the future may not know what a floppy is I would then argue that its origin doesn't really matter. It just becomes the symbol that everyone understands what it does.

The problem with the hamburger is there is no definitive action for it. Ironically while not being skeuomorphic it's been associated with a real world item anyway and arguably in a way more confusing than a floppy disc.

I think it's quite a handy icon but it's ridges imply it should be draggable and pull something into view. If it does that it's often not in a direction that goes with the ridges. Horizontal ridges would imply a thumb should pull down.

I've recently seen the hamburger used for bringing up pop-up menus. It has no defined use so I would have to agree with the wikipedia entry which mentions poor design choice.

We do need new design ideas but let qualified designers work on it. Rather than it being something programmers use to cut costs on design (like flat design).

Posted on 6 Dec 2015, 11:13 p.m. by toadwarrior

Web vs. native: let’s concede defeat

I don't have much to add other than I completely agree with this article about the web's failings for application development.

Posted on 26 May 2015, 11:32 p.m. by toadwarrior

undotree vim

I've known about Gundo for sometime and I think it's quite a nice plugin for tracking a file's change history but it always seemed like it asked for a bit too much. It is a minor thing in the end but the dependency on python seemed unnecessary. As a fan of python I understand wanting to write python over vim script but sometimes I think you need to just get on with it and do what is sensible.

So I was pleased when I found undotree. It's basically the same thing in that you can a history of changes that can resemble a git git log with the graph option, a diff window and a visual display of where the code fits within your file's buffer.

Thanks to a recent vim feature you can also have a persistent history. That is one feature of the jet brains IDEs, like PyCharm that I've always loved. To get that in vim as well is wonderful.

All you need to do is drop the plugin into your pathogen location (or whatever else if you manage your plugins in other ways) and add a couple lines to your config to set the visual style, optional persistence and persistent file storage. I use this setup:

" Store files in different locations based on OS
if has("win32")
    set undodir=$VIM\temp\undotree\\
    set undodir=$HOME/temp/undotree//

" Enable persistence
set undofile

" See undotree.vim for a visual representation of the window options
let g:undotree_WindowLayout = 4
" Set the toggle key
nnoremap <F5> :UndotreeToggle<cr>

And you're ready to go and can happily edit your files with no thought of the consequences as you can always get yourself out a bind.

Posted on 6 May 2015, 10:47 p.m. by toadwarrior

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Last updated: 20 Jul 2017, 7:19 a.m.