Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine, an online magazine for professional Web designers and developers.

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Making Remote Work Work: Useful Tools And Resources

Remote work brings along entirely different challenges than working from an office. Maybe your internet connection is rather slow? Maybe it’s too quiet around you to focus? Or too loud for a virtual client meeting? A lot of things influence the way we work. But it’s not only the environment around us and the technical equipment, remote work also means that you might need to rethink your and your team’s workflow.

In this post, we compiled some useful tools and resources to help you tackle some of the challenges of working remotely. The collection is by no means complete, but rather a selection of things that we found useful and that we hope will make your day-to-day work more productive and efficient, too.

If you are interested in more tools like these ones, please kindly take a look at our lovely email newsletter, and get tips like these ones right in your inbox.

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Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

When To Say No To Freelance Projects

A lot of feel-good life advice encourages us to say yes to new things whenever we can. This philosophy of openness can sound pretty enticing when you’re a freelancer or consultant just beginning to stand tall on your own — or riding a high of a string of good projects.

And it’s true that saying yes can help you grow! Saying yes to new clients, projects, and partners helps you make connections, build your portfolio, and evolve professionally. Saying yes can also lead to paying jobs, which lead to even more paying jobs.

But saying no — at the right times — can be just as critical to the success of our self-employment. Building up the ability and skill to say no is part of a career evolution and, in my opinion, one of the ultimate goals for successful freelancing.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How We Improved SmashingMag Performance

Every web performance story is similar, isn’t it? It always starts with the long-awaited website overhaul. A day when a project, fully polished and carefully optimized, gets launched, ranking high and soaring above performance scores in Lighthouse and WebPageTest. There is a celebration and a wholehearted sense of accomplishment prevailing in the air — beautifully reflected in retweets and comments and newsletters and Slack threads.

Yet as time passes by, the excitement slowly fades away, and urgent adjustments, much-needed features, and new business requirements creep in. And suddenly, before you know it, the code base gets a little bit overweight and fragmented, third-party scripts have to load just a little bit earlier, and shiny new dynamic content finds its way into the DOM through the backdoors of fourth-party scripts and their uninvited guests.

Read the article (11 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How To Build A Node.js API For Ethereum Blockchain

Blockchain technology has been on the rise in the past ten years, and has brought a good number of products and platforms to life such as Chainalysis (finance tech), Burstiq (health-tech), Filament (IoT), Opus (music streaming) and Ocular (cybersecurity).

From these examples, we can see that blockchain cuts across many products and use cases — making it very essential and useful. In fintech (finance tech), it’s used as decentralized ledgers for security and transparency in places like Chain, Chainalysis, and is also useful in health tech for the security of sensitive health data in Burstiq and Robomed — not to forget media tech such as Opus and Audius that also use blockchain for royalties transparency and thus get full royalties.

Read the article (13 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Using Grommet In React Applications

Over the years, the React ecosystem has grown with the invention of libraries that help the development of React applications. In this tutorial, we are going to learn to use Grommet for developing responsive, accessible, and mobile-first components for React applications. We’ll take a closer look at its core concepts, some of its use cases, and build a simple example. It’s important to note that Grommet is open-source with 6.9k stars on GitHub.

This tutorial will be beneficial to readers who are interested in developing responsive components in their React application using Grommet. This article requires a basic understanding of React and Styled-components.

Read the article (7 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

New Year, New Beginnings: Smashing Workshops & Audits

With the new year sinking in and everyone’s resolutions still being put to the test, we are slowly returning back to our day-to-day projects. And as we do so, we focus on the new targets for 2021: improving accessibility, conversion, engagement, retention, and of course web performance. We all have different personal goals for this year, but one thing unites us all: improving the web for everyone.

The time between the years is always a great time to calm down; but it's also a wonderful time to do some reseach, thinking, writing and perhaps even unsolicited coding and designining. And almost as if it was an annual tradition (it actually is), Vitaly has been reading through everything that happened in front-end in 2021, and compiling it all in the front-end performance checklist 2021 yet again.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Web Design Trends 2021: The Report

As a result of all this upheaval and change that happened in 2020, the landscape is changing. Editor X, a web creation platform for designers, has recently launched a minisite covering the web design trends of 2021 — and it seems like the web is going to look very different than in recent years.

The interactive report, published on Shaping Design, goes through dozens of examples of sites that try to come up with original and unexpected solutions. It’s not all just about the examples though. The showcase covers how designers live through the repercussions of the past year and share their insights into the future of screen design.

Read the article (4 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Integrating A Dialogflow Agent Into A React Application

Dialogflow is a platform that simplifies the process of creating and designing a natural language processing conversational chat assistant which can process voice or text input when being used either from the Dialogflow console or from an integrated web application.

Although the integrated Dialogflow Agent is briefly explained in this article, it is expected that you have an understanding of Node.js and Dialogflow. If you are learning about Dialogflow for the first time, this article gives a clear explanation of what Dialogflow is and its concepts.

This article is a guide on how a built a Dialogflow agent with voice and chat support that can be integrated into a web application with the help of an Express.js back-end application as a link between a React.js Web application and the Agent on Dialogflow itself. By the end of the article, you should able to connect your own Dialogflow agent to your preferred web application.

Read the article (13 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Smashing Podcast Episode 33 With Charlie Gerard: What Is Machine Learning?

In this episode, we’re talking about Machine Learning. What sort of tasks can we put it to within a web development context? I spoke with expert Charlie Gerard to find out.

Show Notes

Weekly Update

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Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Getting Started With The GetX Package In Flutter Applications

Flutter is one of the fastest ways to build truly cross-platform native applications. It provides features allowing the developer to build a truly beautiful UI experience for their users.

However, most times to achieve things like navigating to screens, state management, and show alerts, a lot of boilerplates are needed. These boilerplates tend to slow down the development efficiency of developers trying to go about building features and meeting their deadlines.

Take for example the boilerplate needed to navigate to a screen in a Flutter application. Let’s say you want to navigate to a screen called AboutScreen. you will have to write:

Navigator.push(
context,
MaterialPageRoute(builder: (context) => AboutScreen()),
);

It would be more efficient and developer-friendly to do something like:

Get.to(AboutScreen());

When you need to navigate back to the previous page in Flutter you will have to write:

Navigator.pop(context);
Read the article (7 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

How To Make More Money Selling Shopify Apps In 2021

As more consumers accept digital commerce as a fast, convenient and safe way to get the things they need, e-commerce companies — new and old — need websites that can keep up with the change of pace and consumer demand.

Shopify already offers one of the most powerful and competitive e-commerce platforms. But that’s not the only reason merchants flock to it.

87% of entrepreneurs rely on Shopify apps to help them run their stores and businesses.

As you can imagine, a developer that can build a much-needed app for Shopify merchants could do really well selling their products in the App Store.

Just take a look at Free Shipping Bar.

Read the article (6 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Should The Web Expose Hardware Capabilities?

I have recently been interested in the difference of opinions between the different browser vendors about the future of the web — specifically in the various efforts to push web platform capabilities closer to native platforms, such as Chromium’s Project Fugu.

The main positions can be summarized as:

  • Google (together with partners like Intel, Microsoft and Samsung) is aggressively pushing forward and innovating with a plethora of new APIs like the ones in Fugu, and ships them in Chromium;
  • Apple is pushing back with a more conservative approach, marking many of the new APIs as raising security & privacy concerns;
  • This (together with Apple’s restrictions on browser choice in iOS) has created a stance labeling Safari to be the new IE while claiming that Apple is slowing down the progress of the web;
  • Mozilla seems closer to Apple than to Google on this.
Read the article (10 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Towards An Ad-Free Web: Diversifying The Online Economy

Money talks, and there is an awful lot of money on the web these days. That is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it does seem to have hamstrung how websites are designed and financed. The pandemic — and the consequent collapse of an already warped online ad ecosystem — makes it all the clearer that the web needs to diversify the way it makes money, and who it ultimately serves.

State Of The Web

The Internet is not in the best shape right now. Back in 2017, the founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said:

“The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbait is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy.”
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Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Sparks Of Inspiration To Welcome The New Year (January 2021 Wallpapers Edition)

Maybe you’ve already started into 2021 as you’re reading this, maybe you’re still waiting for the countdown to begin. Either way, it’s never too late or too early for some New Year’s inspiration!

For this wallpapers post, artists and designers from across the globe once again put their creative skills to the test and designed beautiful and unique wallpapers to welcome January 2021. All of them come with a calendar, and, in case you want to stick with your favorite even after January has ended, we’ve got you covered with non-calendar versions of each design, too. A big thank-you to everyone who created a wallpaper and shared it with us this time around — you are truly smashing!

At the end of this post, there’s also a little bonus goodie waiting for you: a hand-picked selection of January treasures that we rediscovered deep down in our wallpaper archives. Have a happy and healthy 2021!

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

A Practical Introduction To Dependency Injection

The concept of Dependency Injection is, at its core, a fundamentally simple notion. It is, however, commonly presented in a manner alongside the more theoretical concepts of Inversion of Control, Dependency Inversion, the SOLID Principles, and so forth. To make it as easy as possible for you to get started using Dependency Injection and begin reaping its benefits, this article will remain very much on the practical side of the story, depicting examples that show precisely the benefits of its use, in a manner chiefly divorced from the associated theory. We’ll spend only a very little amount of time discussing the academic concepts that surround dependency injection here, for the bulk of that explanation will be reserved for the second article of this series. Indeed, entire books can be and have been written that provide a more in-depth and rigorous treatment of the concepts.

Read the article (13 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Creativity In A World Of Technology: Does It Exist?

Technology has done our world wonders: from advancements in medicine, travel, communication, and not to mention our own day-to-day lives. There’s no doubt that it has “transformed human experience” by impacting the way our society functions, as well as how we interact with one another and ourselves. But is this actually a good thing?

By completely embracing technology as a part of our everyday lives, are we inadvertently impacting our ability to create and be creative — without the help of a screen? While some argue that as the world continues to advance, so do our creative pursuits. With so much being replaced and repurposed by technology, it nonetheless seems appropriate to question: how exactly is technology impacting creativity?

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Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

What’s Coming To VueX?

Vuex is the solution for state management in Vue applications. The next version — Vuex 4 — is making its way through the final steps before officially releasing. This release will bring full compatibility with Vue 3, but doesn’t add new features. While Vuex has always been a powerful solution, and the first choice for many developers for state management in Vue, some developers had hoped to see more workflow issues addressed. However, even as Vuex 4 is just getting out the door, Kia King Ishii (a Vue core team member) is talking about his plans for Vuex 5, and I’m so excited by what I saw that I had to share it with you all. Note that Vuex 5 plans are not finalized, so some things may change before Vuex 5 is released, but if it ends up mostly similar to what you see in this article, it should be a big improvement to the developer experience.

Read the article (5 min read)
Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine

Feature Prioritizing: Ways To Reduce Subjectivity And Bias

How familiar is this scenario: A team employs modern decision-making methods and performs all design-thinking rituals, but the result remains guesswork. Or this: Soon after having prioritized all features, the key stakeholders change their mind and you have to plan everything again. Both situations have happened to my team and my colleagues quite a few times.

Feature prioritization succeeds or fails because of one tiny thing, and I won’t keep you in suspense until the end of this article to find out. The key factor is selection criteria. But first things first. Let’s see what can go wrong, and then we’ll talk about ways to mitigate those risks.

Read the article (6 min read)