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Deno vs. Node: A Detailed Comparison


What is Deno?

Deno a pristine method to compose worker-side JavaScript. It solves many of the problems that Node does. It was created by the same person as Node. It uses the V8 JavaScript engine under the hood but the rest of the runtime is implemented in Rust and Typescript.

What Reason Does Deno Utilize Rust?

Deno may be a safe TypeScript run-time on Chrome V8. It had been initially written in Go and now has been revamped in Rust to remain far away from potential garbage collector issues. Deno is like Node js yet is centered around security. The rationale that Deno made was JavaScript. Significantly more horrendous than having a competitor who understands your thing back to front, Deno was made expressly to fix what Dahl saw due to the crucial weaknesses of NodeJs — including security issues, use of a centralized repository system (npm), and heavy tooling.

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How To Power Through Designer Apathy

Sometimes you just don’t give a damn anymore. Possibly the only thing worse than designer’s block is designer’s apathy: that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you just don’t care about this particular piece of work anymore is disheartening.

The dread of going back to it is paralyzing.

There are many reasons you can stop caring about your work. Maybe you’ve just done the same thing too many times in a row. Maybe your client is insisting on asking for things you know won’t work for them. Maybe something much more important just happened in your life, and you’ve got bigger things to worry about. You could be discouraged by the apparent ‘sameness’ of bandwagon-hopping designs.

I’ve been not caring about my work ever since I was first asked to pick up my toys

Whatever the reason, we all experience times when we know exactly what we have to do… we just don’t care.

I’m something of an expert on this phenomenon. I’ve been not caring about my work ever since I was first asked to pick up my toys. Worse, I have the attention span of a goldfish, even now.

Web design is different. When I discovered it, it was new, exciting, and I could do it on the computer. I loved it, and I still do. Writing code that makes design happen in a browser window will never get old for me.

But even so, sometimes, a particular project will make me want to throw up my hands in exasperation and play video games ‘til Judgement Day. I’d welcome Skynet with tacos and RPGs.

So what do we do about it? First, answer this question: who is the project for?

For A Client

If the project is for a client, it’s just gotta get done. There’s no way around that. You made a commitment. You’re going to follow through and give it your best possible effort because you’re a professional. Anything less would be wrong.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to just power through with only coffee and misery for company. There are things you can do to make the work easier on yourself. The less miserable you are while you work, the better quality you can deliver.

For Yourself

There are a couple of schools of thought here. The first is that it’s perfectly fine to give up on personal projects when you stop caring. I mean, it’s your free time. Why spend it on something you don’t care about?

On the other hand, is a commitment made to yourself any less important than a commitment made to someone else? Many people seem to be perfectly fine with breaking promises to themselves when they’d never willingly do that to a client. Is that wrong?

I usually buy myself a drink and forgive myself, but it’s worth thinking about.

The deciding factor for me is whether my personal project will have any sort of lasting benefit. If whatever I’m designing, writing, or making counts as a long-term investment in my career or quality of life, then it absolutely has to get done, even when I’m not feeling it. Otherwise, I call it a learning experience and move on.

How To Power Through

So, for whatever reason — whether because you have to, or you want to — you’re gonna power through. Here are five ways to do it in style:

1. Start

The hardest part of doing work you don’t care about is starting. This is when you’ll be tempted to procrastinate until the last minute. Try not to.

2. Switch To A Different Part Of The Project

If you can safely (without causing problems) work on a different aspect of the project for a while, try that. The mere variety, the break from the work in front of you before, can boost your morale.

Indeed, working on a different part of the project can give you ideas of getting the most troubling bits done faster or more easily.

3. Do Something Old In A New Way

This one has its pros and cons.

Pro: You can look at this project as a chance to try out a new grid framework, script, code editor, or another tool of some kind. Injecting the process of discovery into an otherwise boring project can make it a lot more fun and even make you look forward to working on it.

Con: You’ll need to plan for extra hours and use some version control; because bringing a new tool or process into play is almost guaranteed to make something interesting go wrong — when this happens, you probably shouldn’t bill the client for the extra hours spent on StackOverflow.

4) Make Like Aziz Ansari And Treat Yo’self

Celebrate the milestones of your project. Don’t celebrate with video games if you need to get any more work done that day. That can go very wrong. But do celebrate. Reward yourself because you’re doing something difficult.

Have a snack. Give yourself a round of applause. Whatever it takes, make yourself look forward.

5) Outsource It

As a last resort, you can always outsource the project to someone else. Just make sure it’s someone you can trust to deliver the same quality of work you would normally provide yourself. Make sure to check it over before handing it off to a client.

Alternatively, you could just outsource the bits of the work that you don’t like. Either way, this is a risky strategy because whoever you outsource to might experience delays or, ironically, not care about the project.

Conclusion

You can do it! I believe in you. The really, really boring projects can seem like huge sinkholes of sadness, but they don’t last forever.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Quiz: Who Designed That Font?

We’re rounding up the week with a fun quiz for anyone who loves fonts. You’ve seen these typefaces used in hundreds of designs — from presidential campaigns, to corporate branding — but do you know who crafted those curves?

We’ll start off with an easy one: Do you know who designed Futura?

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Poll: Is Basecamp Right To Shutdown Politics At Work?

This week, in a move like something from a particularly eventful episode of The Office, popular project management app company Basecamp banned political and societal discussion in the company’s internal communications.

In a post that has been revised for “clarification,” the company’s co-founder Jason Fried listed six rules for employees: No societal or political discussions at work; No more ‘paternalistic’ benefits; No more committees; No more lingering on past decisions; No more 360 reviews; No forgetting what we do here.

A follow-up post from Heinemeier Hansson notes that Basecamp will still permit discussion of issues deemed central to its business like anti-trust and privacy; certain civil liberties are to be championed, while others, like racism and climate change, are not.

On the surface, it seems reasonable, Fried and co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson would like you to believe that it is. After all, people are paid to work, not soapbox, right?

So why, if they’re the ones being protected, are Basecamp’s employees angry about the move?

It turns out, multiple sources from inside Basecamp are reporting that the ‘political’ and ‘societal’ issues referred to in Fried’s public memo were, in fact, frank and open conversations about Basecamp itself.

As reported by The Verge, way back in 2009, a list of ‘funny’ customer names began circulating at the company — hardly respectful, potentially racist, and certainly inappropriate. The misalignment between co-founders and staff occurred when staff members attempted to hold discrete conversations about this and numerous other diversity and inclusivity failings at the company. Fried’s move appears to be a direct attempt to halt criticism of the status quo at Basecamp.

Basecamp itself is a highly political organization: The co-founders have written several books advocating certain societal change; they even provided a campaign headquarters and substantial donation for a candidate for Chicago mayor. Both co-founders are highly active on social media, using their business positions to elevate their personal views.

The truth is that the solo entrepreneur is an almost mythical beast. Successful startups require contributions from a range of skills and experience beyond any one individual. Jason Fried may be the frontman, strutting up and down the stage in spandex pants, with David Heinemeier Hansson playing lead guitar with his teeth, but behind them, there’s a drummer keeping time, and behind them all, there’s a crew of roadies without whom none of the equipment will arrive, let alone sound good.

Basecamp’s founders argue that the company has a mission, and that mission is to create apps that streamline the workplace. But how can you develop a product that is inclusive if staff cannot discuss what inclusive means? The answer is, you can’t.

Discussing racial bias in advertising or the impact of company wastage, climate change, or gender pay gaps in HR meetings are all political and societal and lead to a healthier, more united company.

As designers, we often say that you cannot not communicate; every decision is a design decision; there is no such thing as “adesign.” Likewise, choosing to be apolitical is itself a political choice. The only way it is feasible to run a company like this is to treat employees like robots (in the word’s original sense).

If employees feel the need to discuss exclusionary policies in the workplace, do the company founders, who benefit from those policies (or they would not be in place), have a moral or legal right to restrict those discussions?

Although it is the first point in Fried’s list that has drawn most ire, it is the fourth item on the list that is most telling: “No more lingering or dwelling on past decisions.” Like a parent answering, “Because I said so,” Fried’s attitude to his staff is laid bare in one statement.

It turns out two wealthy white men would rather their employees not try to change the world or even their workplace.

When Coinbase announced a similar move last year, it lost 5% of its staff. If Basecamp suffered the same loss, it would amount to three people. Hardly a disaster. The question for the founders — who, judging by the number of follow-ups and clarifications they’ve published, are aware the ice they’re on is perilously thin — is whether this kind of controversy creates irreparable reputational damage.

 

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3 Effective Ways To Improve Your Site’s Carbon Footprint

At the dawn of the web-era, there was much focus on how environmentally friendly websites were: we’d chop down fewer trees, ship fewer products, and travel less for business.

And because the web was small, any negative impact it had was relatively small. But the Internet’s no longer small, and neither is the impact it has on the environment. The average website uses 211,000g of CO2 per year, watching a video online outputs an estimated 0.2g of CO2 per second, and a single email can cost 50g of CO2.

In the next four years, the tech industry as a whole may use up to 20% of the world’s electricity and be responsible for 5.5% of global CO2 emissions.

The good news is that because websites are viewed many times, even small improvements can multiply into real change.

1. Reduce Energy Consumption

Through electricity use, the Internet generates around the same CO2 as most major countries. That carbon comes from two sources: the devices we use to access the Internet and the servers that host our data.

Computers heat up, and when they heat up, they slow down. Servers are especially vulnerable and use extraordinary amounts of energy to keep cool and functional, which is why Microsoft keeps throwing servers into the sea.

Make It Faster

The faster your site, the less data is used to serve it, and the less carbon it’s outputting; it’s that simple.

Reduce the Number of Resources Used

Everything you load on your site has an impact. You might think that a tiny PNG is too small to really impact your carbon footprint, but over thousands of page loads, its impact is multiplied. Anything you can do to reduce the number of actual files requested will reduce your carbon output. You can use sites like Ecograder to estimate your own site’s CO2 output.

Optimize Images

If there’s one thing you can do to reduce the size of your site, the amount of data that needs to be sent over the Internet to serve your site, and the resulting speed, it’s optimizing your images.

Nothing reduces a site’s footprint like optimizing images. It’s easy and free to reduce the size of JPGs and PNGs with a service like TinyPNG. Offer WebP to any browser that will accept them; it will boost your Lighthouse score and improve your CO2 usage.

Lazy Load Images

Lazy loading images means images are loaded as they are required; images at the top of a page always load, images further down only load when the user scrolls to them; if the user doesn’t scroll to the bottom of the page, they don’t load, saving you CO2.

Reduce The Amount Of JavaScript You Use

Yes, JavaScript is awesome. Yes, it can be hugely beneficial to UX. And yes, it munches on energy like it’s candy.

When a web page loads, it’s done, the total cost is in. If JavaScript keeps running in the background, redrawing the screen based on user interaction — as is the case with a parallax site — the web page keeps using up energy on the device.

Choose a Sustainable Hosting Company

You can reduce the power needs of a site, but you can’t eliminate them. One simple step is to opt for a hosting company that gets its electricity from sustainable sources such as wind power or solar.

Low←Tech Magazine is powered by a server that runs on solar energy and carries a warning that it may go offline. But it’s possible to host both reliably and sustainably. Many web hosts outsource their actual server management, so they have no control over how those servers are powered, but there are plenty of exceptions that guarantee green web hosting. Google Cloud aims to be the cleanest in the cloud industry. For green web hosting, I always recommend the all-round superb Kualo.

2. Be Inclusive

One of the biggest issues with the EV (Electric Vehicle) movement is that we’re replacing cars earlier than we normally would in a rush to move to “clean” driving.

A new EV certainly outputs less than a gas-powered vehicle when driven the same distance. Combine increased use — because owners think they are driving cleanly — with the fact that a new EV has to be manufactured, the minerals for batteries have to be mined (in horrific conditions), and it then needs to be shipped to you, and EVs are not as friendly as they appear — so go ahead, buy that vintage Porsche it’s probably better for the environment than a Tesla.

Support Legacy Devices

The same issue that applies to cars applies to devices. Every time we rush ahead to support the latest iPhone, we leave older generations behind. A device can and should last longer than two years.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t embrace modern web standards. Technologies like CSS Grid are excellent at reducing markup size and speeding up sites. CSS Grid has been well supported for over four years, and even “legacy” devices can handle it. If you can keep a phone for an extra six months, the environmental cost of that phone is reduced by 20%.

3. Help Users Make Good Choices

More and more people are trying to make good choices. We’re eating a healthier, balanced diet. We’re recycling clothes. We’re traveling by bike, and on foot, instead of by car. People want to do the right thing, and they seek out companies that aid them.

Improve Navigation

Anything that you can do to make your content more findable will mean fewer page loads and therefore consume fewer resources.

By improving your information architecture, improving your search accuracy, and improving on-page signposts like bread crumbs and link text, you help users find content faster.

Feelgood Feedback

When the environmental impact of a user’s actions are quantifiable, let them know. Users who care will appreciate it, and users who don’t will ignore it.

Raileurope.com adds a note to any quotation letting you know how much carbon you’ve saved by traveling by train instead of flying.

Don’t Remove the Shipping Rate

Many ecommerce sites offer free shipping, especially above a certain order value; it’s a good way to encourage higher sales. But absorbing the shipping cost implies that there is no shipping. By highlighting the shipping costs, even if they’re not passed on to the customer, you remind them that there is an environmental cost and a financial cost.

You can absorb the shipping rate without implying there is no cost by adding the shipping and then explicitly deducting it as a discount.

Sustainable Web Design Is Good For Business

The fundamentals of good web design are the fundamentals of sustainable web design.

Make it fast and usable, and you’ll also be making it energy efficient. Make it inclusive, and you’ll help the industry slow the ever-growing tendency to consume. Make it transparent, and you’ll help your users make good choices of their own. All of these things are not only good for the environment, but they also result in improved UX and SEO.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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What Is The Independent Web And Does It Matter In 2021?

Ten years ago, people began talking about the “Independent Web.” Although we don’t commonly use the term anymore, that doesn’t mean that it’s not still as vital a topic of discussion today as it was a decade ago.

Today, I want to look at where the term came from, what it refers to today, and why it’s something that all of us in business, marketing, and web design should be thinking about.

What Is The Independent Web?

The Independent Web is a term that was coined back in 2010 by John Battelle.

In “Identity and The Independent Web,” Battelle broaches the subject of internet users losing control of their data, privacy, and decision-making to the likes of social media and search engines.

“When we’re ‘on’ Facebook, Google, or Twitter, we’re plugged into an infrastructure that locks onto us, serving us content and commerce in an automated but increasingly sophisticated fashion. Sure, we navigate around, in control of our experience, but the fact is, the choices provided to us as we navigate are increasingly driven by algorithms modeled on the service’s understanding of our identity.”

That’s the Dependent Web.

This is how Battelle explains the Independent Web:

“There is another part of the web, one where I can stroll a bit more at my own pace, and discover new territory, rather than have territory matched to a presumed identity. And that is the land of the Independent Web.”

In 2010, this referred to websites, search engines, and apps where users and their activity were not tracked. But a lot has changed since then, and many websites that were once safe to peruse without interference or manipulation are no longer.

What Happens When the Dependent Web Takes Over?

Nothing good.

I take that back. It’s not fair to make a blanket statement about Dependent Web platforms and sites. Users can certainly benefit from sharing some of their data with them.

Take Facebook, for instance. Since its creation, it’s enabled people to connect with long-lost friends, stay in touch with distant relatives, enable freelance professionals like ourselves to find like-minded communities, etc.

The same goes for websites and apps that track and use visitor data. Consumers are more than willing to share relevant data with companies so long as they benefit from the resulting personalized experiences.

But the Dependent Web also has a darker side. There are many ways that the Dependent Web costs consumers and businesses control over important things like:

Behavior

If you’ve seen The Social Dilemma, then you know that platforms like Facebook and Google profit from selling their users to advertisers.

That’s right. They’re not just selling user data. They’re selling users themselves. If the algorithms can change the way users behave, these platforms and their advertisers get to cash in big time.

Many websites and apps are also guilty of using manipulation to force users to behave how they want them to.

Personal Data

This one is well-known thanks to the GDPR in the EU and the CCPA in California. Despite these initiatives to protect user data and privacy, the exploitation of personal data on the web remains a huge public concern in recent years.

Content and Branding

This isn’t relevant to websites so much as it is to social media platforms and Google.

Dependent Web platforms ultimately dictate who sees your content and when. And while they’re more than happy to benefit from the traffic and engagement this content brings to their platforms, they’re just as happy to censor or pull down content as they please, just as Skillshare did in 2019 when it deleted half of its courses without telling its course creators.

What’s more, while social media and search engines have become the place to market our businesses, some of our branding gets lost when entering such oversaturated environments.

Income

When algorithms get updated, many businesses often feel the negative effects almost immediately.

For example, Facebook updated its algorithm in 2018 to prioritize “meaningful content.” This pushed out organic business content and pulled regular user content to the top of the heap.

This, in turn, forced businesses to have to pay-to-play if they wanted to use Facebook as a viable marketing platform.

Access

The Dependent Web doesn’t just impact individuals’ experiences. It can have far-reaching effects when one company provides a critical service to a large portion of the population.

We saw this happen in November when AWS went down.

It wasn’t just Amazon’s servers that went down, though. It took out apps and sites like:

  • 1Password
  • Adobe Spark
  • Capital Gazette
  • Coinbase
  • Glassdoor
  • Roku
  • The Washington Post

And there’s absolutely nothing that these businesses or their users could do but sit around and wait… because Amazon hosts a substantial portion of the web.

Innovation

When consumers and businesses become dependent on platforms that predominantly control the way we live and work, it’s difficult for us to stand up for the little guys trying to carve out innovative pathways.

And that’s exactly what we see happen time and time again with Big Tech’s buy-and-kill tactics.

As a result, we really lose the option to choose what we use to improve our lives and our businesses. And innovative thinkers lose the ability to bring much-needed changes to the world because Big Tech wants to own the vast majority of data and users.

How Can We Take Back Control From The Dependent Web?

Many things are happening right now that are trying to push consumers and businesses towards a more Independent Web:

Consumer Privacy Protection: GDPR and CCPA empower consumers to control where their data goes and what it’s used for.

Big Tech Regulations: The Senate held tech regulation hearings with Facebook’s and Twitters’s CEOs.

Public Awareness Initiatives: Films like The Social Dilemma bring greater awareness to what’s happening on social media.

Ad Blocker Adoption: Adblocker usage is at an all-time high.

Private Search Engine Usage: Although Google dominates search engine market share, people are starting to use private search engines like Duck Duck Go.

Private Browsing Growth: Over 60% of the global population is aware of what private browsing is (i.e., incognito mode), and roughly 35% use it when surfing the web.

Self-hosted and Open Source CMS Popularity: The IndieWeb community encourages people to move away from Dependent platforms and build their own websites and communities. This is something that Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, talked about back in 2012.

“The Internet needs a strong, independent platform for those of us who don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s domain. I like to think that if we didn’t create WordPress something else that looks a lot like it would exist. I think Open Source is kind of like our Bill of Rights. It’s our Constitution. If we’re not true to that, nothing else matters.”

As web designers, this is something that should really speak to you, especially if you’ve ever met a lead or client who didn’t understand why they needed a website when they could just advertise on Facebook or Instagram.

A Decentralized Web: Perhaps the most promising of all these initiatives are Solid and Inrupt, which were launched in 2018 by the creator of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee.

As Berners-Lee explained on the Inrupt blog in 2020:

”The Web was always meant to be a platform for creativity, collaboration, and free invention — but that’s not what we are seeing today. Today, business transformation is hampered by different parts of one’s life being managed by different silos, each of which looks after one vertical slice of life, but where the users and teams can’t get the insight from connecting that data. Meanwhile, that data is exploited by the silo in question, leading to increasing, very reasonable, public skepticism about how personal data is being misused. That in turn has led to increasingly complex data regulations.”

This is something we should all keep a close eye on. Consumers and businesses alike are becoming wary of the Dependent Web.

Who better than the creator of the web to lead us towards the Independent Web where we can protect our data and better control our experience?

 

Featured Image via Pexels.

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Wix Vs WordPress: 3rd Round Knockout

Over the last fortnight one site builder has gone toe-to-toe with another, as Wix launched a marketing campaign aimed at attracting WordPress users, and instead attracted universal ire.

First, Wix sent out expensive headphones as gifts to key WordPress “influencers” in an attempt to lure them to the platform. Second, they produced a series of adverts that instead of promoting their own product, tried to imply that WordPress is so bad you’ll need mental health counselling to cope with it; it’s been widely frowned upon, but am I alone in thinking they’re not a million miles away from Apple’s anti-Windows adverts? No, I’m not.

Then, Wix made an attempt to go viral with an uncomfortable video in which a character portraying “WordPress” releases a “secret” message warning the community of “fake news” supposedly due to be released by Wix. The language and the styling is clear: WordPress is unhip daddio.

Unlike WordPress, Wix is a publicly owned company, it has an obligation to its shareholders to maximize its revenue. Had Wix targeted WordPress’ many failings, that would have been fair game. Had they gone after Shopify, or Webflow, or Squarespace, or one of the many other site builders on the market no one would have blinked an eye. Wix’s error wasn’t going after WordPress, or even the tactics used to do so, Wix’s mistake was in attacking the very community it was attempting to court.

I’m not a big fan of WordPress. I’ve built around a dozen sites in it over the years and we’ve never got along, WordPress and I. But I am a big fan of the ethos of WordPress; who doesn’t love free, open source software, built by volunteers?

The holy grail of marketing is transforming customers into evangelists — individuals who will bare their chests, paint their face with woad, and charge headlong onto social media at the merest hint of a perceived slight. You can’t buy them. It’s a loyalty that has to be cultivated over years, and requires more give than take. WordPress has those evangelists, people who see their careers in web design as intertwined with the CMS. No amount of free headphones is going to convert them to a closed system like Wix.

The irony is that Wix’s approach stemmed from the WordPress community itself. If it is going to celebrate “powering 40% of the Web” then it has to expect to make itself a target. If you’re an antelope, you don’t douse yourself in bbq sauce and strut around the waterhole where the lions like to hang out.

If the row rumbles on, it will eventually end in an apology and a promise from Wix to “do better.” But the truth is, all Wix did was confuse a community of people trying to build websites, with a competing business.

This time next year, Wix will still be recovering from the damage to its reputation, and WordPress will be telling us it powers 110% of the Web.

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Poll: Should You Fire Good Clients?

We all get excited about new projects; we’re daydreaming about possibilities from the first contact with a potential client. Most professionals have an established onboarding process, with contracts to sign and business assets to acquire; if you’re a coder, you probably set up a fresh new repository; if you’re a designer, you create a new project folder. All of us start imagining how the case study will look in our portfolio.

But few, if any, plan for the end of a project. Offboarding clients simply isn’t a thing. We build their site, and then one day, we don’t.

It may be that the client moves on; hopefully, you’ve done a good enough job that they can’t resist bringing you on board for their next startup. All too often, projects languish in some half-life, with occasional security patches that net you a whole $5 in service charges; is that why you got into web design? Probably not. There is the desirable option of upselling; if your client’s business grows due to your work, then more work should grow it some more.

If you’re great at startups, you’re probably not great at maintaining sites in the long term. If you’re great at maintaining sites, you’re probably not great at growing them.

For every cycle of a project’s life, there are different kinds of professionals who suit it best. And conversely, different cycles of a project suit you and your skillset better than others.

We all know that a bad client — demanding, rude, late at paying — should be fired. But what about a good client — a client who pays quickly, is friendly, professional, accommodating? Would you fire a good client if you’d outgrown the work?

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