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Weeknotes 20:16

August 24, 2020

Week of August 16-22

3..2..1..Launch

The week started with the launch of another project. LGND partnered with The National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering to create a one-page site to highlight two of their recent reports on compounded medications. These reports “explain what compounding is and why the widespread use of two particular types of compounded medications—compounded topical pain cream and compounded bioidentical hormone therapy—is a public health concern.”

The project was a team effort of design, video production, and development. LGND’s video production team created 5 animated videos for the new site. The design featured a current design trend of “blob shapes,” textured backgrounds, illustrations, and bright colors. This was the 13th project that I have worked on this year that has launched with 6 more still in the hopper.

Screenshot of NASEM Compounded Medications site I recently built with LGND team.

Other work happenings this week

  • I started a project the prior week for NoMa Bid. We are rebuilding their current site with a simplified page builder using Advanced Custom Fields. Most of my work so far has been analyzing the components on the current site so that I can include each of those components in our custom page builder. I also identified opportunities to use the same component but to give the client different options to use that component similar to how they are on the current site. Near the end of the week, I built out one of the pages from the current site in the new page builder to show the client on our Zoom call. They are very excited about the direction of the project and how much simpler the user interface is to what they are currently using. That interface overwhelms them with options and they have to make a lot of design decisions about colors and padding. We are simplifying that process so that they only have to choose a layout and not worry about all those details.
  • I also spent a lot of time this week on a project for Connect2Canada. LGND is building a page that will allow C2C to highlight Canadian-U.S. Trade Relationships with all 50 states. The new page includes an interactive illustrated map that allows a visitor to explore trade relationships for each state. It also includes the locations of all the consulates and the U.S. Embassy in Washington D.C. I spent the week improving some of the interactions and polishing the project as we look to launch it in a couple of weeks.
  • I am getting more comfortable with Scoro, a project management app that we recently moved to. I am starting to get more comfortable with a workflow as we seek to improve how we track the work that we do as a team.
  • I am also adjusting to a new work location. I have moved my desk downstairs to our dining room (which we have never used as a dining room) so that our oldest could live in my office for the fall. She is a junior at Trevecca Nazarene University. We decided that it would be best for her and our family for her to take classes online this fall. I have worked from this location a couple of different times this year and it is working out pretty well. Just takes a bit of getting used to and coordinating with my family as this space is not as private as my office.

The Future of Mozilla, Firefox, and MDN

I am concerned about the future of Mozilla and the Firefox browser. Mozilla recently laid off a sizeable amount of its workforce. This has gutted most of the teams that work on Firefox, the dev tools, and the MDN Web Docs, which is one of the most valuable resources for Web developers. I switched back to Firefox in 2018 and one of the main reasons I switched back was their DevTools for CSS Layout.

I am concerned about the future of these valuable resources and possibly losing the only major browser not built on the Chromium engine. I also grieve with all those who recently lost their jobs.

 

Online Reading

Most of these are articles that I read this past week but I am including a few from the past month (since I have not posted for a while).

  • Ask an expert: Why is CSS . . . the way it is? -I read this one several weeks ago when I took some time off from work. I know many developers complain about the limitations of CSS. I think it is extremely helpful to understand the constraints that any project is created under to better understand why different decisions were made. This is a great article where the author addresses many of CSS’s shortcomings and reveals the story behind that.
  • The message of the Marlins: Don’t play ball – An interesting opinion piece about sports and COVID. As a sports fan, part of me enjoys the return of sports but I have also wondered about the cost and whether it is worth it. Especially to these young athletes with promising careers ahead.
  • Spotting a Trend – I already referenced this article as I mentioned the “blob shape” that is part of a recent project I built. I read this article right after I started the project and it made me smile.
  • A CSS-only, animated, wrapping underline. – An interesting CSS trick that I will need to put in my back pocket for the future. I think the only thing I would change is to make the timing of the transition shorter so the effect happens a bit quicker.
  • HTML for Subheadings and Headings – This is a pattern that I encounter in many projects and have solved a variety of ways. Recently I have moved away from using headings for both of the elements for the sake of accessibility and screen readers. My recent solutions have been to use a div named “eyebrow” for the subheading element.
  • Drop-Shadow: The Underrated CSS Filter – I had just used this technique to put a drop-shadow on a transparent PNG for the Canada project I mentioned above. One issue that I encountered in Firefox is that the image blurs when adding multiple drop-shadows on the image. Our creative director is a big fan of the Material Design drop-shadows which include several shadows. I am still on the lookout for a solution for Firefox. Let me know if you know of a way to fix it.
  • content-visibility: the new CSS property that boosts your rendering performance – Interesting first look at a new performance-enhancing CSS property.
  • Digging into the Flex Property – I have enjoyed the many recent posts by Ahmad Shadeed explaining different CSS solutions. There is still a lot I don’t understand and use with the Flex property.
  • Sloth: The Spiritual Assassin – This is a Christian character-focused article. I was challenged by the idea that if we coddle laziness in one area of our life, we will succumb to it in other areas as well. I have seen this to be true and have felt a pull toward it recently.
  • CSS Backwards Compatibility – Comic exploring an important design principle of CSS.
  • 5 most annoying website features I face as a blind person every single day – I think the most important accessibility lessons come from those most affected by the lack of.
  • How I Structure My CSS (For Now) – I always enjoy seeing how others are solving problems of structuring their code.
  • Our Successful Return to Campus: An Update from Your University President – My wife said she was not sure whether to laugh or cry after reading this satirical article. As a parent of a current college student, a lot of this was a little too close to home.

Books

  • Rest – One of the things that I have been thinking about for some time is that I do not know how to rest well. I had seen this book in an advertisement for an executive summary service for leaders and thought I would check it out. My local library just resumed service offering a pick-up option. I was able to take advantage of that service and was able to read this book. I thought it had a lot of good insights and gave me some practical things to think about. The author cites a lot of different research. At times, I could have done with a bit less discussion about that but overall I liked the book and took away many good insights to help me to grow in my ability to rest.
  • The War of Art – another book I was able to borrow from the library. I have seen many designers and developers mention this book in the past. Most recently, one of my teammates recommended it. A lot of good insights. I did not buy into all the spirituality stuff the author mentions. Glad I read this one and would recommend it to others. Thinking I may buy my own copy down the road.

Watching

  • I am continuing to make my way through The West Wing on Netflix. I just started Season 5 this past week.
  • We recently discovered some new digital channels in our area and have been watching Home Improvement.
  • I started watching Inside Borussia Dortmund on Prime Video. It was filmed over a year ago but finding it interesting as I have been playing FIFA20 with the team.

Playing

  • I just started season 3 of playing FIFA20 with Borussia Dortmund. I won the Bundesliga title and finished the season without a loss. I drew a lot of games but no losses. I won my second UEFA Champion’s League title in a rematch with Barcelona FC. I scored a go-ahead goal in the last 10 minutes of the game to defend my title. I improved my team even more with a couple of key transfers and I am undefeated and in first place through October. I have won the first 5 games of my Champion’s League. My big goal for the year is to win the domestic cup which I was eliminated last year 1-0 by Bayern Munich on a penalty kick that was highly questionable.

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