Why use HTML and CSS over JavaScript?

When you build for the web, you have to make many different choices. What am I going to build? What tools are I going to use? The number of tools, frameworks and libraries available can be overwhelming.

Why use HTML and CSS Over JavaScript
Photo by Nicole De Khors from Burst

JavaScript is no exception. You have a wide variety of JavaScript frameworks or libraries to choice from. Should you use these technologies for every project? HTML and CSS can now do many things that you once needed JavaScript to do.

What is the Lean Web?

The Lean Web is a set of simple web development principles. Best practices for building the web with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Chris Ferdinandi who wrote the Lean Web encourages you to embrace the web as a platform. To let the browser to do what it does best.

Chris gave a talk on Lean Web at WordCamp LA 2020.


The Three Lean Web Principles

Principle 1. Embrace the Platform
Use HTML over JS, CSS over JS and use the browser for what it is good at. Does that mean you shouldn’t use new tools and technologies? No. You need to decide when you should use them and why.

Principle 2. Small & Modular
Look for small, focused tools that do one thing really well. Use APIs, native browser methods or alternative tools lie Svelte or Preact. Use utility-first CSS to prevent redundancy in your stylesheets.

Principle 3. The Web is for Everyone
Not all browsers support native features. You can use a polyfill to replicate the feature. As developers, we make choices that can break the web for some people. Chris suggest using the A11Y Project to make sure that everyone who wants to use your web applications can.

Summary

You don’t want to avoid using new tools, frameworks and techniques in favor of old ways of doing things. When you are building any project, you have to make choices on what to use. Sometimes, HTML and CSS is the better choice.

How do you reduce website bloat?

Why is my website slow? It is a common question developers, designers, bloggers and even your visitors ask. No website is immune from having speed issues.

How Do You Reduce Website Bloat
Photo by Farzad Nazifi on Unsplash

What causes website bloat?

How you designed and built the site affects its speed. Things like images, videos, CSS and code can impact your site. Even your server can affect how the site performs.

What can you do to speed up your site?

1. Optimize your images

You may be using images created in file formats that aren’t designed for the web. They may be large in file size as well. You can use an optimize tool to shrink the file size down without noticeable loss in quality. When you optimize an image, it loads faster on your site.

2. Get rid of unnecessary images

Check your web server for unused images. Unused images can affect user experience and performance of your site. If you aren’t using these images, delete them off your server. WordPress users can clean up their images using plugins or manually. If you have Windows, you can use Powershell to find and remove used images.

3. Optimize your videos and other files

Large files can slow a web site down. Files like videos or PDFs get quite large. You can optimize them before uploading. For PDFS, you can use Adobe Acrobot Pro’s PDF Optimizer to make them faster for the web. With videos, you can use a video hosting service like Vimeo or YouTube to host your videos. Then, you can embed them on your page.

4. Optimize your CSS

CSS files can get large and unruly after a while. Optimizing and managing them can be a challenge. It can be hard to find unused styles. You can use a tool like Helium CSS to find them. By getting rid of unused styles, you can reduce the size of your CSS.
Some of your styles are used more often than others. Print styles are used when a page is printed. You may want to separate them into their own file. With frequently used CSS, you may want to consider using inline styles instead. Before uploading your CSS, you can use a minifier to reduce the amount of whitespace it uses.

5. Check your code for speed issues

Are you using old code? If you are, you may need to rewrite, refactor or even replace it. Look at older code and decide if you need to keep it. If not, remove it.

6. Review the content of your page.

You may have too many items on your page. Do you have old or outdated content? If so, you can remove them. Review the rest of the items on the page to see if you can remove some content and still achieve the same goals of the page.

Summary

Preventing website bloat can be a full time job. By changing your development process to include optimization. You can prevent it from getting slow.

What can you do with FlexBox?

FlexBox is a flexible box layout model for the web. This model gives you a way to automatically rearrange responsive elements. They can adjust in size either increasing or decreasing depending on the device size. FlexBox can be a great addition to your CSS toolbox. It helps you to write adjustable and adaptive CSS.

What can you do with flexbox
Image by Magic Creative from Pixabay

How do I get started?

You can start by reading guides on how to use FlexBox. The Mozilla Developer Network has a guide on the Basic Concepts of Flexbox. Or try CSS-Tricks’ A guide to FlexBox.

If you need to fix a problem right away, you can use Solved By Flexbox to find a solution to common problems.

3 different ways to use it in your projects

1. Centering items on a page

Without FlexBox, it can be challenging to center items like text or images on a page. Sometimes, you have to resort to hacks to get it to look the way you want. FlexBox makes it so much easier. Use these tips to center items either horizontally or vertically.

2. Photogallery

You want to create a photo gallery that is responsive. Use this photo gallery to make one that looks like Flickr or Google Photos.

3. Responsive Tables

Tables are not responsive. You can make them be by using a little bit of FlexBox without having to redesign them.

Need more?

Flexbox Patterns has solutions to problems that you can use. It demonstrates the solution and shows you how to create the flexible box layout yourself.

Completing a Pricing Plan Coding Challenge

I found Frontend Mentor where you can improve your front-end coding skills by building real projects. You can pick a challenge that appeals to you. Then, download the design documents, images and other assets that you need.

Pricing Plan Coding Challenge

Pricing Component With Toggle

The challenge I chose was the pricing component with toggle. It has three options: Basic, Professional and Master. You have to use a toggle switch to show the prices for Annually or Monthly.

How I Built It

I built it using HTML, Bootstrap and JavaScript. With Bootstrap, I had to override some of its styles to get rid of the column margin and create custom styles for the button.

I wrote JavaScript that watches for when the toggle is selected. When you open the page, it defaults to monthly pricing. If you select Annually, you see the Annual prices. When you select Monthly, it switches back to Monthly prices.

What I Learned

The style guide defined colors in HSL and included a linear gradient. The linear-gradient is a CSS function that allows you to create a transition between two or more colors along a straight line. You can choose the direction or angle of the transition. For two of the buttons and toggle, the gradient moves from left to right. The professional plan card moves from top to bottom.

I used two structural pseudo-classes in CSS to create the design. The :first-of-type and :last-of-type selectors allow you to target the first and last occurrence of an element in a container.

Bootstrap has a toggle switch available. It was not customizable with CSS. You have to compile custom Bootstrap in order to change how it looks. I found CSS toggle solution that works like the design. I modified it to work with my CSS.

Frontend Mentor asks developers to post their solutions to their site. If you get stuck on a project, you can look at their solution to see how they approached it.

You can see my version of the pricing plan with toggle.

Creating notification bar for emergencies and announcements

What is a notification bar?

A notification bar is a horizontal bar that appears at the top or bottom of your website. You can display emergency messages or announcements to your visitors. Messages about closings, updates, news or sales offers.

Create a Notification Bar for Website
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How can you add a notification bar to your website?

It depends on how you want to do it. If you like to write code, you can make it yourself with HTML and CSS. If not, you can add a plugin or a third-party tool to your website.

1. Make your own

Are you using Bootstrap? Bootstrap has alerts. You can create your own bar with Bootstrap alerts. If you are using a different CSS framework, you can write your own.

See the Pen
Alert Animation (feat. Material Icons by Google)
by Ryan Young (@rcyou)
on CodePen.

2. Use a plugin to display message on your WordPress site

If you have a WordPress website, you may not want to edit your theme. Instead, you can add a plugin. WPBeginner explains how to use the plugins Optin Monster or Simple Notices for displaying important messages on your blog. If you are already using the plugin Advanced Custom Fields, you create custom emergency messages with it.

3. Use a third-party tool

You can choose to use a third-party tool like Getsitecontrol. They offer different ways of creating announcement bars for your website. You can add a sticky announcement bar or a slide-in banner that appears from the side.

Emergencies can occur at any time. You need to have a way of communicating with your customers and staff. Whether you make your own or use a tool, you can ensure that everyone can keep up to date on what is happening.