#421 — December 18, 2019

Read on the Web

Frontend Focus

🚀 To close out the year, this week we're looking back over the past twelve months and linking to some of the top articles, stories, and tutorials that we've shared and that you've clicked on the most. Consider this the highlights reel of all things frontend in 2019. (Oh, and we also have our usual Tip of the Week at the end of the issue so be sure to scroll down for that).

As ever, a big thanks for supporting us and reading the newsletter throughout the year — and we look forward to keeping you up-to-date in the next decade! We'll be back with our next roundup in early January.

— Chris Brandrick

📈 Our most popular links of 2019:

1. The Front-End Developer Handbook 2019 — This detailed guide always proves popular, and this year was no different. This resource was updated back in April and is packed with useful resources, learning materials and dev tools. It remains a worthwhile reference.

Cody Lindley

2. 10 HTML Elements You Didn't Know You Needed — This quick look at a handful of HTML elements highlights some stuff you may not have known existed, including the <output>, <meter>, and <progress> tags.

Emma Wedekind

3. Inside Microsoft’s Surprise Decision to Work with Google on its Edge Browser — One of the biggest surprises in the browser landscape this year was Microsoft's decision to switch over to using Chromium as the engine behind their Edge browser. This inside story behind the how and why of such a "monumental decision" got plenty of attention. The first 'full release' of this new browser is expected in early 2020.

Tom Warren

How to Run a Customer-Focused Product Launch — At CircleCI, we use a customer-centric launch strategy to gather feedback early and often in the product development cycle, and you should too.

CircleCI sponsor

4. The Great Divide in Front-End Development Skills — Published back in January, this interesting think piece shares what Chris Coyier (of CSS-Tricks fame) perceives as a widening gulf between different types of frontend devs. Is there such a thing as a frontend developer or are we all moving towards becoming either UX engineers or JavaScript developers?

Chris Coyier

5. The State of CSS 2019 — The results from the first ever 'State of CSS' survey dropped in June. It asked over 10,000 developers what CSS features and tools they favoured. It's still worth digging into all the data, as you'll gain a broad awareness of what people are using in practice as CSS evolves.

Sacha Greif and Raphaël Benitte

6. W3C Approved WebAuthn as the Web Standard for Password-Free Logins — Back in March the W3C shared news that the Web Authentication API (WebAuthn) had become an official web standard for password-free logins on the web. Since then support for the security-focused standard has only been growing, with browsers such as Safari and Firefox, and big names like Twitter and eBay all adding support.

Emil Protalinski

7. A Front-End Performance Checklist for 2019 — Another from January. This checklist has been publishing for several years now and was updated once again with fresh advice for 2019 (I'd imagine we'll probably see a 2020 update in a few weeks). It highlights issues you might need to consider to ensure that response times are fast, user interaction is smooth and your sites don’t drain bandwidth. It's also available in a 'tickable' PDF format.

Smashing Magazine

💻 Jobs

Product Designer - Komoot (Remote Position) — We're looking for a talented product designer to take over the design of one of our core products on all platforms (Web, iOS, Android).


Frontend Engineer (Stockholm) — Join an interactive presentation service, Stockholm based, product-first, gender-equal, inclusive and profitable startup with customers from over 150 countries.


Find a Job Through Vettery — Make a profile, name your salary, and connect with hiring managers from top employers. Vettery is completely free for job seekers.


📊 The most popular tutorials of 2019

The Simplest Way to Load CSS Asynchronously“One of the most impactful things we can do to improve page performance and resilience is to load CSS in a way that does not delay page rendering”

Scott Jehl

Things We Can’t (Yet) Do In CSS — A look at common layout patterns that aren't achievable just yet in currently widely supported CSS standards, plus a review of the forthcoming CSS specs that might enable them in future.

Rachel Andrew

My Favorite CSS Hack* { border: 1px solid red } is a classic 'trick' for debugging CSS and HTML issues by putting borders around every element. This well-received tip takes things a few extra steps, however, and helps you get a better overview, particularly with nested elements.

Gajus Kuizinas

Data Sharing - A History — From Tim Berners-Lee to request-response HTML interfaces, from e-commerce to CDN, to the event-driven data economy of today, this article takes a tour around the way we handle data.

Ably sponsor

How To Align Things In CSS — There are a few ways to align elements in CSS. In this article, Rachel Andrew explains what they are with some tips to help you remember which to use and why.

Smashing Magazine

The Current State of Styling select in 2019 — If you’ve ever tried styling form controls with CSS, you’ve probably had a bad time (at least initially). Drop-down select elements are particularly thorny. Here’s a look at the basics and what developers really want.

Chris Coyier

Optimizing Performance With Resource Hints — Resource Hints are a simple and effective way for frontend developers to help the browser stay one step ahead of the user and keep pages fast by doing things like DNS prefetching.

Drew McLellan

⚙️ The most popular code examples & demos of 2019

CSS Grid: Excel Spreadsheet — Recreating the Excel user interface using CSS Grid.

Olivia Ng

Infinite Burger — Drag/resize the browser window and the burger will grow, thanks to the background-repeat: round property. …and now I’m hungry.

Thiyagaraj T

CSS Card Hover Effects — A nice hover effect for a card style element.

Jhonier Riascos Zapata

Tried & True Productivity Tips from 25 React Experts

Progress KendoReact sponsor

CSS Effects Snippets — A nice collection of CSS animations, with one-click copy and paste, created with Vue.

Emil Kowalski

Pure CSS: Bob Ross Doing the Floss, Like a Boss — As Bob Ross once said: “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it….even in CSS”. Okay, we may have added that last bit, but this is a fun little demo.

Steve Gardner

augmented-ui: A 'Futuristic, Cyberpunk-Inspired' UI Library — The repo is here, and you can see examples of the look here.


💡 Tip of the Week

supported by Deque

Meaningful Formatting

While most of us use the '-' (dash) character as a way of denoting "negative" values, it is not accessible to screen readers. In order for assistive technologies to return the intended meaning, '&minus' should be used instead.

The following examples show how a screen reader would read out currencies:

  • $10 will read as "ten dollars"
  • -$10 will read as "ten dollars"
  • &minus;$10 will read as "minus ten dollars"

This can get a bit more complicated when using the Intl.NumberFormat API as it naturally returns a dash. In order to return an accessible value one should replace the dash with "&minus" as shown below:

new Intl.NumberFormat('en-US', {style: 'currency', currency: 'USD'}).format(-10).replace(/-/, '&minus;')

This Tip of the Week is sponsored by Deque, the makers of axe. Build accessibility into your dev process and automatically catch tons of accessibility bugs with axe. Catch even more with axe Pro.

And in the Xmas spirit of sharing and giving, we just want to give a quick shout out to Web Tools Weekly, a newsletter run by Louis Lazaris that focuses on the tooling side of front-end development.