Frontend  Focus

#472 — January 6, 2021 | Read on the web

✨ Looking back: Frontend highlights from 2020

Hello 2021! Thanks for opening the first issue of the year. 😊

We're kicking things off with a look back at some of the frontend highlights of the past twelve months. As such, this issue includes just over a dozen of the top links you tapped on in 2020.

We'll be back next week with our usual format, so, as ever, if you've got a great tutorial, video, or article you want to share then please do hit reply and let us know.

Thank you for your continued readership.
Chris ✌️

1. The Front-End Performance Checklist 2020 — This detailed performance checklist was updated at the very start of 2020 and proved very popular. It's filled with everything worth knowing about creating fast experiences on the web and remains a solid resource.

Smashing Magazine

2. Ten Lesser-Known Web APIs You May Want to Use — In September Tapas Adhikary outlined a bunch of APIs you may not be familar with, including the likes of the Performance Interface API, the Vibration API, Clipboard Asynv API, and others. Four months on I'd bet that your still bound to learn something here.

Tapas Adhikary

3. AVIF Has Landed: A New Image Format for the Web — Jake's deep dive into all things .avif had everyone taking a good look at the benefits of this 'new' image format. This excellent post has plenty of visual examples, along with details on the techniques and codecs behind the tech. Support remains limited for now, but it’s possible to use .avif today along with more established formats.

Jake Archibald

4. How to Use AVIF: The New Next-Gen Image Compression Format — There was clearly a lot interest in .avif, as here's yet another popular post looking at the compelling new image format. Did you know using .avif can often results in files ~50% smaller in size compared to JPEG, and ~20% smaller than WebP.

Dan Klammer

5. The Failed Promise of Web Components — The idea was that Web Components would help us more simply roll out new, powerful HTML elements and features, but.. it didn’t quite work out that way. Lea explains why in this this post from September.

Lea Verou

Uncover the Best Ideas & Stop Wasting Resources on the Wrong Ones

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6. A Complete Guide to CSS Functions — A real thorough resource detailing everything you need to know about functions in CSS. They can be inserted where you’d place a value, or in some cases, accompanying another value declaration — this remains an excellent look at how to use them.

Eric Bailey

7. Let's Take a Deep Dive Into the CSS Contain Property — This post from May is a comprehensive look at the then new-ish CSS contain property — it helps a browser to calculate a page’s layout more efficiently.

Travis Almand

8. The State Of Pixel Perfection — Yup, you don’t really hear the term “pixel perfection” as much as you used to — but there's still enough curisoity around the term, as your clicks on this story prove. Here, the author compared what this phrase really means now versus what it used to, and suggests how we should move beyond it.

Ahmad Shadeed

9. min(), max(), and clamp() Are CSS Magic — 2020 saw support for the min, max, and clamp functions flourish. This quick video from Kevin Powell does a solid job of showing how these properties can be used to open up responsive typography techniques.

Kevin Powell

10. The Cost of JavaScript Frameworks — Rounding out the top ten is this great analysis from Tim Kadlec (using data from the HTTP Archive). He explores the performance cost of using various frameworks as a starting point.

Tim Kadlec

Running Front-End Experiments

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11. Bootstrap 5 Alpha Released — Early interest in Bootstrap 5 was high, as this alpha release saw plenty of attention from Frontend Focus readers. Development of version 5 continues, with the first beta releasing last month. This version drops jQuery, makes use of CSS custom properties, and overhauls its form components and styling – it's still in beta and a final version should be coming this year.

12. The State of CSS Survey — Raphaël Benitte & Sacha Greif ended the year by sharing the results from the second annual survey about all the latest trends in CSS. The 2020 results highlighted the adoption of CSS Grid, the rise of Tailwind CSS, plus stats on browser testing, popular resources, and more. It's well worth digging into, but if you'd prefer they've just published a condensed report too.

13. Native CSS Masonry Layout In CSS Grid — In this article from November, Rachel Andrew explained how native CSS masonary layout (part of the Grid Layout spec) works, with the help of a couple of demos you can try out.

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