Something all Application Developers Should Consider Reading

Front-End Architecture: A Modern Blueprint for Scalable and Sustainable Design Systems by Micah Godbolt

With CSS preprocessing, icon fonts, grunt workflows, pattern libraries and JavaScript MVCs, the front-end workspace is anything but simple. This complex stack of tools can no longer be pieced together on a whim. Front-End Architecture needs and deserves the same attention given to content strategy, data migration, or server configuration. This practical book helps you explore all of these important decisions—right at the stage of the project where they need to be decided.

You’ll learn about the rewards gained from early, informed decisions, and the risks incurred if choices are made too hastily, or too late. Whether you are a front-end developer or a project owner, this book will inspire you.

Micah is a friend of mine who is the author of this fabulous book on front-end architecture. You can pre-order the book on Amazon or you can purchase the early release draft from O’Rielly. I highly recommend this book. I personally have learned a tremendous amount from it.

You can also find Micah on the Sass Bites podcast.

More fun with the Slack API

Earlier today I blogged about integrating the IdeaJam API with Slack and now I built another integration using the New York Times Top Stories API (JSON):

Screenshot 2015-11-07 08.51.27

By default the /nyt slash command returns the top stories from the home page however, users can get a list of the sections available by typing /nyt list:

Screenshot 2015-11-06 13.26.57

With only 17 lines of code

Screenshot 2015-11-07 08.51.42

With only 17 lines of PHP code I was able to add a Slack “slash” command (/whatshot) to bring up the list of “What’s Hot” ideas from To do this I used the IdeaJam JSON API and some PHP code to produce the list you see in the picture above. Slack makes it very easy to add integrations. In fact, I also coded another Slack integration for an IBM Notes customer that allows them to pull up data from their CRM database with a simple “/customer” command. That code was also less than 20 lines.

Want to learn more about the Slack API and how you can integrate it with it your apps? You can contact me or you can learn yourself Slack API.

PS – no server reboot was required to add the integration :-)

A quick and simple image placeholder service

Have you ever needed to insert an image placeholder into a web page? Well look no further. is an easy to use service that can provide you with placeholder images. You can specify the image dimensions, background color, image format, text and text color:

An image placeholder service

More >

UPDATE: Here’s a list from tuts+ of the top 8 image placeholder services for web designers

A Complete Guide to Flexbox

The Flexbox Layout (Flexible Box) module (currently a W3C Last Call Working Draft) aims at providing a more efficient way to lay out, align and distribute space among items in a container, even when their size is unknown and/or dynamic (thus the word “flex”).

The main idea behind the flex layout is to give the container the ability to alter its items’ width/height (and order) to best fill the available space (mostly to accommodate to all kind of display devices and screen sizes). A flex container expands items to fill available free space, or shrinks them to prevent overflow.

Most importantly, the flexbox layout is direction-agnostic as opposed to the regular layouts (block which is vertically-based and inline which is horizontally-based). While those work well for pages, they lack flexibility (no pun intended) to support large or complex applications (especially when it comes to orientation changing, resizing, stretching, shrinking, etc.).

CSS Tricks – A Complete Guide to Flexbox >

Salesforce Developer Keynote

Worth a watch:

Workforce Magazine – Slack Attack: Software Designed to Delete Email

Bruce Elgort happily ditched the online discussion forums he used for three community college Web development classes he teaches and replaced them with Slack, a group chat application that’s becoming the darling of workforce communication and collaboration.

While older enterprise social networks and collaboration tools such as Chatter, Jive and Yammer reside on a company intranet, Slack works like any other iPhone, iPad or Android app. It’s also free, at least for the most basic edition. Versions with more message archiving, user support and analytics start at under $7 a month. Slack spokeswoman Katie Wattie said the San Francisco startup is working on a beefier enterprise-level version that will debut later this year.

More >

Eight Microsoft MTA’s Now Completed

Today I completed my eighth Microsoft Certified Technology Associate (MTA) exam. The test was the “Windows Server Administration Fundamentals (Exam 98-365). This exam focussed on the following:

  • Understanding server installation
  • Understanding server roles
  • Understanding Active Directory
    Understanding storage
  • Understanding server performance management
  • Understanding server maintenance

Here is a list of the MTA’s that I have completed the last few months:

  1. Microsoft Technology Associate: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals (January 15, 2015)
  2. Microsoft Technology Associate: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals, July 17, 2014
  3. Microsoft Technology Associate: Networking Fundamentals, June 18, 2014
  4. Microsoft Technology Associate: Security Fundamentals, June 11, 2014
  5. Microsoft Technology Associate: Database Administration Fundamentals, June 09, 2014
  6. Microsoft Technology Associate: Web Development Fundamentals, June 09, 2014
  7. Microsoft Technology Associate: Windows Operating System Fundamentals, June 04, 2014
  8. Microsoft Technology Associate: Software Development Fundamentals, February 25, 2014

Derek Featherstone: CSS, Accessibility, and You

Here’s a free, hour-long talk that Derek Featherstone recently delivered at the CSS Developer Conference in New Orleans.

When most people think about accessibility, they think about HTML as the foundation for accessibility. It makes perfect sense — strong semantic HTML has a huge impact on a visually impaired person using a screen reader. But, what about people with other disabilities? The truth is, there are many more people with low-vision out there than there are blind. There are more fully-sighted keyboard users in the wild than there are non-sighted keyboard users. And there are a huge number of other disabilities that most people don’t even consider when they build their sites and applications. In order to provide the best of user experience to people of all abilities, we must move beyond “write great HTML and you’ll be accessible.” To do that, we use CSS. In this session, we’ll share with you some of the most significant accessibility challenges we face when it comes to the web today and share with you solutions for addressing those head on with the CSS you write. You’ll learn all about the issues, AND know what to do about them.

Watch the video >

If You Use IBM Lotus Notes Then You Need to See This Groundbreaking Product

The London Developer Co-Op has created a tool named “Via” that every single company running IBM’s Lotus Notes and IBM’s Lotus Domino need to look at. I’m not going to get into the why customers need to consider LDC Via, as I think most of you know why already. Take it from me, this is the one and only tool that you can use to “modernize” your Notes and Domino data – period.

Each and every day I am hearing from colleagues, customers and community members asking what should they do with their data now that they are migrating off of the platform. Up until recently I didn’t have a solid answer, but now I do.

Go check out LDC Via now and let them know Bruce sent you. Also, if you will be at IBM’s ConnectED conference in January 2015, go and find Ben Poole, Julian Woodward or Mark Myers for a demo.



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