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Can We Extend the Web Cleanly?

By Simon St. Laurent
April 10, 2014

“Design by Committee” is rarely a compliment. Can the Web shift away from that model, retaining some order without falling into troublesome chaos? The Manifesto Part of the excitement around the Extensible Web Manifesto was that it wanted to move …

Tailoring CSS for performance

By Roseanne Fallin
April 4, 2014

In my last article, I demonstrated how improved performance and a lower PageSpeed Insights score were accomplished by removing unnecessary external JavaScript and CSS requests. YepNope was also used to manage the asynchronous loading of external requests. After the improvements, …

Transforming the Web (through transformation)

By Simon St. Laurent
April 1, 2014

Thousands of people invented it independently. Millions use it without thinking about a broader context. It’s time to name it so we can talk about it. Transformation is changing the way we look at the balance between clients and servers, …

Yes, CSS is code

By Simon St. Laurent
March 26, 2014

One of the best things I overheard at the Fluent Conference was (more or less): “CSS live coding? I was like, that isn’t code. But then it was.” Lea Varou had changed the mind of a skeptic.   CSS is …

Tailoring for performance

By Roseanne Fallin
March 20, 2014

Like a lot of web teams, O’Reilly’s web group has increased its focus on using global components to better scale maintenance and optimize workflow. From a load-time measurement perspective, our performance ratings stay near benchmarks. However, after a recent analysis, …

Go Node Without Code

By Simon St. Laurent
February 6, 2014

At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5 conference, Adobe Community Manager Brian Rinaldi showed off ways Node makes possible a new world of utilities, showing JavaScript developers a toolkit they will want to integrate into their workflows. In …

Web Application Development is Different (and Better)

By Simon St. Laurent
January 29, 2014

The Web became the most ubiquitous distributed application system because it didn’t have to think of itself as a programming environment. Almost every day I see comments or complaints from programmers (even brilliant programmers) muttering about how many strange and …

HTML and CSS Performance

By Lara Swanson
January 28, 2014

[Ed note: This is the third in a series of posts on web design and performance. You can see the first two posts here and here.] Optimizing your markup can have a substantial impact on your site’s page load time. …

Please Nominate for the Web Platform Awards

By Simon St. Laurent
January 24, 2014

This March, we’ll be announcing the Web Platform Awards at the O’Reilly Fluent Conference. Fluent is all about JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, and the best practices that make up the Web Platform, and we’d like to recognize the people who’ve made …

Declare and It Happens

By Simon St. Laurent
December 18, 2013

Last week, I wrote about the need to make programming, at least much programming, more accessible. I was thinking in terms of business processes, so spreadsheets and flow-based programming sprang to mind. Today, though, Jeremy Keith reminds me that on …

Seduced by Markup

By Simon St. Laurent
November 20, 2013

A friend wanted to show me a great new thing in 1993, this crazy HTML browser called Cello. He knew I was working on hypertext and this seemed like just the thing for it! Sadly, my time in HyperCard and …

Sketching in Code

By Simon St. Laurent
November 13, 2013

Last week’s Artifact Conference focused on the challenges of designing for multiple devices simultaneously. One frequent suggestions on stage and off was rough sketching, on screen or on paper, but it’s tricky to get there. The problem is easiest to …

MathML Forges On

By Peter Krautzberger
November 1, 2013

20 years into the web, math and science are still second class citizens on the web. While MathML is part of HTML 5, its adoption has seen ups and downs but if you look closely you can see there is …

HTML5 is the Future of Book Authorship

By Sanders Kleinfeld
September 19, 2013

In the past six years, the rise of the ebook has ushered in three successive revolutions that have roiled and reshaped the traditional publishing industry. Revolution #1 began in November in 2007, when Amazon released its first-generation eInk Kindle. As …

From “Web Development” to the “Web Platform”

By Simon St. Laurent
September 4, 2013

The rise of the phrase “web platform” over the past few years makes me very happy. For years, I’ve been looking for a good term that would cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a few related technologies. The terminology has long …

JavaScript Is Way Too Slow – for What?

By Simon St. Laurent
July 17, 2013

I keep finding that programmers—even web programmers—frequently think “web application” means “JavaScript application.” Programmers are, of course, used to working with programming languages, and often see application environments from the perspective of the programming language in use. These blinders derail …

The Appeal of the Lift Web Frameworks

By Richard Dallaway
July 10, 2013

Lift is one of the better-known web frameworks for Scala. Version 2.5 has just been released, so it seems like a good time to show features of Lift that I particularly like. Lift is different from other web frameworks (in …

Four short links: 28 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 28, 2013

My Little Geek — children’s primer with a geeky bent. A is for Android, B is for Binary, C is for Caffeine …. They have a Kickstarter for two sequels: numbers and shapes. Visible CSS Rules — Enter a url …

From JavaScript to Declarative Markup

By Simon St. Laurent
May 22, 2013

Web architecture separates structured content (markup), presentation (style), and behavior (JavaScript). As recently as a decade ago, many developers worked in all three, but the years since Ajax arrived have brought more specialization. The rise of JavaScript in particular has …

JavaScript Flexibility: Fun, But Use with Care

By Elisabeth Robson
May 21, 2013

When you begin programming in JavaScript, you’ll need to use variables. A variable is just a bit of storage to hold a value. Just about every line of code you write will use a variable of one kind or another, …

JavaScript Makes Browsers Behave

By Elisabeth Robson
May 14, 2013

If you know HTML and CSS, you’re ready to begin learning JavaScript. But you might be surprised, because JavaScript looks quite different from both HTML and CSS. That’s because JavaScript is a language for computation. Unlike HTML, which is for …

Cutting Your Programming Teeth on JavaScript

By Elisabeth Robson
May 7, 2013

JavaScript is a bit different from other programming languages. How? Well, JavaScript runs in an environment, and that’s usually the browser. So when you learn JavaScript, you’ll learn both the language basics, as well as how to use JavaScript in …

Weekly Highlights and Insights: April 29-May 3

By Adam Flaherty
May 3, 2013

Leading Indicators: Over on O’Reilly Radar, Mike Loukides and Q Ethan McCallum come up with a few ideas for evaluating an organization’s data science program from the “outside.” CSS Selectors as Superpowers: Simon St. Laurent hopes that “the success of …

CSS Selectors as Superpowers

By Simon St. Laurent
May 1, 2013

After years of complaints about Cascading Style Sheets, many stemming from their deliberately declarative nature, it’s time to recognize their power. For developers coming from imperative programming styles, it might seem hard to lose the ability to specify more complex …

Stop standardizing HTML

By Simon St. Laurent
April 24, 2013

When HTML first appeared, it offered a coherent if limited vocabulary for sharing content on the newly created World Wide Web. Today, after HTML has handed off most of its actual work to other specifications, it’s time to stop worrying …

O’Reilly’s journey to EPUB 3

By Sanders Kleinfeld
February 7, 2013

We at O’Reilly are very pleased to announce that we have officially upgraded to EPUB 3, and ebook bundles purchased from will now include EPUB 3 files, in addition to Mobi and PDF files. All O’Reilly ebooks released in …

Four short links: 5 February 2013

By Nat Torkington
February 5, 2013

toolbar — tooltips in jQuery, cf hint.css which is tooltips in CSS. Security Engineering — 2ed now available online for free. (via /r/netsec) Economics of Netflix’s $100M New Show (The Atlantic) — Up until now, Netflix’s strategy has involved paying …

Are we over-thinking EPUB?

By Adam Hyde
January 17, 2013

One common misnomer I have come across is that EPUB3 is ‘a technology’ – something in and of itself. I believe this category mistake is largely a result of the the IDPF’s (the organisation that maintains EPUB3) success in promoting …

High-quality PDF-to-EPUB conversion

By Joe Wikert
January 14, 2013

How many times have you opened an ebook and noticed awkward hyphenations or other conversion errors? I still see this in the majority of the ebooks I buy and it’s clear these are the result of someone not paying attention …

HTML5: The code to maximizing revenue

By Joe Wikert
January 2, 2013

Have you heard all the hype about HTML5 but you’re still not sold on it? You need to read the latest whitepaper from SPi Global. It’s called HTML5: The Code to Maximizing Revenue and it does a terrific job explaining …


By Adam Hyde
December 3, 2012

Since HTML is the new paper and the new path to paper online editing environments are becoming much more important for publishing. Dominant until now has been the WYSIWYG editor we all know and…err…love? However the current WYSIWYG paradigm has …

A Kindle developer’s 2013 wishlist

By Sanders Kleinfeld
December 2, 2012

2012 was a good year for Kindle developers. With the unveiling of the first-generation Fire tablet in late 2011 and the release of the KF8 Mobi format in early 2012, designing beautiful ebooks for the Kindle platform became a reality. …

Emerging languages spotlight: Elm

By Rachel Roumeliotis
November 30, 2012

Over the next few months I’ll be taking a look at new and emerging programming languages. The following piece is the first in this series. The Elm Programming Language, created by Evan Czaplicki, tackles web interaction and takes on the …

Math typesetting

By Adam Hyde
November 26, 2012

Typesetting math in HTML was for a long time one of those ‘I can’t believe that hasn’t been solved by now!’ issues. It seemed a bit wrong – wasn’t the Internet more or less invented by math geeks? Did they give …

InDesign vs. CSS

By Adam Hyde
November 19, 2012

The explosion in web typesetting has been largely unnoticed by everyone except the typography geeks. One of the first posts that raised my awareness of this phenomenon was From Print to Web: Creating Print-Quality Typography in the Browser by Joshua Gross. It …

Gutenberg Regions

By Adam Hyde
November 6, 2012

The “best price” phase of TOC NY 2013 registration is about to end. Don’t wait or you’ll end up paying more than you would today. To save even more on your registration, sign up here and use the discount code …

Ebook problem areas that need standardisation

By bbjarnason
November 1, 2012

The “best price” phase of TOC NY 2013 registration is about to end. Don’t wait or you’ll end up paying more than you would today. To save even more on your registration, sign up here and use the discount code …

CSS keeps growing

By Simon St. Laurent
October 24, 2012

Eric Meyer, the author of CSS: The Definitive Guide (and much more) has taught thousands of people CSS through his books, his talks, and his articles. I’ve always enjoyed hearing his take on the state of CSS, as he manages …

The new New Typography

By Adam Hyde
October 18, 2012

In the 1920s and 1930s in Europe there was a movement known as the New Typography. It was a movement that rejected traditional type set in symmetrical columns and instead treated the printers block as a blank canvas to be …

The key web technologies that work together for dynamic web sites

The key web technologies that work together for dynamic web sites
By Andy Oram
July 12, 2012

The technologies that led to an explosion of interactive web sites — PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, and CSS — are still as popular today, and a non-programmer can master them quickly.

O'Reilly Radar Show 5/10/12: The surprising rise of JavaScript

O'Reilly Radar Show 5/10/12: The surprising rise of JavaScript
By Mac Slocum
May 10, 2012

Fluent Conference co-chair Peter Cooper explains why and how JavaScript rose to prominence. Also, Steve Souders points the way to web performance tools and techniques.

Velocity Profile: Nicole Sullivan

By Mac Slocum
May 9, 2012

Nicole Sullivan discusses her favorite CSS tools and who she follows in the web ops & performance world.

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5
By Laurie Petrycki
April 12, 2012

HTML5 author Christopher Schmitt talks with O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent about why it's a great time to be a web developer.

Permission to be horrible and other ways to generate creativity

By Suzanne Axtell
March 1, 2012

Author and web design consultant Denise R. Jacobs reveals lessons she learned about creativity while writing her first book. She also discusses her efforts to give women and people of color more visibility in the tech world.

Four short links: 2 February 2012

By Nat Torkington
February 2, 2012

Beautiful Buttons for Bootstrap -- cute little button creator, with sliders for hue, saturation, and "puffiness". CMU iPad Course -- iTunes U has the video lectures for a CMU intro to iPad programming. Inspiring Matter -- the conference aims to bring together designers, scientists, artists and humanities people working with materials research and innovation to talk about how they...

Responsive design works for websites, why not for digital comic books?

By Jenn Webb
January 23, 2012

In a keynote address, Open Road Media's Pablo Defendini explored what HTML and CSS can offer to digital comic book design.

Responsive design works for websites, why not for digital comic books?

Responsive design works for websites, why not for digital comic books?
By Jenn Webb
January 23, 2012

In a keynote address, Open Road Media's Pablo Defendini explored what HTML and CSS can offer to digital comic book design.

Four short links: 4 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 4, 2012

Compiling Android from Source (Jethro Carr) -- not as easy as you might think. The documentation is minimal, and each device has its own binary blobs of not-open-source crap necessary to make them work. Open source is supposed to let users continue to do good things with the device, even if the vendor disapproves (cf Stallman's Printer). Jethro's experience...

Four short links: 2 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 2, 2012

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success (The Atlantic) -- Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted. This is a magnificent article, you should read it. (via Juha Saarinen) impress.js (github) -- MIT-licensed Prezi-like presentation tool, built using CSS3 3d transforms. I've never been happy with the Prezi because I fear data lock-in. This...

Four short links: 17 October 2011

By Nat Torkington
October 17, 2011

Story Written in Reddit -- historical scifi based on the question "Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?" Movie rights were just acquired by Warners. (via BoingBoing) Auditing Google -- the comically complex games played to move profits to...

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