Right, 2nd Newsletter. Thanks for reading!

Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS, Third Edition

I’ve been writing the latest edition of ‘Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS’ since August 2019. Finally, it’s finished and available to buy:

So much in this latest edition! You could use the paperback edition as a weapon! Anyway, there’s a dedicated site with all the lowdown: rwd.education

Dropping the ‘3’ from ‘CSS3’

In this edition of the book, I have also dropped the ‘3’ from ‘CSS3’ in the title.

It’s a topic being debated in CSS circles currently; should we be promoting a new version of CSS, such as CSS4, or CSS2020? Or does it make more sense to ignore the version numbers altogether?

I’ve come down on the side of doing away with the number suffix. It’s not that I don’t see the value from a marketing perspective — it would certainly help me as a writer of CSS books. However, I don’t feel it’s a truthful representation of how CSS gets ‘made’. There is no current version, not like in the HTML sense.

Anyway, if this debate interests you, go and read the CSS working group Drafts GitHub issue.

Curious to know how you feel about it dear reader? If you have an opinion, I’d love to read it in the comments.

Sublime Text 4

I obsess over my text editor(s) — And flit between them with reckless abandon. However, the one I keep coming back to is Sublime Text. I get why everyone loves VS Code; it’s just so convenient. But it is also just perceptibly slow enough to annoy me.

Anyway, Sublime Text 4 is in development, and if you get on the Sublime Text discord channel and have a paid for version of Sublime Text 3 you can get your hands on the dev builds as they come off the production line.

At first glance you may wonder what the difference is, but there are heaps of wonderful enhancements. From using those builds I have discovered there is functionality in Sublime I didn’t realise we have access to:

Language Server Protocol & NeoVintageous === nirvana

I’ve been using Vim since around September last year in iTerm2. It’s been great.

One of the best things was that I could use CoC to hook up to the same language server that VS Codes uses. All you need to know for the sake of this is that the LSP (Language Server Protocol) is what powers all the completion and IDE like code suggestions you get in VS Code. Well, turns out you can have that in Sublime too.

It took me a while to sort this out and needed some help from the #LSP channel in the Sublime Text Discord channel.

Long story short. If you want TypeScript LSP running in Sublime (3 or 4):

  • If you have already installed a TypeScript syntax package, remove it.
  • Install the LSP package.
  • Install the LSP-typescript package.
  • Restart Sublime. Now open a TS file in your folder, and change the syntax to TypeScript Syntax

Enjoy LSP goodness in Sublime!

Mechanical keyboard piece for Smashing Magazine

A long piece I wrote for Smashing Magazine, A complete guide to Mechanical Keyboards is now live.
It’s a bit of a whopper but I wrote it with the intention that someone just looking into Mechanical Keyboards for the first time could wrap their head around all they needed to know.

I’ll copy it to my own blog shortly.

On the Smashing Podcast

Although I rambled terribly, yours truly was a guest on the Smashing Podcast on which I talked about mechanical keyboards, personal well-being, losing my finger and other physical challenges etc. I always enjoy podcasts both as a guest and a listener and it was lovely to spend an hour in Drew’s company.

Building your own keyboard

I posted a picture of my first Keyboard build on Twitter a few weeks back and promised I’d write up the process in case anyone else wanted to follow suit. That will be a blog post soon! I’ve been using my own build as my daily driver since it’s been built and I’ve got the parts for a few more to build.

Maybe it’s something you would consider too. Like all things mechanical keyboards, it’s not an economical undertaking but I found it very satisfying. Never soldered before so doing that was fun too.

Ben Frain KBD67II Mechanical keyboard with Ferrous keycaps
KBD67II Mechanical keyboard with Ferrous keycaps and Zilent switches

Ben Goes Linux!

I hugely enjoyed listening and reading Dave Rupert’s adventures in Windows, not because I fancy trying Windows, but because I’m always curious about how other people work. In that vein, I was reading my RSS feed and stumbled across Nolan Lawson talking about some font-rendering issue he was having in Linux.

I don’t know why but that made me start thinking about trying Linux for myself. I reached out to ask him how he found Linux and suggested he write a post about it; which he duly did: https://nolanlawson.com/2020/05/10/linux-on-the-desktop-as-a-web-developer/

In the meantime, I’d also opened a poll on Twitter to ask what OS everyone used for web development these days and was surprised when Linux beat out Windows.

Anyway, this and needing to move my personal iMac out of the room I am currently using for #WFH presented a golden opportunity to give myself a pass on purchasing a ahem inexpensive Linux box.

So, I ordered an Intel NUC (teeny weeny lickle box computer), stuck in my own memory and NVMe SSD drive and installed Ubuntu.

As you might imagine, it hasn’t been straightforward, but if, like me, you have never used Linux as your desktop driver before, perhaps you’ll be interested in a post on that experience in the coming weeks?

Uses page

Unlike others, literally no-one has ever asked me what I use. But that’s not going to stop me telling the world! 🙂

So, something I plan to do in the coming weeks is add a uses page.

Text editor, hardware, OS, apps, desk, printer, mouse, keyboard, KVM, etc.

Hopefully that will inspire more of you to do the same and we can ‘exchange notes’ as it were.

A cross-platform notes app

I still have this pull towards trying to make my own web based notes app; something in a similar vein to notational velocity. I stumbled upon Tania Rascia’s website — which incidentally is a gold-mine of tutorials — and saw that she is working on Takenote which has some similar goals and is far further along that anything I have. Despite this, I just can’t scratch the itch to do something of my own.

I’ve never built anything remotely full stack so learning to do API and middleware stuff seems like it will be worth learning regardless.

Expect that sometime 2025 😀

Books

Bit thin on recommendations this Newsletter. With #WFH being a thing I’m no longer getting my audible commute time. However, the one I have for you is a belter — ‘Code Name: Lise’. It’s the true story of Odette Sansom, the French wife of an Englishman who ended up being World War IIs most decorated spy.

It’s a seriously good read. Really makes you appreciate how much easier we have things these days. Even given the Covid-19 situation we all find ourselves in.

Until next time

I hope you all stay well. Be sure to let me know what kind of stuff you would like to read more or less of.

Best, Ben