Salmagundi for December 20, 2011

salmagundi 2Salmagundi? That’s the word for a seventeenth-century English dish made of an assortment of wildly varying ingredients. Typically, they include some cut-up hard-boiled egg, but then after that, anything goes: meat, seafood, fruits and veg, nuts and flowers and all manner of dressings and sauces. The term comes from the French “salmigondis”, which translates as “hodgepodge”.

In this case, I’m using “salmagundi” as a term for a mixed bag of new items that you might find interesting as a developer.

The End of the Web? Don’t Bet on It

George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research, said at the Le Web conference that the web is dying and that the “App Internet” – the internet as accessed via apps instead of through the browser – is taking over. Mark Suster disagrees and says that while Colony may be right, it’s only for the short term, citing these reasons:

  1. Workarounds. While native apps always have more capability in the beginning, HTML apps catch up thanks to workarounds like HTML5/CSS/JavaScript as well as frameworks like PhoneGap and Appcelerator.
  2. Browsers get better. We’re seeing it happen right now – even with Internet Explorer!
  3. Multiplatform development is expensive. And not only that, they’re moving targets.
  4. Phone app stores are now strangleholds. “The early allure of empty shelves in the App Store,” writes Suster, “is making way to the over-crowded shelve (currently tallied at more than 500,000 SKUs).”
  5. Data. With the app internet, you have to contend with data leakage and data management across devices, and that’s not easy.
  6. TCO. Maintenance costs on native apps are higher than for web apps.

Apress’ Ebook Sale

apress books

From now through December 25th, you save 40% off Apress ebooks if you use the discount code SNOW11 when you check out. This applies to all regular and Alpha ebooks in their shop!

“CoffeeScript is Not a Language Worth Learning”

reg braithwaite

When Reg Braithwaite speaks, a lot of geeks listen. And rightfully so; the guy’s constantly thinking deep thoughts about programming and what it means to program. I feel privileged that I can easily hang out with him reasonably often as we both live and work in Toronto.

There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth over his latest article, CoffeeScript is Not a Language Worth Learning. In it, he praises CoffeeScript but says that it’s more tool than language, and a great one at that.

The readers at Reddit and Hacker News, many of whom are a literal-minded bunch, have accused Reg of linkbaiting with his article’s title. Of course, if you know Reg, either personally or through his writing, you’ll know that he uses essays to think out loud and share gedankenexperiments. He also writes some interesting programming experiments for the same reason. My advice to those of you who are about to fire up your favorite text editor and do a point-by-point refutation of his essay: breathe deeply, and read it again.

Free Ebook: Best of Smashing Magazine

smashing magazine ebook

Smashing Magazine, a great resource for developers, designers and those mythical “desingineers” is turning 5 and celebrating by giving away a free ebook: Best of Smashing Magazine. It features what they feel to be the best articles they’ve published over the past half-decade. Here’s the table of contents:

  • “Thirty Usability Issues to Be Aware Of” — Vitaly Friedman
  • “Ten Principles of Effective Web Design” — Vitaly Friedman
  • “Clever JPEG Optimization Techniques” — Sergey Chikuyonok
  • “Typographic Design Patterns and Best Practices” — Smashing Editorial team
  • “Ten Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines” — Dmitry Fadeyev
  • “Setting Up Photoshop for Web and iPhone Development” — Marc Edwards
  • “The Ails of Typographic Anti-Aliasing” — Tom Giannattasio
  • “Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures and Gradients” — Marc Edwards
  • “Better User Experience With Storytelling” — Francisco Inchauste
  • “The Beauty of Typography, Writing Systems and Calligraphy” — Jessica Bordeau
  • “Web Designers, Don’t Do It Alone” — Paul Boag
  • “Making Your Mark on the Web Is Easier Than You Think” — Christian Heilmann
  • “Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How to Use It” — Kayla Knight
  • “I Want to Be a Web Designer When I Grow Up” — Michael Aleo
  • “Persuasion Triggers in Web Design” — David Travis
  • “What Font Should I Use?” — Dan Mayer
  • “The Design Matrix: A Powerful Tool for Guiding Client Input” — Bridget Fahrland
  • “Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed” — Helge Fredheim
  • “Dear Web Design Community, Where Have You Gone?” — Vitaly Friedman
  • “Make Your Content Make a Difference” — Colleen Jones
  • “Two Cats in a Sack: Designer-Developer Discord” — Cassie McDaniel
  • “Print Loves Web” — Mark Cossey

Want it? It comes in PDF, ePUB and Mobi formats and it’s free – download it directly here [55 MB .zip file] or get it from iTunes!

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.