Tinned Fruit Missives August 2017

Early in my career, I focused heavily on the tech skills that I knew would keep me in steady work. HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else. Making for the web is such fun.

After twenty years, my interests have expanded. I’ve learned more about business, people. And I now spend time on product management, design, facilitation, persuasion and advocacy, education, coaching and training. Writing code is only a small part of the job.

At first I struggled with this. I thought writing code was what I wanted to be doing as much of as I possibly could. But I realised that what I’m really motivated by is creating things for people and helping others to do the same. And this requires listening, empathy, communication, compromise and humility.

The leaking of an anti-diversity screed written by a Google employee this week saddened me. If you want to be left alone to write code in isolation from the world, fine. Just don’t express your lack of sociability as prejudice against others. And don’t expect to be able to create great products for humans without attempting to embrace some degree of humanity’s diversity and richness.

All the best,

– Jim

Eulogy for Flash - Bruce Lawson


Ahh, Flash. Bless you for keeping me up late at night in my 20s as I scrambled for another client deadline, desperately trying to wrangle keyframes, tweens, symbols and actions into something vaguely interactive. I learned object-oriented programming via ActionScript. I also learned that sprinkling code around a bunch of hidden symbols and keyframes was a recipe for poor psychological health. Bruce Lawson reminds us that Flash showed us the interactive potential of the web and helped drive the capabilities of HTML5 in response to the threat of Flash becoming a defacto plugin. The result is a more capable, standardised open web platform.

Apple’s refusal to support Progressive Web Apps is a detriment to future of the web - Greg Blass


Fortunately, the title of this article seems now to be out of date, as the WebKit team have now marked service workers (a key component of Progressive Web Apps or PWAs) as ‘in development’, meaning that better offline handling will be coming to iOS Safari soon. As a result, web developers have been getting excited about PWAs in the last week or two. This may prove to be the start of PWAs taking on native and hybrid mobile apps.

The Critical Request - Ben Schwarz


More essential front-end performance reading from Ben Schwarz. Each resource loaded by the browser is given a priority, which determines the order in which they are loaded. We can make a huge difference to perceived performance by tweaking these priorities.

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Tinned Fruit Missives is a monthly newsletter about web product development and front-end practices published by Jim Newbery, an independent consultant from Edinburgh in Scotland.

I help growing web product companies with their front-end development strategy and implementation. Let’s talk!.

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