My 5 Best Web Development Things of 2010

My 5 Best Web Development Things of 2010

So many to choose from

Wow, my first list? I’m not sure I approve of what I am about to write just because I usually don’t care about what they say. A list like this though, is one I usually read. Same with the year’s trends in web design or development because I want to see what others have been doing. This list though is unique, because it pertains to what I learned or what I personally thought were the top innovations of 2010. By 2010 I either mean they came out this year, or I actually learned them this year. If you haven’t used, learned or heard of these…you should. Otherwise you are dumb. Na, I don’t mean that. Ok, yes I do. Anyway, to the winch, wench!

The HTML5 Boilerplate

HTML5 Boilerplate

The HTML5 Boilerplate in my opinion, is literally #1 in my book. Why? The damn thing is packed with so much awesome that you can learn a lot just by looking through it. It includes HTML5, Javascript to enable element detection in IE, Meyer’s CSS reset, the DD_belatedPNG.fix so that png’s work in all browsers (I’m looking at you IE6), and one very important block of code that will forever stop the use of CSS hacks:

<!-- --> 
<!--[if lt IE 7 ]> <html lang="en" class="no-js ie6"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 7 ]>    <html lang="en" class="no-js ie7"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 8 ]>    <html lang="en" class="no-js ie8"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if IE 9 ]>    <html lang="en" class="no-js ie9"> <![endif]-->
<!--[if (gt IE 9)|!(IE)]><!--> <html lang="en" class="no-js"> <!--<![endif]-->

Once I saw this, no more underscore, or !ie, or any other hack in my CSS files. There is so much more included in it, and so well done, there is absolutely NO reason you shouldn’t be using this template. If you aren’t, you probably think ‘Bats’ was a great movie.


CompassCompass didn’t come out this year. I’m not even sure when it came out, I only know that it changed the way I develop on my projects. Compass is a framework for Sass, so if you don’t know Sass, it’s pretty much useless. With it though, it has made life a LOT easier when writing my stylesheets. Sass and Compass together is probably the most impressive thing I have seen in the web development world. Since the HTML5 Boilerplate not only came out this year, but it is the starting point to use before you even get to style something, I put Compass second. Not only does Compass come with some powerfully pre-built mixins so that writing CSS3 box-shadows, gradients, and border-radius are a breeze, it added CSS PIE and a sprite generator called Lemonade to its arsenal today.

I honestly can’t stress in words how much this changed the way I thought about CSS. Pretty much to the point that writing straight CSS has become tedious. Sass is really good…but Compass made it great.

CSS3 Pie

CSS PieCSS3 Pie is not something that most of you would probably put on your list. But when you are creating websites that must look the same across all browsers, CSS3 Pie made it possible to start using some of CSS3′s most used properties and have them actually work in IE. It only supports a few, but for border-radius and box-shadow it made my life at work a lot easier. Because of it, there are now a few items you can scratch off the list for graceful degrading. Now go eat some Pie!

WordPress 3.0

WordPress 3.0 I don’t think I need to provide a link to this because I am pretty sure you guys know how to use a search engine. Did WP3.0 revolutionize the way we used the platform? No. Did it change the way you thought about something? No. In fact, it is just a good release of an already awesome CMS. What it did add though, was a fantastic menu management system that allows users to change the navigation menus themselves fairly easily. That alone was worth it for me. Now I can create themes for clients, and they don’t need me to make changes for them. I know that seems like throwing money away, but clients love this fact, and I personally hate doing changes on a site when they can do it themselves with a little training. Thank you for that WP3.0.

CSS3 Flex Box

The CSS3 Flex Box is probably not that well known yet, even though I’m pretty sure if you are reading this, you do. That is how much I respect your knowledge. That is a lie by the way, because I don’t know you, and I hate people. Back to the point though. I believe it works in Firefox, Safari and Chrome now, too. It does exactly what it is called, a flexible box model. You can position elements where you want, what order, and which one(s) gets to be flxible or not. I have been looking for something this easy to use since I started writing CSS, and now it is finally here. I can’t wait for this to become wide spread, and screw IE.

I wish there were six

My biggest joy turned into biggest disappointment would have been number one on my list. Unfortunately, it now can’t even make the list at all. Spoon’s browser sandbox was by far, the BEST thing to hit web development in a long time. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Spoon has what they call the ‘browser sandbox’ that let you test your sites in any version of the top browsers. On top of that, it could be done without having them all installed on your machine. Want to check it IE6, 7, 8 or 9 Preview? How about Safari or Chrome or Opera? All multiple versions! What happened though to take it out of any running in my list? Microsoft forced Spoon to take down the IE browsers due to some licensing issues. I call bullshit, and if you look at Spoon’s Facebook page, you will notice I am not the only one. Many a developer has bitched, and there is nothing Spoon can do.

Because of the sandbox, Spoon was probably my most used tool in my web developer toolbox, and I became very dependent on it being there for me. Once IE was taken off, followed by Safari, it is now useless to me. Yes, they provide a TON of other services that are great, but the sandbox was the crown jewel and all I needed. Now I have to use IE Tester, or some other crap way of testing IE. The day IE was taken off of Spoon was probably the worst feeling I have ever had that has to do with web development. Thank you Spoon for giving me the time I had with you, and screw Microsoft for actually (and this is weird typing this) hurting me.

What will 2011 bring?

It is hard to imagine what the next year will bring. I believe there are peaks and a leveling off of things that happen in our field. 2010, in my opinion was a huge peak. From jQuery going to 1.4, to the ability to really start using HTML5 and CSS3, and WordPress going to version 3.0, I don’t think we will see such a spike untill 2012. There will be small things I think, but none of the jumps we saw and made our own like this year. Which is good in a way because it will let all of us really soak in the knowledge that we all gained from this one. Maybe I’m wrong though, and if I am, it’s going to be a blast seeing it happen.

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2 Responses to “My 5 Best Web Development Things of 2010”

  1. I think soon the HTML5 experiments and design patterns will start becoming more accessible to the every day developer. If you look at an HTML5 site, it kind of has an “HTML5 Feel” to it, if you know what I mean. I expect that by this time next year, the trends encompassing that feel will begin to become much more mainstream. Whether this is good or bad is up for debate. HTML5-Esq sites have a cool edge to them, but that could easily become trite.

    • jcDesigns says:

      I hope one trend is the use of the video tag becoming mainstream. I’m not sure what you mean about the “HTML5 Feel” though. I’m guessing a lot of sites using it you wouldn’t know unless you looked at the source code. I tried to use as many of the HTML5 tags as I could in my redesign, but I’m not sure I would say it has a HTML5 feel. I used some CSS3 transitions and animation, which I can see being the “feel” you are talking about, and I think that those becoming more mainstream is a good thing. Once we get past that fad, the next will appear and I’m excited to see what that will be.

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