Responsive Dummies

After Remy “Remington” Sharp and Bruce “Bruce” Lawson published Introducing HTML5 in 2010, the web development community have been eager to see what they’ll turn their talents to next.1 Now their new book is out, Responsive Design for Dummies.

It’s… got its good points and its bad points. As the cover proudly proclaims, they fully embrace the New World Order of delivering essential features via Web Components. I particularly liked their demonstration of how to wrap a whole site inside a component, thus making your served HTML just be <bruces-site> and so saving you bandwidth2. Their recommendation that Flickr and Facebook use this approach to stop users stealing images may be the best suggestion for future-proofing the web that we’ve heard in 2014 so far. The sidebar on how to use this approach and hash-bang JavaScript URLs together ought to become the new way that we build everything, and I’m eager to see libraries designed for slow connections and accesssibility such as Angular.js adopt the technique.

Similarly, the discussion of how Service Workers can deliver business advantages on the Apple iWatch was welcome, particularly given the newness of the release. It’s rare to see a book this up-to-date and this ready to engage with driving the web forward. Did Bruce and Remy get early access to iWatch prototypes or something? I am eager to start leveraging these techniques with my new startup3.

It’s not all perfect, though. I think that devoting three whole chapters to a Dawkins-esque hymn of hatred for everyone who opposed the <picture> element was a bit more tactless than I was hoping for. You won, chaps, there’s no need to rub it in.4

I’d also like to see, if I’m honest, ideas for when breakpoints are less appropriate. I appreciate that the book comes with a free $500 voucher for Getty Images, but after at Bruce and Remy’s recommendation I downloaded separate images for breakpoints at 17px, 48px, 160px, 320px, 341px, 600px, 601px, 603px, 631px, 800px, 850px, 900px, 1280px, 2560px, and 4200px for retina Firefox OS devices, I only had $2.17 left to spend and my server has run out of disc space. Even after using their Haskell utility to convert the images to BMP and JPEG2000 formats I still only score 13.6% on the Google Pagespeed test, and my router has melted. Do better next time, chaps.

Nonetheless, despite these minor flaws, and obvious copy-editing flubs such as “responsive” being misspelled on the cover itself5, I’d recommend this book. Disclaimer: I know both the authors biblicallypersonally and while Bruce has indeed promised me “a night to remember” for a positive review, that has not affected at all my judgement of this book as the most important and seminal work in the Web field since Kierkegaard’s “Sarissa.js Tips and Tricks”.

Go and buy it. It’s so popular that it might actually be hard to find a copy, but if your bookseller doesn’t have it, you should shout at them.

  1. other than inappropriate swimwear, obviously
  2. I also liked their use of VML and HTML+TIME in a component
  3. it’s basically Uber for pie fillings
  4. although if you don’t rub it in it’ll stain the mankini
  5. clearly it was meant to say “ahahaha responsive design, what evaaaaar”, but maybe that didn’t fit

More in the discussion (powered by webmentions)

  • (no mentions, yet.)