Web Dev Links: Ghost 2.0, WordPress’ Gutenberg, Website Performance & more

Random links to make you a better web developer.
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As a web developer, I’m always looking out for cool new tips, tricks, and techniques for making the most beautiful and performant websites possible. Below are some of my latest discoveries.

I’ve been fascinated by the Ghost blogging platform ever since John O’Nolan launched his Kickstarter campaign back 2013. While not exactly billed as a WordPress killer, Ghost did seem quite willing to step into the blogging tool space that WordPress was (apparently) abandoning in its drive to become a more fully-featured content management system and website builder (which has culminated in the impending release of Gutenberg).

About a year ago, O’Nolan announced Koenig, an update to Ghost’s editor that would allow the insertion of customizable and modular content blocks. Being a big fan of content block-based approaches to content management, I was immediately intrigued even though Koenig was very much a work in progress at the time.

Jump ahead to the present, and Koenig has become a full-fledged reality with the release of Ghost 2.0. Built on top of MobileDoc (“a framework-agnostic library for building WYSIWYG editors supporting rich content via cards”), the new editing experience in Ghost 2.0 is pretty slick. It’s very similar to Statamic’s Bard fieldtype in that it’s a text editor first, and a content block editor second, which makes for a very elegant writing/editing experience.

Ghost 2.0 currently ships with just a basic set of cards (e.g., image, video, tweets), and those cards are currently limited — for example, images can’t be aligned left or right — there’s a lot of promise here. And it’s an approach that I hope more CMSes, including my favorites Craft and ExpressionEngine, consider implementing in some fashion.

Now on to the rest of the links…

Manish Dudharejia offers a comprehensive rundown of WordPress’ new Gutenberg editor. “In short, Gutenberg doesn’t change how WordPress functions. It does, however, change the way website owners (or creators) interact with it. Instead of a whole lot of shortcodes and meta boxes, you will be using simple blocks.”

This could be very interesting: Chrome for Android may start disabling JavaScript on 2G connections. “If you’re not familiar with it, JavaScript is what makes web pages interactive. While sites are supposed to still maintain basic functionality with JavaScript disabled, that’s not really the case anymore — many sites completely break with JS turned off.” This is not a bad thing — JavaScript can add a lot of bloat to pages — but it will be a challenge given the increasing popularity of JavaScript frameworks like Vue.js, React, Angular, et al. Or maybe we should just stop trying to JavaScript all the things. Via Sara Soueidan.

Fresh from Google I/O 2018, here’s a pretty exhaustive list of ways to improve website performance using Chrome’s Lighthouse auditing tools. I’m particularly intrigued by the bit about priority hints, which is currently experimental but lets you tell a browser how important something is to the page in question, thus helping the browser to load it more quickly. Via CSS Layout News.

Rachel Nabors explains the importance of web browser diversity. “Yes, it’s easier to develop and test in only one browser. I’m sure IT professionals would have loved to only support one kind of machine. But variety creates opportunity for us as developers in the long run.” Via Sitepoint.

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