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24 ways to impress your friends

2018

24 ways is the advent calendar for web geeks. For twenty-four days each December we publish a daily dose of web design and development goodness to bring you all a little Christmas cheer. Learn more

  1. Dynamic Social Sharing Images

    Drew McLellan

    Drew McLellan draws this, our fourteenth season to a gentle close by getting a little Inside Snowball and gives an account of how we put the robots to work in generating custom dynamic social media sharing images for each of the articles here on the site. Christmas is a time to share what you have, even if it’s just a grid of pixels.

  2. Designing Your Site Like It’s 1998

    Andy Clarke

    Andy Clarke tells a tale as old as time, a tale of tables, framesets, fixed widths and spacer GIFs (ask your parents). Harking back to the methods that were appropriate to used to build cutting-edge websites twenty years ago, not only can we see how far we’ve come but can be excited for what lies ahead.

  3. How to Use Audio on the Web

    Ruth John

    Ruth John lets the bells ring out for Christmas with a look at a selection of inspiring sites with creative and effective use of audio. The days of jangly MIDI tunes to distract and annoy are thankfully long behind us, with browser APIs offering new and exciting ways to generate sound. Ahead is a beautiful sonic landscape. Ding dong!

  4. Jank-Free Image Loads

    Eric Portis

    Eric Portis remembers that images on the web, just like presents under the tree, come in different shapes and sizes. There’s little more disappointing than unwrapping a large-looking gift to find that it’s mostly packaging. Avoid expectation-jank with some great enhancements coming to the web platform soon.

  5. Clip Paths Know No Bounds

    Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson throws some Christmas shapes and gives us a run down of different ways to use CSS polygon clip paths to create interesting a flexible shapes with less code that you might have thought. It may be the time of year to follow a star, but was the star plotted with five or ten points?

  6. Fast Autocomplete Search for Your Website

    Simon Willison

    Simon Willison searches for the true meaning of Christmas, but settles on making a search engine for our articles on 24 ways. In doing he so demonstrates how a little bit of JavaScript, some open source tools and a sprinkling of database magic can make your festive dreams come true.

  7. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like XSSmas

    Anna Debenham

    Anna Debenham picks up the reins to continue our journey of understanding in the dark forest of web security. With so many packages the reindeer are struggling to pull the sleigh against the weight of all those dependancies. The question is, which packages hold wonderful gifts, and which just coal?

  8. The System, the Search, and the Food Bank

    Lisa Maria Martin

    Lisa Maria Martin sorts the nuts from the berries by finding what lessons can be learned about our digital content from a few hours spent volunteering at the local food bank. When push comes to shove, do you know your broth from your biscuits and your pasta from your pulses?

  9. Designing Your Future

    Christopher Murphy

    Christopher Murphy channels the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come by not just look into the future, but shaping the form it takes. By taking action now you can affect the outcome down the road, making all the difference when it comes to a big life change such as leaving full time employment.

  10. Researching a Property in the CSS Specifications

    Rachel Andrew

    Rachel Andrew shows us which direction is up on a gift that looks great but comes with complex instructions. Like most operating manuals CSS specifications can seem overwhelming, but it turns out that some of the most daunting tasks can be simple when you know what you’re doing.

  11. Inclusive Considerations When Restyling Form Controls

    Scott O'Hara

    Scott O’Hara hogs the remote while he looks into the ever-present issue of custom form controls. We might brute-force an element to take on the styling we’re looking for, but will that interaction still make sense for all users? Let’s give the batteries a rub and find out.

  12. The (Switch)-Case for State Machines in User Interfaces

    David Khourshid

    David Khourshid pops the cookies in the oven, and while they bake, introduces the concept of state machines and how they can help in the design of user interfaces. Pour yourself a glass of mulled wine to mull it over with, but careful not to drink too much and get yourself into a state.

  13. Turn Jekyll up to Eleventy

    Paul Lloyd

    Paul Lloyd assembles a heavenly host of cherubs to sing the virtues of the Eleventy static site generator. By looking at how it compares to the familiar Ruby-based Jekyll (which we have espoused the virtues of here before), he may have you humming its tune for this season’s holiday projects. But will it put you on cloud eleven?

  14. Build up Your Leadership Toolbox

    Mazz Mosley

    Mazz Mosley hands out the sheet music, gives a quick blast on a pitch pipe, and counts us in with a rousing chorus to remind us that leaders are made, not born. Just like a good box of chocolates, styles of leadership come in all shapes and flavours, each with its own function and purpose. Just avoid the coconut ones.

  15. Surviving—and Thriving—as a Remote Worker

    Mel Choyce

    Mel Choyce harnesses the huskies of hard toil to the sled of flexibility to slide off to a location of her own choosing. In a time when it makes less sense than ever to all be cooped in the same room staring at our magical screens, Mel offers up words of wisdom on how to survive, nay, thrive out there on your own.

  16. What I Learned in Six Years at GDS

    Anna Shipman

    Anna Shipman looks back across the wintery landscape to her time spent working on the UK’s Government Digital Service. Like the busy elves in Santa’s workshop, government digital workers toil tirelessly for the benefit of people everywhere. The very best of them, however, also share their blueprints.

  17. Managing Flow and Rhythm with CSS Custom Properties

    Andy Bell

    Andy Bell rings out a call for a more flexible method of achieving consistent vertical rhythm across components within a page. Using a technique of CSS custom properties to establish spacing inherited through the cascade, you can make sure your choir are all singing from the same song sheet.

  18. Be the Villain

    Eric Bailey

    Eric Bailey asks us to take on the role of King Herod in our projects to consider how the products, services and processes we design could be abused to cause harm rather than to do good. No matter how good our intentions, we must remember that not every user has pure motivations and that every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.

  19. Creating My First Chrome Extension

    Jennifer Wong

    Jennifer Wong takes the good stuff down from the shelf and pours out a generous measure of know-how on the subject of creating extensions for Google Chrome. Pull up a chair and get ready to find out how the HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills you already possess can be put to use to extend your browser of choice.

  20. Mistletoe Offline

    Jeremy Keith

    Jeremy Keith reminds us that 4G is king. The carollers sing. One tunnel has passed, a new one’s beginning. Dreams of wi-fi on the go. Fingers numb, smart phones aglow. It’s Christmas time, mistletoe offline. Children streaming their gameplay online. With batteries on fire and gigabytes for free, it’s time to rejoice in connectivity.

  21. The Art of Mathematics: A Mandala Maker Tutorial

    Hagar Shilo

    Hagar Shilo breaks out the Christmas decorations with a tutorial to show how a little knowledge of JavaScript can lead to impressive results. Forget about the doilies and fake snow on the windows, all we need to create geometric patterns is a web browser and a sprinkling of mathematics.

  22. Securing Your Site like It’s 1999

    Katie Fenn

    Katie Fenn opens the door on our 2018 season by transporting us back to the turn of the century when new lessons were being learned about web security. Those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it, so fasten up your winter coat and let Katie lead you through some of the darker parts of the forest.