365: ARTIFACT Pre-Show with Jennifer Robbins and Chris Ferdinandi

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Jennifer Robbins and Chris Ferdinandi stop by to talk about a great conference that's returning in the fall, ARTIFACT Conference. We look back at the state of the web 5 years ago and preview some of the talks and ideas that will be happening at this year's ARTIFACT Conference. Tip: Use code SHOPTALK100 to get $100 off on your ARTIFACT Conference registration.



Jennifer Robbins

Jennifer Robbins

Web · Social

Designer, O'Reilly author, ARTIFACT Conference co-founder, mom, interviewer of rock stars.

Chris Ferdinandi

Chris Ferdinandi

Web · Social

The vanilla JavaScript guy. I love pirates, puppies, and Pixar movies.

Time Jump Links

  • 01:48 Guest introductions
  • 03:54 Figuring out mobile 5 years ago
  • 08:32 The tension of designing and developing for everyone
  • 13:04 Designers and developers learning together
  • 18:22 Sponsor: Datadog
  • 19:19 Artifact Conference difference
  • 26:55 Mixing bigger names with new faces on stage
  • 29:50 What's Dave going to talk about?
  • 34:49 Sponsor: Netlify
  • 37:00 On location in Austin, Texas
  • 40:12 What Chris Ferdinandi is talking about
  • 56:27 AR and VR


[Banjo music]

MANTRA: Just Build Websites!

Dave Rupert: Hey there, Shop-o-maniacs. You're listening to another episode of the ShopTalk Show, a podcast all about front-end Web design and development. I'm Dave Rupert and with me is Chris….

Oh, wait. I should start that over. I'm Dave 2014 Rupert, and with me is Chris 2019 Coyier. Hey, Chris. Do you see what I did there?

Chris Coyier: We're going back in time?

Dave: Back, five years apart, because of the show.

Chris C.: [Laughter]

Dave: (Indiscernible)

Chris C.: No, I get it. I get it. I get where you're going. It's a little abstract. You'll get it in a minute, though.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris C.: We have two special guests. It turns out--I don't know if you all knew this--Dave and I do this show remotely. I don't often get to see Dave, which is very sad for me, but we get to keep in touch every single week on the show through the power of the Internet. Me here in my booth in Bend, Oregon. Dave in his brand new office. Actually, I believe this is show number two. You're in a new -- I don't know how temporary it is. Maybe it's your forever office. I don't know.

Dave: My summer space. Yeah.

Chris C.: Summer space. Really?

Dave: I don't know. I don't know. We may build another shed.

Chris C.: Pending. Ooh, shed number two.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris C.: Anyway, it doesn't matter where we work. In fact, sometimes we even do this on the road. That's just the way it is. Where was I going with this? I don't remember.

Dave: Sometimes we go to conferences.

Chris C.: Yes!

Dave: And we meet….

Chris C.: That's exactly where I was going with this!

Dave: Yeah.

Chris C.: That sometimes we end up in the same place because we're at a conference together and there's one of the best coming up pretty soon here. Believe it or not, this is not an ad.


Chris C.: It's because we're here to talk about this conference because everybody here is going to be at it, and it's being organized under the amazing Jennifer. Jennifer Robbins is here. Hey, Jennifer. How are you doing?

Jennifer Robbins: Hey, I'm great. It's good to be here.

Chris C.: Yeah, fantastic. Jennifer is kind of the lead organizer or co-organizer of ARTIFACT Conf. Let's get you the URL right away, All four people on this call are going to be at this conference speaking, and it's actually going to be awesome. The other one is Chris Ferdinandi. Hey, Chris.

Chris Ferdinandi: Hey. How's it going?

Chris C.: Good. Also, everybody on this show right now has been on this show before, so we're all old hats at ShopTalk Show. Welcome back.


Jennifer: Thanks.

Chris F.: Thanks. It's great to be here.

Chris C.: You know it just occurred to us that ARTIFACT is coming up. It's just full of ShopTalk Show alum, really. [Laughter] It's just some of the best speakers in the business, and it's just going to be so much fun. Let's just have a show that's kind of loosely themed around that idea because it's a conference that represents the Web anyway. Why not just talk about that idea?

Dave's intro joke was that it started in 2013. Jen, what was the heyday of ARTIFACT?

Jennifer: Yeah, we started in 2013, and we did events in Austin and Providence. Then we did that again in 2014, Austin and Providence. Then we took five years off.


Chris F.: As you do when you have a successful conference.


Chris C.: Yeah. Well, it was cool. It was born out of -- I feel like, during those years, it was mobile that was happening and this conference was born out of that, in a way.

Jennifer: Exactly.

Chris C.: It's not like that went away, necessarily. For whatever reason, you went away. Who cares, really? But now it's back, and it's off the heels of that, right?

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris C.: What's the vibe of the reunion tour here? That's what I want to dig into.

Jennifer: Oh, well, like you said, the original one was completely born out of the fact that we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off not knowing how to deal with all of these different device sizes. That was really the heyday of responsive and how it was affecting all of our workflows and our business models and shifting from waterfall to more of a collaborative process. Everyone was just freaking out.

I wanted to get all of the people who were thinking about it and trying new things together in one place so I could personally learn. Usually, if there is stuff I need to learn, lots of other people need to learn it too. I was right, so I put out a little call on Twitter like, "Hey. I want to get a little, like, get the gang together and figure this stuff out, like a conference or some sort of forum."

Chris C.: Mm-hmm.

Jennifer: I said, "Who is in?" Literally, within three minutes, Christopher Schmitt tweeted back, "I'm in," which was awesome because he actually had experience putting on conferences with his partner, Ari Stiles. Ari and Christopher brought the know-how, I brought just this longing to learn new stuff, and we put together the first one.

The first one was really all about designing for all of the devices and really caring about all users on all devices. I think the big shift this time, well, you know, we've largely figured a lot of that stuff out and we've kind of hit our stride with it. Responsive, that's sort of the default way to design now.

We're sort of expanding that to not designing for all the devices but designing for all the people. We can talk about this more, but there is what I'm feeling, just through the conference lineups, articles that I'm reading, and Twitter feeds. Now that we've met some of these basic needs of mobile, we're expanding our view to, like, okay; let's take care of everybody regardless of ability, device, or how they identify.

Chris C.: Mm-hmm.

Jennifer: Let's really take care of everybody, so that's what we're looking at this time. Still caring about all the devices but, really, all the people who are using them.

Chris C.: That's great because we needed to spend a little time with the tech and the business of it to get that settled out. Like you said, I think that's true. I think that was maybe even true a couple of years ago.

How often do you hear a conference talk these days that's trying to sell you on responsive design or even talk about the patterns and techniques of responsive design? Maybe there should be still because maybe we're not perfect at that yet and that's still a fascinating subject and worth of discussion still, but it's not in the Zeitgeist anymore. It's just like--I don't know--of course you do that.

Jennifer: Right.

Chris C.: If you use some library, it probably has already considered those things. Any theme you might grab, people might be leveraging the crap out of responsive design and not even realize that it ever wasn't that way.

Jennifer: I feel like it's a hierarchy of needs, you know, where we had to sort of work out the technical stuff. Now that that's all settled down, we can move on to other things that are really important.

Chris C.: Yeah. Well, another thing that you said is that along for the ride came all the business stuff, too, which was almost like the bigger story with responsive design.

Jennifer: Exactly.

Chris C.: It was like that was a big deal, too. Those things have shaken out now, like a new conversation of, "Hey, let's build a website," isn't like, "Well, who is on the mobile team and who is on the Web team?" or whatever. Those kind of days are over.

The business stuff is starting to shake out as well. Now what? What's the new Zeitgeist of the Web? I think you're right that this is it. There is so much more stuff to talk about that's, in a sense, more nuanced and more interesting, almost, now that the core of it is shaken out already.

Chris F.: I don't know if you guys find this, but it feels like there's a bit of a tension right now between the experience of the developers who are building things and the designers who are designing things and then the people who ultimately have to consume it. Not always, but it feels like there are some people who are maybe obsessively passionate on my end about, like, "I don't care how hard it is for the developers. It's all about the users," and then some people who argue maybe a little bit on the other side. There's probably a really nice sweet spot in the middle.

When I look at the lineup for this year's ARTIFACT, you can see a lot of those topics, so I'm really excited. There are some awesome speakers I cannot wait to hear from this year.

Chris C.: The tension thing that you're talking about, let's dig into that for a minute. Designer versus developer, there will always be some kind of inherent tension to that.

Chris F.: Oh, yeah.

Chris C.: That's most likely the good stuff. That's the fun one.

Chris F.: I don't necessarily mean that, though.

Chris C.: No, I know that's not.

Chris F.: Yeah.

Chris C.: I know that's not what you mean. I'm just trying to set this up a little bit.

Chris F.: Oh, sure. Yeah.

Chris C.: But there are developers who are saying, "What we're doing in this industry is, we're screwing the Web up for a lot of people." Accessibility is the easy one to point to there, right?

Chris F.: Yeah.

Chris C.: There are all kinds of evidence and even recent data showing things are getting better, not worse. Performance people like to point to that too, like, things are getting worse, not better. I think I said it the wrong with way with accessibility.

Chris F.: Yeah, you flip-flopped it the first time, but that's okay.

Chris C.: Yeah. Sorry. There's plenty of evidence that we do a worse job as time goes on with stuff like that, which is a little disheartening, isn't it? Some people really that to heart, as you should, like, "Oh, man. What a bummer."

Now, if there's a new Zeitgeist, maybe it's that. Maybe it's like, "Oh, we need to reverse this trend."

Chris F.: Yeah, and I can't speak for everybody on the Web, obviously, or everybody on the schedule, but just for me, personally, I think one of the big kind of tension points you see -- accessibility is an easy one. Performance is another. Tangentially related, but not necessarily the same thing, is just overall page size and what that means for people who live in areas where data is more expensive than it is in the U.S. or Canada.

If you're talking about building things for people in developing areas, and Stephanie -- is her last name Rider? I know she was one of the past ARTIFACT conferences -- focused a lot on this.

Jennifer: Stephanie Rieger, yeah. This time, Tim Kadlec, who is a big performance expert in the biz, is going to be talking about specifically that, like how to perform inclusively. [Laughter]

Chris F.: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and so, for me, this is always the tension, especially when you start to get into a lot of the tools that make things easier for folks who work with large data sets or work on teams. They come with a cost. That cost is often incurred by the user and finding the right balance of when to use these tools, how to use these tools in a way that's respectful for the users but allows teams to function efficiently. It's probably the big kind of challenge of our industry right now.

Chris C.: You look at this lineup and you're like, oh, these just seem like the hot topics right now. This is going to be a good conference to go to because they're going to touch on lots of different stuff and will talk about all the interesting topics of the Web for the day. That's true. You're going to get that at a conference like this.

There is a theme, like it or not, that hopefully exists already out there on just the large industry of the Web that people talk about, but a good conference like this will home in on these themes, designing for everybody. Chris, you talk about JavaScript all the time and specifically about framework-less JavaScript and the fact that you can do so much without a framework. Just knowing that and digging into that world, right? You live in that world, right?

Chris F.: Yes, although, ironically, a lot of what I do as a JavaScript educator is to tell people to use less of it. [Laughter]

Chris C.: Yeah, sure. Less of it, but yeah. Okay. Great. An underlying theme might be, "Use less of it because of these reasons that we are all talking about.

Chris F.: Oh, yeah, and that's kind of the heart of it.

Chris C.: For speed reason, performance reasons, and to take care of the people on the Web. Sarah Drasner will talk about SVG, but under a theme of SVG might be that it's lighter weight and you're adding less stuff for the page. It has some crispness to it that might work for people that are visually impaired in some way that that's beneficial to them. I've heard that. I don't know if that will come up a ton in Sarah's talk, but it's there. It's all part of the current of it all.

Jennifer: Yeah. It's like an undercurrent. We're still hitting lots of code examples. We have a really good balance of design-oriented talks and code oriented talks, and also sort of more higher level conceptual talks. Yeah, that was in the back of my mind and informing everything as I was putting together the program.

Chris F.: That continues to be one of my favorite things about ARTIFACT is that it's not purely developer or design-centric and also that it's single track so that people who are drawn to one discipline or the other actually see both. I think there's so much great learning that comes out of that.

Jennifer: I think that's probably one of our other themes that emerged in the first two years of ARTIFACT was just encouraging a bridge between design and development and also, within single people, both identify as designer and developer. In fact, our audience, although I come out as a designer, I was thinking, for the original lineup, "Oh, this is a design conference for designers."

What we ended up with in the audience was 30% designers, 30% developers, 30% of people who identified as both, and then 10% product and team managers. That's been pretty consistent in our audience breakdown, but it's a really nice balance and I love that we're serving both of them pretty well and also encouraging of you and to the other side for people who might not think about design so much, to see what designers are concerned with. Yes, it's all a big balancing act, but that's what I'm really proud of and that's what I work really hard on.

Chris C.: There'd be some value there, isn't it, because you're, in a sense, force exposed to some other things that you might not be.

Jennifer: I'm not going to say forced because all of our speakers are so good at it and they're really entertaining, even if I don't do development. A lot of the really intensely code oriented talks fly right over my head, but I could listen to Sarah Drasner talk about Vue all day long because she's just so good at it. [Laughter]

Chris F.: I attended the first ARTIFACT right at the start of my Web dev career. I was an HR guy looking to make a transition. At the time, I was very much for, like, self-identity reasons, thinking that, like, "I want to become a designer."

Honestly, I ended up, my first job was as a developer and ARTIFACT kind of played a big role in that by getting exposed to a whole bunch of, like, another area of the work we do that I normally wouldn't see and realizing how exciting that could be. It completely changed the trajectory of my career. It's also where I got my first job, so that was pretty cool. I met the person who ended up hiring me, so that was awesome.

Chris C.: Did you really?

Chris F.: Yeah.

Chris C.: You met the person that hired you at ARTIFACT?

Chris F.: Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. My whole career is owed to ARTIFACT. I had been searching for two years for a job and then I just casually, at lunch, mentioned that to the person I was sitting next to. A couple of weeks later he was like, "Hey, we have an opening. Do you want to come in and interview?" That was that.

Dave: Yeah. I've been telling people, "Go to ARTIFACT and you're guaranteed to get a new job."


Chris F.: That is a promise, right?

Dave: It's what I've been promising everybody. I just was promising that.

Jennifer: [Laughter]

Dave: It's good to hear.

Jennifer: You know, one of our other speakers, Divya Sasidharan -- I don't know that I pronounced her last name correctly, so apologies, Divya. Divya, right out of college, went to ARTIFACT and got an internship with Sparkbox and now she's going to be a speaker this year as well. We have two people on the lineup who were attendees, launched their careers, and are now speaking at ARTIFACT. I love that story. I love those stories. It makes me so happy.

Chris F.: Divya heard about that. They announced that they were doing it at the conference.

Jennifer: That's right.

Chris F.: I remember that.

Jennifer: Yeah, and she stepped up and got the position.

Chris F.: Yeah, I met a lot of people that I still keep in touch with. Divya is one of them. It's just such an awesome -- like, honestly, Jennifer, you have ruined all other conferences for me.


Chris F.: ARTIFACT is just so good - so good. You know I've been begging you for, like, well, the last five years to put on another one, so I'm glad this is happening.

Jennifer: That's why I'm doing it. You got to me.

Chris C.: Fantastic. Divya, she's at Netlify now and is going to be talking about JAMstack stuff, which is near and dear to my heart--

Jennifer: That's right.

Chris C.: --because I just think it's really fun and kind of another kind of massive phenomenon of the Web. No doubt--

Chris F.: You mean SHAMstack, right?

Chris C.: Yeah. Yeah. I suppose I could get into that, but it's a little ridiculous. I just needed some clicks, Chris. I had to put something out there, you know.

Chris F.: [Laughter]

Chris C.: The idea with it is, I feel like it might exist partially because of a pushback on the performance problems of the Web. JAMstack being this -- you know, what Chris was joking about is that I personally think that the main benefit, when you think about JAMstack, is the static hosting part of it. That just seems to be glossed over or come along for the ride because it's getting a lot easier to do thanks to companies like Netlify, GitHub pages, and stuff like that where it's like part of our workflow pretty naturally. But like that's kind of the main point of it is the static hosting part of it.

Because that's taken for granted or you're using that if you're building in this way, there's a whole bunch of performance that comes with that, which is what we're talking about here, taking care of users, caring about the performance of sites in a way. I know performance is just one of the strings we're pulling on here, but it's a big one.

[Banjo music]

Chris C.: This episode of ShopTalk Show was brought to you by Jetpack, you know the WordPress plugin that does all kinds of stuff for your self-hosted WordPress site. I use it on every single self-hosted WordPress site I have because I just love the feature set. One of the feature-set things that's pretty cool is, you just flip it on.

There are a bunch of these, like, light switch features in Jetpack where you're just like, "Do you want this?" Yes. Switch it on. Now you have it. It requires no configuration, no fancy stuff. You just get some improvement from it.

One of them is that they have an image CND called Photon. If you have no image solution other than just hosting your own images on your own website, you'll almost certainly benefit from this. You just flip it on and then your images are hosted on their CDN called Photon, which is already good because CND hosted images are just an improvement, of course, but it helps optimize them. Because your site already does responsive images anyway, you have that.

I've talked about this before. They just improved this feature. They call it Site Accelerator now that does your images as well, but it's starting to host more and more files on their CND for you. This new one is that anything that ships with WordPress Core, any file that they can count on that is hosted in that way that your site uses for some reason, when you flip this feature on, it is also CDN hosted now. That's pretty cool.

I'm going to run some tests pretty soon, I think, on a self-hosted WordPress site with none of this stuff turned on and then flip it on and see what kind of speed improvements are there because they're definitely there, especially if you test in different locations around the world farther away from your home-based server and all that. The new Site Accelerator feature in Jetpack 6.7, I've just been like, "Hey, cool. Hey, thanks for the help." [Laughter]

[Banjo music]

Chris Enns: This episode is sponsored by Datadog, a scalable, full stack monitoring platform. Datadog synthetic API tests help you detect and debug user-facing issues in critical endpoints and applications. You can build and deploy self-maintaining browser tests to simulate user journeys from global locations. If a test fails, you get more context by inspecting a waterfall of visualization or pivoting to related sources of data for troubleshooting.

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[Banjo music]

Chris C.: Cool. Basically, it helped Chris out a whole lot. That's not terribly uncommon. Have you heard other success stories like that in your days? Anybody? Dave?

Dave: Oh, well, I don't know that I've seen a conference have the five-year perspective. I think there are long-running, we'll call them, shows, like An Event Apart or something like that. I find it very novel and cool that people who went have since began and matured enough in their career that they are now speaking. I think that's really cool. It also makes me feel very, very old.


Dave: Thank you, still, for inviting….

Chris C.: You know what I've never heard is anybody that went to any conference that comes back and be like, "Well, that was a waste of time, money, effort, and brain power."

Dave: I know one person.


Dave: But I don't want to call him out here on the show. No, I think I always get stuff from conferences. I'm excited.

Chris F.: Yeah, the other thing, and I can say this because I'm not the one running it, but the environment at ARTIFACT is very different from a lot of other conferences I've been to. It's small enough that it feels intimate in a way that a lot of conferences don't. The single track helps here, too, but I can remember the last time I was there. I'd be kind of like tweeting about talks as I was seeing them and following the hashtag backchannel.

You'd see faces in the backchannel on Twitter and then you'll look around the room and you'd see those same people sitting right near you. You talk to them at lunch. It was possible to engage with your fellow conference attendees in a way that was much more comfortable and easy for me.

I talk a lot, but I'm very much introverted. I find public interaction really exhausting. ARTIFACT just had such an easy, welcoming vibe. For someone like me, it was a conference where I was able to connect with people in a way that I generally don't at larger conferences. Yeah, it's just a really kind of good vibe.

Jennifer: Thanks. Yeah. I like that about ARTIFACT too. Our small size is one of the things that people seem to like the most. We have 200 people, maximum, and a single track. Also, the speakers have always been very present.

Chris F.: Yes.

Jennifer: Yeah, and we try to go above and beyond in terms of social events and just setting a warm and welcoming vibe, and it seems to be working, so we're going to be keeping that up, for sure, in 2019.

Chris C.: I like that it's introvert-friendly, in a way. I think introverts all have their own ways of dealing with things. I certainly do too. I don't know. It's something I've written about, so I don't feel like I keep it a secret or anything, nor that I need to.

I do remember--it was years ago now--kind of finally figuring out what that meant. I feel like it's always been a hot topic. A few years ago, it was extra hot. Let's talk about the difference between introversion and extroversion.

I remember when I first found out about it, just veraciously reading about it because it was such a big deal for my brain to have a good word for it that I understood and resonated with me that made my past life make sense. I just remember in college always wanting to have fun and I was blessed with having good friends that wanted to go out and do stuff all the time. It was cool, but I could never quite hang. I always felt like, "What is wrong with me?" I always felt broken in some way.

It's not like I didn't have energy. It felt different than that. Only too much later realize that it was just a pretty strong tendency towards introversion and that's fine. Half the world is like that, and all that kind of thing.

I bring this all up to mention that if you already know that you identify that way and look at a conference and just be like, "That's a bit much for me," it's not that intense. I feel like, if anything, it's very comfortable for people that are very introverted. If you want to, you can just shut up, listen to the conference, and then go back to your hotel room if you want to. I'd encourage you to meet people and stuff and take advantage of the time of you being there, but it's not required.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Chris F.: One of the big things you always here is, "Oh, the most important part of a conference is the stuff that happens between talks and the conversations that happen." That is really valuable too but, at ARTIFACT, the talks are generally really that good. You get so much out of them.

For me, I know introversion comes in many flavors. For me, I'm very extroverted in social media because it provides this slight wall of separation or funnel that makes it a little bit easier for me to kind of just be myself. Yeah, there's just something about ARTIFACT that lends itself really nicely to being able to have those conversations and then, if you want to, transition those into in-person kind of conversations. If that's kind of your thing, yeah, ARTIFACT is a really comfortable vibe.

Jennifer, Ari, and Christopher really go out of their way to make the whole thing super, super welcoming. The local foodstuff that you guys have done in the past, just the whole thing.

Chris C.: It's nice to bring them up. They also have been on the show before, I'm sure you'll recall. They're kind of famous. There are probably very few people that have organized more industry conferences than they have, if any.

Jennifer: Definitely. They really know what they're doing. [Laughter] Thank goodness.

Chris F.: Chris, was it you that mentioned or, Jennifer, maybe it was you, just kind of the accessibility of the speakers there. For me, when I was early career and going to this, it was so amazing to be able to see people who I had been looking up to and learning from for several years talk in person and then just kind of be there in the audience. You could chat with them, and it wasn't like their big, weird thing.

At some of the larger conferences, there tends to be kind of this wall of isolation just driven by the overall size of the audience because of the way the venues are normally structured and just kind of the whole vibe of the thing. Chris, you and I first met in person at ARTIFACT. Dave, you and I first met in….

Chris C.: Is that right? Really?

Chris F.: So many of the other people I look up to. Yeah. Yeah, it was a long time ago, but I remember sitting next to you. I think you had given your SVG talk there, unless I'm thinking of a different conference. Dave, I remember it was right after your More Pixels More Problem talk.

Chris C.: Oh, what a classic Dave talk.

Chris F.: Six years ago, and you were the responsive image guy.

Chris C.: Yes.

Chris F.: You know?

Chris C.: Oh, what was that one? Was it where Dave was trying to convince us that we should serve 1.5x images? Was that the--?

Dave: I still feel that. I will still die on that hill.

Chris F.: Yes! Yeah, the perfect balance, or maybe it was 1.7, but I adhered to that rule for a very long time. Brad Frost is a staple at these things, Jen Simmons, just so many awesome people talking about awesome things, and then just being there to talk about stuff.

One of the things, Jennifer, you do really, really well is you mix some of the bigger names in the industry with people folks haven't heard of yet. It's just a really cool way to get exposed to some ideas and some speakers that you don't know about yet. It's a really great environment.

Jennifer: That's another metric I try to balance is familiar and up and coming. That's another thing I like to have in balance.

Hey, can I mention something exciting?

Dave: Oh, well, this is maybe not the podcast… No, go ahead. Okay, go ahead. We'll break our rule.

Jennifer: So, we have a special code for ShopTalk listeners for $100 off ARTIFACT.

Chris C.: Oh, nice. I have that in my notes and I wasn't sure if you got to it or not.

Jennifer: Yeah, SHOPTALK100, and you get $100 off. I think that's pretty super swell.

Dave: Yeah, that's awesome. Chris and I, we always [say], "Oh, wouldn't it be great to throw a ShopTalk conference? It would be really fun." But in some ways, I also really like co-opting other people's conferences.


Chris F.: All of the fun; none of the work. Yeah.

Dave: Pretending that other people's conferences are the ShopTalk conference. This one might qualify in that realm.

Chris C.: Just because I'm on the site right now. Dan and the gang made the site, right? I think you published a little story about it, but it's a pretty beautiful website design. I think the first time I went to it, I was like, "Wow! Where did they find a stock photo that's that good that's relevant to ARTIFACT?" Only to be like, "Wow! I should have stopped and thought about it. Of course, that's a custom photo that had a very complicated photo shoot that went along with it." Doesn't it?

Jennifer: Right. Yeah. Alicia -- I believe her last name is Kalon. I don't know her last name. I'm sorry, Alicia.

She does amazing paper artwork. Dan knew her and got her on board. She came up with this absolutely gorgeous, elaborate paper art piece that's made up of all sorts of symbols of conferences and Austin, Texas. There are cowboy hats and boots, but there is also lanyards and laptops. They're all constructed in a way that, if you spin around, then our logo comes into view and it looks really cool. Dan did a great job.

Chris C.: Yeah. Yeah. It's lovely. You've got to go to just to see the vibe of the thing.

Dave, if you're not going to give More Pixels, More Problems again, which of course would disappoint me greatly, what are you going to talk about?

Dave: Oh, my talk is modestly titled The Greatest Redesign Ever Told.


Dave: I'll be honest with just us four here. I've maybe oversold it a little bit but, no.


Dave: No, I think the point I'm coming from is, I've been a part of quite a few big redesigns and just overhauls in the last few years, but particularly one I've been working on. It was kind of like an archaeological dig, this last one, because it was very much like I'm looking at a site done by a very prominent, very well-known company that was done about five years ago or so. No, maybe more than that, but kind of in this heyday, 2012 to 2014 era. It has all the best practices from that day rolled into it.

One of the things I've been thinking about is, oh, there are a lot of "best practices" from a while ago that we can just not do anymore just because the Web platform has evolved, especially if you set that meter between IE11 and not caring about IE11. If you don't care about IE11, wow, you've got a lot of stuff.

Let's pretend you care about IE11. Even still, there's lots of stuff you can just not even use. I'm going to highlight some of that and then talk about where just my experiences are leading me, so yeah.

Jennifer: It was so perfect that you came up with that talk because one of my thoughts in doing a conference again after five years is like, well, how far have we come? What have we learned? What isn't a big deal anymore? Then you just stride in with this perfect talk that pulls that entire concept together, so I'm really excited about that one.

Chris C.: You get to show actual screenshots or do you have to blur everything out?

Dave: Oh, I don't know. I haven't quite cleared it with legal, so we'll see.


Dave: I need to maybe think about that. No, I think I can even -- if the screenshots don't come through, I can still talk about things more abstractly because it's really just about, like, there is all this stuff. Even picture fill kind of you don't need it if you don't want it. Lots of browsers have it, so stuff like that, even if you start thinking in that way.

That kind of goes to probably stuff Chris is going to talk about. There's a lot. That's like, if you don't have to ship a Polyfill, wow, you just made your site lighter, faster, and better. You didn't need all of it, so that's kind of -- pretty wild.

Chris C.: Ignoring Polyfills for fun and pleasure.

Chris F.: Any talk that includes the word "yesteryear" in its description has to be great.


Dave: I'm not sure. Did I write that?

Chris F.: I don't know if you wrote it, but it's on the site.

Dave: Well, it's on there. It made it. Yeah, I think there's -- I don't know that I am the harbinger of best practices or anything like that, but I have seen there are just things we kind of don't need any more that you may find in your code base.

Chris C.: You also get plus one for harbinger. Good work. But even if you don't get to show screenshots or whatever, it'll still be highly foundational on an actual thing that actually happened, which I think is nice. Talks are almost always stronger when they leverage that.

I find, just as general advice to the world, advice that comes from one dude, so a grain of salt and all that, but this is relevant to writing as well. I feel like there's a tendency to write abstractly because somehow people think it's stronger. If you just say, "This is a thing that you could or should do, and I'm just going to talk technologically and totally abstractly about it," there's a tendency for that.

I know it to be true because I edit about ten guest articles a week. People submit articles and I read them. The tendency is to start abstract, stay abstract, and just talk about technology abstractly.

Almost always, I think it's stronger when you tell a story. It doesn't mean narratively you have to tell a story or tell me about how the leaves crunched beneath your feet on this fall day when you discovered responsive images or whatever, but it should be like, "And then I used it on this actual website and this is what happens," or, "This is the success I achieved," or whatever. When there's any real-world tint to it at all, it's just automatically stronger.

Chris F.: It anchors into something that you can imagine it being applied in. Absolutely.

[Banjo music]

Chris Enns: We've talked a lot about Netlify Build before, the Git workflow for Web development where you can build, deploy, and manage modern Web projects super easily with Netlify. They just launched something new they're calling Netlify Dev where you can run their entire platform right on your laptop or your desktop, I suppose, too. You can preview it all: site generation functions and edge logic. Imagine the productivity boost of being able to locally test your site generator, API integrations, serverless functions, and edge rules all in a single development server. That's Netlify Dev, a powerful way to build and test modern Web apps on your local machine.

With one simple command, you can install Netlify Dev to use on any project. That'll spawn a fully local environment of Netlify Dev that automatically detects and runs your site generator, makes environment variables available, performs edge logic and routing rules, and compiles and runs cloud functions. The extra bonus is that you can even stream that live, so Netlify Dev takes hot reloading to a whole new level, allowing you to actually stream your dev server to a live URL, which is great for collaborative development. You can now share your work as you work and get instant feedback. I could be working on my site. I could have it open in a browser, open on my phone, see the changes live as they're happening, but you could also have it wherever you are in the world open on your browser or on your phone. Whenever I update something, the site will update, and you'd be able to see it.

Netlify Dev automatically detects common tools like Gatsby, Hugo, Jekyll, React Static, 11ty, and more, providing a zero config setup for your local dev server.

Netlify has faithfully replicated their powerful edge logic engine in WebAssembly so you can locally test all the same rules before deploying them to their global infrastructure. You can write cloud functions in modern JavaScript adding needed dependencies. Netlify will compile your functions as AWS Lambdas and deploy them as full API endpoints.

Local testing works too. It all comes with Netlify Live, a hosted service that continually runs your dev command just like you do locally, watching for changes. The result is an instant preview you can share with your entire team with live updates as code and content changes.

Like I said at the beginning, Netlify Dev installs with a Netlify CLI. Create new sites, set up continuous deployment, and push new deploys right from the command line. Netlify Dev is just the beginning. Take your local developments to Netlify Build, power collaboration through Netlify's Git-based workflow with deploy previews, branch testing, and more.

Check out Netlify Dev at Our thanks to Netlify for sponsoring this episode of ShopTalk Show.

[Banjo music]

Chris F.: As someone who has never been to Austin or even Texas, but has heard about the legendary Alamo … I am really excited about this.

Jennifer: One of the reasons for the move is that one of the complaints we got with the last one was that there was no lobby or there was nowhere to mill around, so everyone was kind of stuck in their seat all day. This time, we're going to have a whole big lounge that's available to go between. We have got some good breaks built in. There will be room to move around, talk with people, and just get up and stretch, so that's good.

Dave: There's also karaoke upstairs.

Jennifer: However, we will still have milkshakes, which were a huge hit in our past Austin events, so those milkshakes will be back.

Chris C.: I'm sure it'll be a slightly different vibe than seeing a movie there, but it's the first place I learned that you just raise this little card. You write, "I'm ready for my cookies now," employee … in the middle of a movie, and they just subtly notice that you have had this request, like they were reading your mind, almost. Then they just deliver you warm cookies. But it's not just warm cookies. It's a whole menu; anything you want. It's incredible. I don't know if that'll be happening at the conference.

Jennifer: Yeah. No, the food is so good there.

Chris F.: This really harks on, for me, though, ARTIFACT is so good at attention to detail. This is the kind of thing, like what you are talking about right now, Jennifer and Chris. Not that that's part of the conference, but the cards and everything.

I still vividly remember the Providence one at the Biltmore. There were these little purple pixy lights on the podium up at the front of the stage that would ebb and flow in and out of color. It was just this really magical kind of effects against all the other curtains and colors in the room. Just the detail is so good, and it's probably because of your background as a designer and, obviously, Chris and Ari have done this for a long time.

Jennifer: Well, you know what? Christopher gets all the credit for the ambiance at that conference.

Chris F.: Oh, it was so good.

Jennifer: He brought in those fairy lights.

Chris C.: Did he really?

Jennifer: He lit up the place. No, that's all Christopher.

Chris C.: It's just surprising to me in some way.

Jennifer: It just made it so magical.

Chris C.: I've known Christopher forever, but I don't think of him as the ambiance guy, [laughter] but he is.

Jennifer: Yeah, he made it so cool looking in there.

Chris C.: I think of him as the Chewbacca costume guy.

Chris F.: It's just kind of weird that, six years later, that is one of the biggest things that sticks out for me. I still vividly remember those lights on the podium and being super excited that they came back in year two.

Chris C.: That's great.

Jennifer: Maybe they'll come back for our nice reunion event. Yeah, it's funny, the little things that become us that we can't give up. Those little fairy lights might be one of them.

Chris C.: Pink is the motif I see.

Jennifer: Yup. Yup.

Chris C.: What are you going to do, Chris?

Chris F.: Yeah, so I am talking about how a lot of our modern best practices are, in my mind, actually hurting the Web. A little bit about how we got here, why people use these, when they're appropriate, and some thoughts on some newer best practices that might make the Web a little bit faster, simpler, and just generally better for everybody, both developers and consumers of our stuff alike.

Chris C.: Mm-hmm. What do you got? Do you got a taste for us?

Chris F.: Yeah. Yeah, so some of the big ones, I talk about things like frameworks and maybe our very slight obsession with them and how that could potentially be a bad thing. Even stuff like, I think we take for granted now this whole toolchain around building websites that involves grabbing a framework, spinning up, pulling in Webpack, making sure you shard your code because you don't want things to get too bloated.

The concern for performance is there, but the real gist of it is, we break a whole bunch of stuff the browser does. We reimplement it with JavaScript. We realize that we've loaded all this JavaScript into our site and it's slow, so we throw even more JavaScript at it to make it faster.

That feels a little bit like madness to me, so I have some ideas. I talk a little bit about why we do these things because I think the intent is not malicious. Then I offer up some suggestions on how we might potentially do things a little bit simpler and more performant. JAMstack and static sites are definitely part of that.

A big part of this is, in my mind, just using more of what the browser gives you out of the box. This kind of butts up against what Dave is hopefully going to talk about with, you might need a Polyfill for that anymore. Part of this is also, you might not need libraries or tools for a lot of the stuff you used to. The browser gives you a lot out of the box that's really, really great.

Chris C.: To me, it seems like reevaluating some core assumptions. I get intimidated by conversations like this all the time where it's these people debating something about -- maybe it's even about performance. It seems like such a big, complicated conversation. They're saying, before the conversation even starts, it seems like there's an assumption of a big chunk of tools, just a whole toolbox of crap. Then they're like, "Well, we can do X, Y, and Z to make that better."

It's like, "Your right, I think," but maybe the conversation could have been like, "Maybe we could throw away that whole bucket."

Chris F.: One of the conversations that I don't have enough about this stuff but that I probably need to is that it's really easy for me to talk about this stuff in the context of a solo developer, but people get really intimidated when you start to talk about working with this stuff in teams. I just recently worked on a pretty big project that is team-based and involves kind of a lot of moving parts. This is normally where a team would reach for a framework and the team I was working with did actually want to do that.

I whipped together a demo of Vanilla JS, kind of showing off, "Hey, look. You can do the same thing potentially easier and with more flexibility using some of the native stuff JavaScript gives you." They ended up going with it.

One of the questions I got asked the last time I gave this talk was, you know, "You talk about all this stuff, but do any companies actually do this or is this all just kind of like ivory tower stuff?" I will be coming to this conference with examples of actual companies that do things the way I'm advocating. Some of them are bigger and more well known, too, so that'll be great.

Jennifer: That sounds really good.

Chris F.: Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer: I can't wait for that.

Chris F.: I like to learn from the questions that people ask. Yeah, there are a lot of well-known companies that are actually doing things in a little bit more simplified manner. We actually had someone from GitHub recently over on this other podcast I'm on, JavaScript Jabber, and he told me one of their kind of internal mottos is, "Build Websites Like It's 2005," or 2007. I forget the year, but it was however many X years back, 2013, something like that, because they just went through a whole redesign where they pulled a lot of the dependencies out of their site. It's mostly just native browser components and JavaScript and not much else at this point.

Chris C.: really?!

Chris F.: Yeah.

Chris C.: Nice.

Chris F.: Yeah.

Chris C.: I liked it.

Chris F.: A lot of server-side rendered code.

Chris C.: Yeah.

Chris F.: Apparently, you can still render HTML on the server. I didn't realize this was a thing you could do.

Chris C.: [Snickers]

Chris F.: Yeah, I don't want to make this all about my talk, though. There's a lot of really great -- I'm really excited about -- there's a talk on -- is it lean accessibility? I think it's the name of it and I am really excited for that talk.

Jennifer: Yeah, that's Elle Waters. She's a real expert in the accessibility world, but what I like about it is she really has just like good, practical advice on how to make it not overly complicated, how to keep it lean, and how to work it into your current workflow so that you don't feel like you have to change everything you're doing to make things accessible. Yeah, that's a really good talk.

Chris C.: That talk, hopefully Elle will continue to do it forever, but that theme needs to just be around forever. I need that message, I feel like, every week. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I'm like, "This is just impossible." I feel like I've tried to care about this forever. I'm not stopping caring. That hasn't happened, but how many times do I need to screw this up? Why does it have to be so hard?

Chris F.: It feels more complicated than it needs to be sometimes. Dave, you're actually the person who originally made me aware of how bad at accessibility I am. You're also the person who made me aware of how bad at performance I was four or five years ago when you started talking about, I think, WordPress performance. You've really shaped the arch of my career a lot, too.

One of the best things I think you've ever made, Dave, is the accessibility nutrition cards because it's like a quick little nugget of like, "Oh, here's a complicated thing I want to do. Here's the stuff I need to make sure is in there." The A11Y project is awesome, too. It's an amazing resource.

For me, having little bit sized things you can do that I can quickly reference and then get on with it is so, so helpful. Yeah, so I'm really excited for this talk. It's going to be good stuff.

Dave: I think the accessibility project is five years old as well, but accessibility is still hard for me. I think I get trapped up in the nuance.

Chris F.: Mm-hmm. The whole project was born out of your own struggles with this stuff, right? It was, I need to get better at this.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris F.: Let's work on this together as a community. I thought that was a really nice approach.

Dave: Yeah. No, I think that's the best way to do it and I think I still, again, struggle with finding the simple answer to my somewhat complex question. Maybe that's silly to imagine that, but there's just so much nuance and stuff like that.

This month, I found out, oh, like date pickers, right? They're terrible. Everyone knows that. You can make a date picker keyboard accessible. You turn on a screen reader and the screen reader then sucks up all the arrow keys because that's how you drive the screen reader. Now you can't drive the date picker.

Chris C.: By making it keyboard accessible, you made it not screen reader accessible.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris C.: Awesome.

Dave: Now it doesn't work on the screen reader. It's just this total conundrum. I get stuck in these, like, "Oh, what do you even do?" I think there is still a lot of education that needs to happen. I don't think we have all the answers. I don't think people--

What tough, too, is I think people, even experts, or people who had been in the industry ten years or whatever, they're coming around. They're like, "Oh, what's accessibility?" [Laughter] "Oh, this stuff is hard and, oh, now I'm limited." I think some of those things are still true, but you really have to, like--

We development is weird in that you find out the rules of the game kind of like five years into your career. Then you're like, "Oh, yeah! This has to work for people. Oh, shoot. I've done a terrible job." [Laughter]

Chris F.: One of the hardest things for me about accessibility continues to be how context-specific it is. Something that is perfectly accessible in one context is a complete disaster in another. Yeah, so I think Elle's talk is going to be really, really good.

Another one I'm really excited about is Jason Grigsby's on Designing Progressive Web Apps. It's been on my must learn list since I last saw him talk about this several years ago at, I think it was, An Event Apart. A lot has changed since then. He's been doing this for a while, so I think that's going to be a really good one.

Chris C.: He's got this, like, forever message that I feel like is pretty strong in that PWA is a great banner to fly, but I don't know what he's going to talk about exactly this time. I'm sure it's new and interesting in a way, but the message I always take away from Jason is that every step along the way to a PWA is worth doing. Even if you never get there because something prevents you from getting there for some reason -- it happens -- like any step you do along the way is beneficial also, which is pretty rad.

I was thinking, with this accessibility stuff, this may be overly optimistic and controversial at some point but, years ago, like many years ago, I used to have a talk on SaaS. I feel like everybody at some point has to give one talk about SaaS.

Dave: SAS, all caps, or SaaS with just a capital S?

Chris C.: [Laughter] At the time, I probably spelled it with all caps just because that was the vibe.

Dave: Yes, the right way.

Chris C.: Yeah.


Chris C.: Ugh. Let's start controversial right away.

Dave: I know. Just blowing up the comment stream here.

Chris C.: I made this, like my intro was because I, at the time, also felt compelled to have my talks have some existential nature or feel like I applied fancy college thinking to it or something. I applied this starting at the invention of computers. [Laughter] At what point does it feel like we stepped up the abstraction ladder in the history of computing? It went from, I don't even remember exactly, but just punch cards and stuff with computers to the assembly language to whatever -- all the languages on top of it to ending up at C++ and stuff.

Then even making a possibly weird logical jump to the fact that browsers are written, generally, in C++. Then if Web code starts at that new abstraction level, then at what point are we abstracting the languages that come in browsers and stuff? I came up with some average number of years between abstraction jumps and a computer. This was a major logical leap, but it wasn't crucial to the talk anyway.

The idea was that SaaS feels like -- it was starting to feel ubiquitous at the time and it felt like we stepped up the abstraction level from CSS. Now--I don't know--there are plenty of people moving back down to CSS so, like I said, this isn't exactly sound logic. But there are moments in computing when we move up the abstraction ladder and it's just going to keep happening in computers, for sure. You know?

My hope is that, at some point, there can be some abstraction jump that doesn't solve accessibility because probably nothing will, but it will solve some of the fiddly crap that we deal with now. That date picker thing, I'd like to think we live to see the day where a date picker UX is kind of handled, we just use it, and it's not something you have to think about every tiny, minute detail. Sure, there'll be conversations about where and how we implement it or whatever.

That's where the controversial part comes in. I feel like sometimes React components and framework components like React can do a really good job of this. Then the net output of that is, people just reach for it, grab it, and actually get an improvement in accessibility instead of a harm.

Now, it's controversial because I think, if you point at a wide swath of React-based websites, people would argue that it's been a net loss for accessibility, not a net gain.

Then here's me being like, "React is great for accessibility," but I think the potential is great, maybe not the execution just yet.

Chris F.: Yeah, I think it points more to the need for more native elements that do stuff and do stuff accessibly. That's a great idea, but I would also love if there were just stuff baked into the browser that handled some of these common use cases for you.

I was talking to one of my accessibility specialist friends about the native date picker: input type equals date. Apparently, even that has some accessibility issues with it. Yeah, we have a long ways to go.

Chris C.: That's probably the right answer, though, is to have the browser deal with it the best it can.

Jennifer: It's funny. Some of the simplest things take decades and decades to develop on the Web. [Laughter]

Chris C.: I think all of us came up in at least somewhat of a time when browsers moved a little bit slower than they do now. If there is any significant difference in what it was like when I started and now is that every single week there's an announcement of some browsers doing something and just shipping it. It's out. Get used to it. You're like, "Holy crap!"

Jennifer: No, that's true. It definitely has accelerated. It used to be you'd wait, like, six years for the next full browser release before you could use rounded corners or whatever.

Chris C.: It changes how people talk about it. Yeah, or even rounded corners. Border-radius was laughable at one point. They're like, "Whatever, you future people. Call me back in 50 years when I can use it," or whatever. Most commentary about--

Dave: I'll just keep using my table with four PNGs. [Laughter]

Chris C.: Yeah. That held on for a long time. It was much after border-radius and it's still pretty prevalent in Web design. When a new thing is talked about, there's an awful lot of, like, "Yeah, but when can I use it?" It's really starting to fall away, finally.

I hope people never totally forget it because the spirit of that is correct and strong, which is, "I don't want to hear about new fancy things when I can't use them because I care about my users. If I ship this new fancy thing that they can't use, then I'm thinking about myself, not my users."

There's a fundamental spirit of goodness to that. But it's interesting to watch this industry who, when they see new, we're starting to get like, "Oh, we could just use it," you know, or the time between hearing about it and being able to use it is so short that it's becoming not something people worry about all that much. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe, but then we lose Edge. Then it's like, "Well, we don't have to worry about that anymore." Eventually, it'll just be like we're just going to get the Chrome Weekly, and it'll just tell us what we can do that week. [Laughter]

Chris F.: I still miss spacer gifs, but you know.


Dave: That's … dystopia, Chris. There you go. You're writing my kind of science fiction.

I was going to say it's weird. The browser features and the prioritization and all that, it's like we're getting Web VR and I think we talked about on a recent show, there's now an AR perception toolkit in Chrome now, so you can scan things. As long as you have a JSON file of things, you can scan stuff and then it'll show up. The phone will recognize it. It's kind of weird, but it exists, and so we have this stuff in the browser but we don't have a tabs control.

Jennifer: [Laughter]

Dave: You know what I mean? It's so weird to me and backwards. Then a lot of people Swift UI. I don't know if you all saw that at the new Apple thing. It came out.

Chris C.: Could you explain it to me? I know you're a little outside of that world, but is it like--?

Dave: Yeah, I don't, but it's basically like you -- yeah, bootstrap for iOS, if you will, but that's always existed in the human interface guidelines. The way you program it is more kind of React-like. You just type list.fill or whatever with items, you know, and then you have items from this JSON or whatever.

Chris C.: Yeah. Yeah.

Dave: I'm describing it terribly, but that's kind of like….

Chris C.: Is it going to be a … for app quality?

Dave: --how it works, but it's very -- yeah, I think so, or you can build very basic, non-custom apps very quickly and almost with the Swift Playground app that they ship on iPads to kids for free.

Chris C.: Mm-hmm.

Dave: You know what I mean? They lowered the bar to building a Swift app immensely, like huge. Now I guess I'm still waiting for those primitives, like the stuff that's even in the Apple human interface guideline. I did see a proposal for the toggle switch recently, which is kind of cool. I'm still waiting for -- wouldn't it be great to have a tabs control, an accordion, a list, an infinite scrolling list, or something like that? Wouldn't that be cool if we had those and they were--?

Chris F.: We technically have accordions, but everything else on the list, yeah. Even then, the accordion thing is not fully….

Dave: Yeah. You can do a list of detail elements and I think that would be really good, but it would also maybe help -- I mean there's something about an accordion. You close the previous one. There's something like when you get into an accordion, it should announce that you're in an accordion, and you should use the arrow keys or whatever. If you tab, you go out of the accordion.

Maybe we have to give up on that idea that that's how accordions work. Again, I'm probably preaching to the choir in this small room. It just shocks me that we don't have these tabs primitives or even this toggle switch primitive or something like that.

Yet, we have an AR perception toolkit. It's just interesting, and I don't know how features get prioritized other than people yell about it. [Laughter] That's the only way I know how things -- you complain on Twitter and things get built. That's all I know, so I'd be curious. I don't know. I want to have those conversations on how these things can get built because it'd be so awesome.

I guess a router on the client side, wouldn't that be cool if that just existed if that was a natural thing? Yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean? Wouldn't that be kind of neat? We kind of have it with push state. That's sort of how those things work, but formalized kind of routes and stuff like that. I don't know. I'm done - soapbox.


Chris C.: That's what this is for. That's what this is for. I need more of that, Dave. Tell us what you want, what you really, really want.

Dave: I want a tabs. I want--

Chris C.: What else? Tabs. You want--

Dave: (Indiscernible)

Chris C.: Data style accordion? [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. Tabs. Tabs vertical. Tabs horizontal. Tabs -- there you go.

Chris C.: It would be fun to somehow get a massive amount of people to vote on the most impactful features. Almost to apply the wisdom of crowds to it, thing, right? If enough people weigh these things, then maybe you get to the right answer of the weight of the cow or whatever.

There are some people that passionately would be like, "No." If you make the case for a date picker native of the browser that actually is tremendously styleable, accessible, and all that stuff, that seems like an obvious win for the Web. You could hear somebody passionately argue for just the same thing, but there's like, "No, what we need is actually lower level primitives because then those things can be built on top of the thing."

Chris F.: Yeah, but that's what we have with the dialog element.

Chris C.: Yeah?

Chris F.: It's accessibility….

Chris C.: it's kind of like a primitive for--

Chris F.: And it's an accessibility disaster. It won't work unless you write your own JavaScript for it. Even then, it doesn't properly bring focus, trap focus. There are just all sorts of issues with that. Low level APIs are great for certain things like Ajax requests but, for elements, actual UI elements, I want works out of the box, nice and styleable, kind of prefab things.

Chris C.: Yeah, what's the success story with what? Are there other inputs that, like -- how is the color input? Is that good or not so much?

Chris F.: I'm trying to think of a good analog here. I actually really like the details in summary element. I agree with you that it probably could use a little bit more accordion-esque features like some way to say, "If this one opens up, close all the others," in some sort of set.

Chris C.: In like a declarative way?

Chris F.: Yeah, like maybe through attributes on the element itself, like some way to link them together as part of a group or something like that, but just generally, as an element, I think it's really, really cool. When it isn't supported, you end up with a heading and a list of stuff. It's just really kind of like a nice thing. I really like that.

Chris C.: Yeah. I'm on board with your thinking there. Give me just a baseline niceness and enough thinking behind it that it was meant that, like, we know people are going to mess with this.

Chris F.: Yeah, and I can style it to look a little bit different. I can configure how the heading looks. I can change the icon that shows up before it and change the look and feel of the content underneath it and wrap a fancy box around it if I want to. There are all sorts of cool things you can do with it, but it just works out of the box. It's great.

Chris C.: Well, I'm glad we solved that problem.

Chris F.: Done. Check that off the list. Next.


Chris F.: Tabs … tab.

Chris C.: All right. Well, you should probably all come and join us. Let's hear Jen give us the code again to save $100 off this conference where there'll be lots more conversations like this.

Jennifer: That's right. It's SHOPTALK100. We should mention that the conference happens September 30th to October 1st this year, and there's a day of workshops. Sarah Drasner will be giving a workshop on design for developers and Brad Frost and Dan Mall will be giving their workshop on sort of side-by-side designer/developer coworking. Not coworking, but developing together, designing and developing together in a cool workflow, so that's a really good workshop. Those are happening the next day on October 2nd, so everyone should come because it's going to be really fun.

Chris C.: I agree. Let's all go to Austin. Yay!

Jennifer: [Laughter]

Dave: Party in Austin. Well, okay. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. We're excited about ARTIFACT. I hope the listeners, you guys, are all thinking about it because--

Chris C.: Yeah, and we did this with plenty of time too. It's like June, and the thing isn't until September/October.

Jennifer: Right, so there's time to talk to your boss. Exactly. Oh, and I should also mention; we do have diversity scholarships this year. If you're somebody who is an underrepresented group or just need a leg up, there's a page for scholarships. If you go down in the bottom footer, there's a link to our scholarship page. We're also looking for companies or individuals to donate to the diversity scholarship fund to help people along, too.

Dave: Okay. Well, great. Thank you. For people who aren't following you and giving you money, Jen, I guess ARTIFACT Conf is kind of the way. Follow you on Twitter. How do they follow you on Twitter, Jen?

Jennifer: I'm @jenville on Twitter. There's also @artifactconf on Twitter, and we have a Facebook page too, so lots of places to find us, and a mailing list which you can sign up for on the website.

Dave: What was it? The fifth edition of your book or the seventh?

Jennifer: The fifth just came out. Yep.

Dave: Fifth. That's right, fifth edition of your Web design book. Chris, how can people follow you and give you money?

Chris F.: Yeah. Yeah, the easiest way is I have a really tough to spell last name, and I stupidly made that my Twitter handle. [Laughter] Going to is probably the easiest way to find all my things and periodically hear me rant about how we're overcomplicating the Web.

Dave: Well, and thank you, dear listener, for downloading this in your podcatcher of choice. Be sure to star, heart, favorite it up. That's how people find out about the show. Follow us on Twitter, @ShopTalkShow, for tons of tweets a month.

If you hate your job, head over to and get a brand new one because people want to hire people like you.

Chris, do you have anything else you'd like to say?

Chris C.: Yeah, a couple posted just today. Ah,