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233 Rapidfire 69

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Show Description

It's a RAPIDFire episode where we answer your questions like: applications for jobs with abstract questions, Webpack vs Gulp, marking up e-mail addresses, alpha #hex confusion, and we debate CSS preprocessors as only ShopTalk Show can.

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Time Jumps


  • Alex Zaworski

    I get irrationally annoyed at `mailto:` links that don’t use the address as the text. They’re especially problematic on windows machines that don’t have a mail client installed because they just end up doing literally nothing.

    • A. McCormick

      I agree with this. I have to handle support tickets from clients all the time asking why their email links aren’t working. I ask them if they have a mail client installed (of course 85% of people these days don’t even know what that is). Then I have to go through the whole spiel about how mailto links worked and why we tried to tell them that a contact form would be much more useful for their site and have that send to whoever the recipient needs to be. If you are insistent that your email needs to be displayed on your site, then at least let me link that to a contact form that will send the form submission to your email.

  • A. McCormick

    In regards to the tests some developers are presented with (thank goodness I never had to go through any of those). I do think they can be crazy sometimes, but I do think there’s something to say for making sure the person being hired knows the technology they are dealing with. Sometimes I feel like people self teach themselves, become really great at using a few frameworks and then expect to go get a $90k job. At some point you do need to know more about how your stack actually works. I think we could be much better developers (myself included who is self taught) if we did understand how code is complied, how it is ran, using the computer’s hardware more,etc. Even Harvard’s CS50x is free online and should be required for anyone without a computer science background. If more of us understood lower level computer knowledge, the I bet the winds wouldn’t change so much with what framework is better. More people would see the issues with a framework and be hesitant to jump on board, rather than wait until some blowup happens.
    There was a great Web Ahead episode ( where Jen discusses the architecture of the web. As web developers (front and back end) it would do us, our clients, and the web in general well to at least understand the ins and outs of how the web works. Understand why it is made the way it is. How can we use it better.
    In the end, I don’t think that we should expect to become really good and just using a layer on top of a technology, expect to make $95k/year, and never really understand how that technology is built. Not saying that we all need CS degrees, but we do need more knowledge than just how to use one layer of the technology. Even Eric Meyer was fellow History major in college.

  • Florian

    I disagree with you a little bit on Webpack.

    I have cheated my ways around that tool for quite a while because I was scared off by the sheer complexity of the configuration. But when I couldn’t avoid it any longer (building a big React project almost demands to use Webpack) I found a great tutorial and got into it pretty quickly. Well, “quickly” would be an exaggeration, but it took me merely a day to get it working and (more importantly) to get a hang of many of the deeper concepts.

    What I actually love about Webpack is the consistency it provides. Gulp and Grunt combined with Browserify always kind of pissed me off in terms of (for example): “Oh, can I get this precompiler to work with a watcher easily? Doesn’t seem so, meh.”. Webpack just takes a global “watch” flag and does exactly what you’d expect it to do.
    It was the first time that I perceived a monolithic approach as really, really powerful.

    Long story short: If you got used to it, Webpack is an amazing tool.
    If you want to get into Webpack from zero knowledge I’d really recommend the comprehensive guide by Juho Vepsäläinen which helped me a whole lot. (

Job Mentions

🔗 Senior JS Engineer at Stormpath

The role is pretty awesome. You get to drive development on all our JS projects, including our Node.js SDK to our Angular and React integrations - with the goal of building great tools for the community to help them build better software, faster. Moreover, you'd get to engage directly with the community - teaching best practices, presenting at user groups, writing popular blog content, and contributing back to open source projects.