Developer News

Styling Based on Scroll Position

Css Tricks - Thu, 03/07/2019 - 5:26am

Rik Schennink documents a system for being able to write CSS selectors that style a page when it has scrolled to a certain point. If you're like me, you're already on the lookout for document.addEventListener('scroll' ... and being terrified about performance. Rik gets to that right away by both debouncing the function as well as marking the event as passive.

The end result is a data-scroll attribute on the <html> element that can be used in the CSS. Meaning if you're scrolled to 640px down the page, you have <html data-scroll="640"> and could write a selector like:

html:not([data-scroll='0']) { body { padding-top: 3em; } header { position: fixed; } }

See the Pen
Writing Dumb JS &#x1f9df;‍♂️ and Smart CSS &#x1f469;‍&#x1f52c;
by Rik Schennink (@rikschennink)
on CodePen.

Unfortunately, we don't have greater than (>) less than (<) selectors in CSS for things like numbered attributes, so the CSS styling potential is fairly limited here. You might ultimately need to update the JavaScript function such that it applies other classes or data attributes based on your math. But you'll already be set up for good performance here.

"Apply styles when the user has scrolled away from the top" is a legit use case. It makes me think of a once function (like we have in jQuery) where any scroll event would only be triggered once and then not again. They scrolled! So, by definition, they aren't at the top anymore! But that doesn't deal with when they scroll back to the top.

I find it generally more useful to use IntersectionObserver for styling things based on scroll position. With it, you can do things like, "has this element been scrolled into view or beyond," which is generically useful and can be used for scrolled-away-from-top stuff too.

Here's an example that adds or removes a class if a user has scrolled past a hidden pixel positioned at 500px down the page.

See the Pen
Fixed Header with IntersectionObserver
by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier)
on CodePen.

That's performant as well, avoiding any scroll event handlers at all.

And speaking of IntersectionObserver, check out "Trust is Good, Observation is Better—Intersection Observer v2".

The post Styling Based on Scroll Position appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

8 Little Videos About the Firefox Shape Path Editor

Css Tricks - Thu, 03/07/2019 - 5:18am

It sometimes takes a quick 35 seconds for a concept to really sink in. Mikael Ainalem delivers that here, in the case that you haven't quite grokked the concepts behind path-based CSS properties like clip-path and shape-outside.

Here are two of my favorites. The first demonstrates animating text into view using a polygon as a clip.

The second shows how the editor can help morph one shape into another.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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Level up your JavaScript error monitoring

Css Tricks - Thu, 03/07/2019 - 5:17am

(This is a sponsored post.)

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Using React Loadable for Code Splitting by Components and Routes

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 2:07pm

In a bid to have web applications serve needs for different types of users, it’s likely that more code is required than it would be for one type of user so the app can handle and adapt to different scenarios and use cases, which lead to new features and functionalities. When this happens, it’s reasonable to expect the performance of an app to dwindle as the codebase grows.

Code splitting is a technique where an application only loads the code it needs at the moment, and nothing more. For example, when a user navigates to a homepage, there is probably no need to load the code that powers a backend dashboard. With code splitting, we can ensure that the code for the homepage is the only code that loads, and that the cruft stays out for more optimal loading.

Code splitting is possible in a React application using React Loadable. It provides a higher-order component that can be set up to dynamically import specific components at specific times.

Component splitting

There are situations when we might want to conditionally render a component based on a user event, say when a user logs in to an account. A common way of handling this is to make use of state — the component gets rendered depending on the logged in state of the app. We call this component splitting.

Let’s see how that will look in code.

See the Pen
React-Loadable
by Kingsley Silas Chijioke (@kinsomicrote)
on CodePen.

As a basic example, say we want to conditionally render a component that contains an <h2> heading with “Hello.” Like this:

const Hello = () => { return ( <React.Fragment> <h2>Hello</h2> </React.Fragment> ) }

We can have an openHello state in the App component with an initial value of false. Then we can have a button used to toggle the state, either display the component or hide it. We’ll throw that into a handleHello method, which looks like this:

class App extends React.Component { state = { openHello: false } handleHello = () => { this.setState({ openHello: !this.state.openHello }) } render() { return ( <div className="App"> <button onClick={this.handleHello}> Toggle Component </button> { this.state.openHello ? <Hello /> : null } </div> ); } }

Take a quick peek in DevTools and take note the Network tab:

Now, let’s refactor to make use of LoadableHello. Instead of importing the component straight up, we will do the import using Loadable. We’ll start by installing the react-loadable package:

## yarn, npm or however you roll yarn add react-loadable

Now that’s been added to our project, we need to import it into the app:

import Loadable from 'react-loadable';

We’ll use Loadable to create a “loading” component which will look like this:

const LoadableHello = Loadable({ loader: () => import('./Hello'), loading() { return <div>Loading...</div> } })

We pass a function as a value to loader which returns the Hello component we created earlier, and we make use of import() to dynamically import it. The fallback UI we want to render before the component is imported is returned by loading(). In this example, we are returning a div element, though we can also put a component in there instead if we want.

Now, instead of inputting the Hello component directly in the App component, we’ll put LoadableHello to the task so that the conditional statement will look like this:

{ this.state.openHello ? <LoadableHello /> : null }

Check this out — now our Hello component loads into the DOM only when the state is toggled by the button:

And that’s component splitting: the ability to load one component to load another asynchronously!

Route-based splitting

Alright, so we saw how Loadable can be used to load components via other components. Another way to go about it is us ing route-based splitting. The difference here is that components are loaded according to the current route.

So, say a user is on the homepage of an app and clicks onto a Hello view with a route of /hello. The components that belong on that route would be the only ones that load. It’s a fairly common way of handling splitting in many apps and generally works well, especially in less complex applications.

Here’s a basic example of defined routes in an app. In this case, we have two routes: (1) Home (/) and (2) Hello (/hello).

class App extends Component { render() { return ( <div className="App"> <BrowserRouter> <div> <Link to="/">Home</Link> <Link to="/hello">Hello</Link> <Switch> <Route exact path="/" component={Home} /> <Route path="/hello" component={Hello} /> </Switch> </div> </BrowserRouter> </div> ); } }

As it stands, all components will render when a use switches paths, even though we want to render the one Hello component based on that path. Sure, it’s not a huge deal if we’re talking a few components, but it certainly could be as more components are added and the application grows in size.

Using Loadable, we can import only the component we want by creating a loadable component for each:

const LoadableHello = Loadable({ loader: () => import('./Hello'), loading() { return <div>Loading...</div> } }) const LoadableHome = Loadable({ loader: () => import('./Home'), loading() { return <div>Loading...</div> } }) class App extends Component { render() { return ( <div className="App"> <BrowserRouter> <div> <Link to="/">Home</Link> <Link to="/hello">Hello</Link> <Switch> <Route exact path="/" component={LoadableHome} /> <Route path="/hello" component={LoadableHello} /> </Switch> </div> </BrowserRouter> </div> ); } }

Now, we serve the right code at the right time. Thanks, Loadable!

What about errors and delays?

If the imported component will load fast, there is no need to flash a “loading” component. Thankfully, Loadable has the ability to delay the loading component from showing. This is helpful to prevent it from displaying too early where it feels silly and instead show it after a notable period of time has passed where we would expect to have seen it loaded.

To do that, our sample Loadable component will look like this;

const LoadableHello = Loadable({ loader: () => import('./Hello'), loading: Loader, delay: 300 })

Here, we are passing the Hello component as a value to loading, which is imported via loader. By default, delay is set to 200ms, but we’ve set ours a little later to 300ms.

Now let’s add a condition to the Loader component that tells it to display the loader only after the 300ms delay we set has passed:

const Loader = (props) => { if (props.pastDelay) { return <h2>Loading...</h2> } else { return null } }

So the Loader component will only show if the Hello component does not show after 300ms.

react-loader also gives us an error prop which we can use to return errors that are encountered. And, because it is a prop, we can let it spit out whatever we want.

const Loader = (props) => { if (props.error) { return <div>Oh no, something went wrong!</div>; } else if (props.delay) { return <h2>Loading...</h2> } else { return null; } }

Note that we’re actually combining the delay and error handling together! If there’s an error off the bat, we’ll display some messaging. If there’s no error, but 300ms have passed, then we’ll show a loader. Otherwise, load up the Hello component, please!

That’s a wrap

Isn’t it great that we have more freedom and flexibility in how we load and display code these days? Code splitting — either by component or by route — is the sort of thing React was designed to do. React allows us to write modular components that contain isolated code and we can serve them whenever and wherever we want and allow them to interact with the DOM and other components. Very cool!

Hopefully this gives you a good feel for code splitting as a concept. As you get your hands dirty and start using it, it’s worth checking out more in-depth posts to get a deeper understanding of the concept.

The post Using React Loadable for Code Splitting by Components and Routes appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Native Video on the Web

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 11:33am

TIL about the HLS video format:

HLS stands for HTTP Live Streaming. It’s an adaptive bitrate streaming protocol developed by Apple. One of those sentences to casually drop at any party. Äh. Back on track: HLS allows you to specify a playlist with multiple video sources in different resolutions. Based on available bandwidth these video sources can be switched and allow adaptive playback.

This is an interesting journey where the engineering team behind Kitchen Stories wanted to switch away from the Vimeo player (160 kB), but still use Vimeo as a video host because they provide direct video links with a Pro plan. Instead, they are using the native <video> element, a library for handling HLS, and a wrapper element to give them a little bonus UX.

This video stuff is hard to keep up with! There is another new format called AV1 that is apparently a big deal as YouTube and Netflix are both embracing it. Andrey Sitnik wrote about it here:

Even though AV1 codec is still considered experimental, you can already leverage its high-quality, low-bitrate features for a sizable chunk for your web audience (users with current versions of Chrome and Firefox). Of course, you would not want to leave users for other browsers hanging, but the attributes for <video> and <source> tags make implementing this logic easy, and in pure HTML, you don’t need to go at length to detect user agents with JavaScript.

That doesn't even mention HLS, but I suppose that's because HSL is a streaming protocol, which still needs to stream in some sort of format.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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CSS Algorithms

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 9:13am

I wouldn't say the term "CSS algorithm" has widespread usage yet, but I think Lara Schenck might be onto something. She defines it as:

a well-defined declaration or set of declarations that produces a specific styling output

So a CSS algorithm isn't really a component where there is some parent element and whatever it needs inside, but a CSS algorithm could involve components. A CSS algorithm isn't just some tricky key/value pair or calculated output — but it could certainly involve those things.

The way I understand it is that they are little mini systems. In a recent post, she describes a situation involving essentially two fixed header bars and needing to deal with them in different situations. In this example, the page can be in different states (e.g. a logged-in state has a position: fixed; bar), and that affects not only the header but the content area as well. Dealing with all that together is a CSS algorithm. It's probably the way we all work in CSS already, but now have a term to describe it. This particular example involves some CSS custom properties, a state-based class, two selectors, and a media query. Classic front-end developer stuff.

Lara is better at explaining what she means though. You should read her initial blog post, main blog post, collection of examples, and talk on the subject.

She'll be at PPK's CSS Day in June (hey, it's on our conferences list!), and the idea has clearly stirred up some thoughts from him.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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Extracting Text from Content Using HTML Slot, HTML Template and Shadow DOM

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 6:04am

Chapter names in books, quotes from a speech, keywords in an article, stats on a report — these are all types of content that could be helpful to isolate and turn into a high-level summary of what's important.

For example, have you seen the way Business Insider provides an article's key points before getting into the content?

That’s the sort of thing we're going to do, but try to extract the high points directly from the article using HTML Slot, HTML Template and Shadow DOM.

These three titular specifications are typically used as part of Web Components — fully functioning custom element modules meant to be reused in webpages.

Now, what we aim to do, i.e. text extraction, doesn’t need custom elements, but it can make use of those three technologies.

There is a more rudimentary approach to do this. For example, we could extract text and show the extracted text on a page with some basic script without utilizing slot and template. So why use them if we can go with something more familiar?

The reason is that using these technologies permits us a preset markup code (also optionally, style or script) for our extracted text in HTML. We’ll see that as we proceed with this article.

Now, as a very watered-down definition of the technologies we’ll be using, I’d say:

  • A template is a set of markup that can be reused in a page.
  • A slot is a placeholder spot for a designated element from the page.
  • A shadow DOM is a DOM tree that doesn’t really exist on the page till we add it using script.

We’ll see them in a little more depth once we get into coding. For now, what we’re going to make is an article that follows with a list of key points from the text. And, you probably guessed it, those key points are extracted from the article text and compiled into the key points section.

See the Pen
Text Extraction with HTML Slot and HTML Template
by Preethi Sam (@rpsthecoder)
on CodePen.

The key points are displayed as a list with a design in between the points. So, let’s first create a template for that list and designate a place for the list to go.

<article><!-- Article content --></article> <!-- Section where the extracted keypoints will be displayed --> <section id='keyPointsSection'> <h2>Key Points:</h2> <ul><!-- Extracted key points will go in here --></ul> </section> <!-- Template for the key points list --> <template id='keyPointsTemplate'> <li><slot name='keyPoints'></slot></li> <li style="text-align: center;">&#x2919;&mdash;&#x291a;</li> </template>

What we’ve got is a semantic <section> with a <ul> where the list of key points will go. Then we have a <template> for the list items that has two <li> elements: one with a <slot> placeholder for the key points from the article and another with a centered design.

The layout is arbitrary. What’s important is placing a <slot> where the extracted key points will go. Whatever’s inside the <template> will not be rendered on the page until we add it to the page using script.

Further, the markup inside <template> can be styled using inline styles, or CSS enclosed by <style>:

<template id='keyPointsTemplate'> <li><slot name='keyPoints'></slot></li> <li style="text-align: center;">&#x2919;&mdash;&#x291a;</li> <style> li{/* Some style */} </style> </template>

The fun part! Let’s pick the key points from the article. Notice the value of the name attribute for the <slot> inside the <template> (keyPoints) because we’ll need that.

<article> <h1>Bears</h1> <p>Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. <span><span slot='keyPoints'>They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans</span></span>. Although only eight species of bears <!-- more content --> and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. <span><span slot='keyPoints'>Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia</span></span>.<!-- more content --></p> <p>While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, <!-- more content -->. Bears use shelters, such as caves and logs, as their dens; <span><span slot='keyPoints'>Most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of hibernation</span></span>, up to 100 days.</p> <!-- More paragraphs --> </article>

The key points are wrapped in a <span> carrying a slot attribute value ("keyPoints") matching the name of the <slot> placeholder inside the <template>.

Notice, too, that I’ve added another outer <span> wrapping the key points.

The reason is that slot names are usually unique and are not repeated, because one <slot> matches one element using one slot name. If there’re more than one element with the same slot name, the <slot> placeholder will be replaced by all those elements consecutively, ending in the last element being the final content at the placeholder.

So, if we matched that one single <slot> inside the <template> against all of the <span> elements with the same slot attribute value (our key points) in a paragraph or the whole article, we’d end up with only the last key point present in the paragraph or the article in place of the <slot>.

That’s not what we need. We need to show all the key points. So, we’re wrapping the key points with an outer <span> to match each of those individual key points separately with the <slot>. This is much more obvious by looking at the script, so let’s do that.

const keyPointsTemplate = document.querySelector('#keyPointsTemplate').content; const keyPointsSection = document.querySelector('#keyPointsSection > ul'); /* Loop through elements with 'slot' attribute */ document.querySelectorAll('[slot]').forEach((slot)=>{ let span = slot.parentNode.cloneNode(true); span.attachShadow({ mode: 'closed' }).appendChild(keyPointsTemplate.cloneNode(true)); keyPointsSection.appendChild(span); });

First, we loop through every <span> with a slot attribute and get a copy of its parent (the outer <span>). Note that we could also loop through the outer <span> directly if we’d like, by giving them a common class value.

The outer <span> copy is then attached with a shadow tree (span.attachShadow) made up of a clone of the template’s content (keyPointsTemplate.cloneNode(true)).

This "attachment" causes the <slot> inside the template’s list item in the shadow tree to absorb the inner <span> carrying its matching slot name, i.e. our key point.

The slotted key point is then added to the key points section at the end of the page (keyPointsSection.appendChild(span)).

This happens with all the key points in the course of the loop.

That’s really about it. We’ve snagged all of the key points in the article, made copies of them, then dropped the copies into the list template so that all of the key points are grouped together providing a nice little CliffsNotes-like summary of the article.

Here's that demo once again:

See the Pen
Text Extraction with HTML Slot and HTML Template
by Preethi Sam (@rpsthecoder)
on CodePen.

What do you think of this technique? Is it something that would be useful in long-form content, like blog posts, news articles, or even Wikipedia entries? What other use cases can you think of?

The post Extracting Text from Content Using HTML Slot, HTML Template and Shadow DOM appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

The Client/Server Rendering Spectrum

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 5:52am

I've definitely been guilty of thinking about rendering on the web as a two-horse race. There is Server-Side Rendering (SSR, like this WordPress site is doing) and Client-Side Rendering (CSR, like a typical React app). Both are full of advantages and disadvantages. But, of course, the conversation is more nuanced. Just because an app is SSR doesn't mean it doesn't do dynamic JavaScript-powered things. And just because an app is CSR doesn't mean it can't leverage any SSR at all.

It's a spectrum! Jason Miller and Addy Osmani paint that picture nicely in Rendering on the Web.

My favorite part of the article is the infographic table they post at the end of it. Unfortunately, it's a PNG. So I took a few minutes and <table>-ized it, in case that's useful to anyone.

See the Pen
The Client/Server Rendering Spectrum
by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier)
on CodePen.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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Refactoring Tunnels

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 5:51am

We’ve been writing a lot about refactoring CSS lately, from how to take a slow and methodical approach to getting some quick wins. As a result, I’ve been reading a ton about this topic and somehow stumbled upon this post by Harry Roberts about refactoring and how to mitigate the potential risks that come with it:

Refactoring can be scary. On a sufficiently large or legacy application, there can be so much fundamentally wrong with the codebase that many refactoring tasks will run very deep throughout the whole project. This puts a lot of pressure on developers, especially considering that this is their chance to "get it right this time". This can feel debilitating: "Where do I start?" "How long is this going to take?" "How will I know if I’m doing the right thing?"

Harry then comes up with this metaphor of a refactoring tunnel where it’s really easy to find yourself stuck in the middle of a refactor and without any way out of it. He argues that we should focus on small, manageable pieces instead of trying to tackle everything at once:

Resist the temptation to refactor anything that runs right the way throughout the project. Instead, identify smaller and more manageable tasks: tasks that have a much smaller surface area, and therefore a much shorter Refactoring Tunnel.

These tasks can still aim toward a larger and more total goal but can be realised in much safer and shorter timeframes. Want to move all of your classes from BEM to BEM(IT)? Sure, but maybe just implement it on the nav first.

This way feels considerably slower, for sure, but there’s so much less risk involved.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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The Bottleneck of the Web

Css Tricks - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 5:37am

Steve Souders, "JavaScript Dominates Browser CPU":

Ten years ago the network was the main bottleneck. Today, the main bottleneck is JavaScript. The amount of JavaScript on pages is growing rapidly (nearly 5x in the last 7 years). In order to keep pages rendering and feeling fast, we need to focus on JavaScript CPU time to reduce blocking the browser main thread.

Alex Russell, describing a prototype of "Never-Slow Mode" in Chrome:

... blocks large scripts, sets budgets for certain resource types (script, font, css, images), turns off document.write(), clobbers sync XHR, enables client-hints pervasively, and buffers resources without Content-Length set.

Craig Hockenberry, posting an idea to the WebKit bug tracker:

Without limits, there is no incentive for a JavaScript developer to keep their codebase small and dependencies minimal. It's easy to add another framework, and that framework adds another framework, and the next thing you know you're loading tens of megabytes of data just to display a couple hundred kilobytes of content. ...

The situation I'm envisioning is that a site can show me any advertising they want as long as they keep the overall size under a fixed amount, say one megabyte per page. If they work hard to make their site efficient, I'm happy to provide my eyeballs.

It's easy to point a finger at frameworks and third-party scripts for large amounts of JavaScript. If you're interested in hearing more about the size of frameworks, you might enjoy me and Dave discussing it with Jason Miller.

And speaking of third-parties, Patrick Hulce created Third Party Web: "This document is a summary of which third-party scripts are most responsible for excessive JavaScript execution on the web today."

Sometimes name-and-shame is an effective tactic to spark change.

Addy Osmani writes about an ESLint rule that prohibits particular packages, of which you could use to prevent usage of known-to-be-huge packages. So if someone tries to load the entirety of lodash or moment.js, it can be stopped at the linting level.

Tim Kadlec ties the threads together very well in "Limiting JavaScript?" If your gut reaction on this is that JavaScript is being unfairly targeted as a villain, Tim acknowledges that:

One common worry I saw voiced was “if JavaScript, why not other resources too?”. It’s true; JavaScript does get picked on a lot though it’s not without reason. Byte for byte, JavaScript is the most significant detriment to performance on the web, so it does make sense to put some focus on reducing the amount we use.

However, the point is valid. JavaScript may be the biggest culprit more often than not, but it’s not the only one.

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Why I Write CSS in JavaScript

Css Tricks - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 5:36am

I'm never going to tell you that writing your CSS in CSS (or some syntactic preprocessor) is a bad idea. I think you can be perfectly productive and performant without any tooling at all. But, I also think writing CSS in JavaScript is a good idea for component-based styles in codebases that build all their components with JavaScript anyway.

In this article, Max Stoiber focuses on why to write CSS in JavaScript rather than how to do it. There is one reason that resonates strongly with me, and that's confidence. This is what styling confidence means to me.

  • Anyone on a team can work on styling a component without any fear of unintended side effects.
  • There is no pressure to come up with perfect names that will work now and forever.
  • There is no worry about the styles needing to be extremely re-usable or that they play friendly with anything else. These styles will only be used when needed and not any other time.
  • There is an obvious standard to where styles are placed in the codebase.
  • CSS in JavaScript isn't the only answer to those things, but as Max connects to other posts on the topic, it can lead to situations where good choices happen naturally.

    There are some reasons why I don't buy into it. Performance is one of them, like choosing CSS-in-JS is some automatic performance win. Part of the problem (and I'm guilty of doing it right here) is that CSS-in-JS is a wide scope of solutions. I've generally found there is no big performance wins in CSS-in-JS (more likely the opposite), but that's irrelevant if we're talking about something like CSS modules with the styles extracted and linked up like any other CSS.

    Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

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    CSS Triangles, Multiple Ways

    Css Tricks - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 2:35pm

    I like Adam Laki's Quick Tip: CSS Triangles because it covers that ubiquitous fact about front-end techniques: there are always many ways to do the same thing. In this case, drawing a triangle can be done:

    • with border and a collapsed element
    • with clip-path: polygon()
    • with transform: rotate() and overflow: hidden
    • with glyphs like ?

    I'd say that the way I've typically done triangles the most over the years is with the border trick, but I think my favorite way now is using clip-path. Code like this is fairly clear, understandable, and maintainable to me: clip-path: polygon(50% 0, 0 100%, 100% 100%); Brain: Middle top! Bottom right! Bottom left! Triangle!

    My 2nd Place method goes to an option that didn't make Adam's list: inline <svg>! This kind of thing is nearly just as brain-friendly: <polygon points="0,0 100,0 50,100"/>.

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    An Event Apart: Putting Design in Design Systems

    LukeW - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 2:00pm

    In his Putting the 'Design' in Design Systems presentation at An Event Apart in Seattle, Dan Mall talked about the benefits of design systems for designers and how ensure they can be realized. Here's my notes from his talk:

    • Most content in design systems are not for designers but for developers. This helps to scale design efforts when there's a lot more developers than designers (typical in many companies).
    • But where does design and designers fit within a design system? Are they no longer required?
    • Design can be part of strategy and big picture thinking but most designers are good at making designs and iterating them, not working across the company on "big D" design.
    • When it comes time to make a design system, most people start with "let's make some components!". This is problematic because its missing "for ____". What's the purpose of our design system? Who is it for?
    • Design systems need a focus. One company's design system should not work for another company. A good "onlyness" statement can only apply to one company, it would not work for other companies.
    • Design system principles can guide your work. Some are universal like: accessible, simple. Others should be very specific so you can focus on what matters for you.
    • An audit of common components in design systems shows the coverage varies between companies; the components can focus on their core value.
    • Instead of starting with making design components, think about what components you actually need. Then make some pilot screens as proofs of concept for a design system. Will you be able to make the right kinds of things?
    • Don't start at the abstract level, start at the extract level. Take elements from within pilot designs and look for common components to pull out for reuse. Don't try to make it cover all use cases yet. As you work through a few pilots, expand components to cover additional use cases you uncover.
    • The most exciting design systems are boring. About 80% of the components you're making can be covered by your design system. They allow you to remake product experiences quickly. The remaining 20% is what designers still need to do: custom design work.
    • A good design system takes care of the stuff you shouldn't reinvent and allows you to spend time on where it matters.
    • Creative people are driven by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A good design system will enable all of these.
    • The most common benefits of design systems are greater efficiency and consistency. But another important one is relief from having to do mundane design work. (editor's note: like maintaining & updating a design system!)
    • The real value of a design system is to help us get back to our real work.

    An Event Apart: Move Fast and Don’t Break Things

    LukeW - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 2:00pm

    In his Move Fast and Don’t Break Things presentation at An Event Apart in Seattle, Scott Jehl shared a number of resilient patterns and tools to help us establish and maintain performant access to our Web sites. Here's my notes from his talk:

    • For successful Web design, people used to suggest we move fast and break things. Today we've become more responsible but things can still break for our users if we're not mindful.
    • So many factors that can compromise the delivery of our Web sites are out of our control. We need to be aware of these in order to build resilience into our designs.
    • We used to use browser detection and feature detection to ensure our sites were supported across Web browsers. Progressive enhancement's importance ballooned as a wide range of new devices for accessing the Web, touch interactions, and more browsers became popular.
    • Trying to make a Web site look and work the same across devices was broken, we realized this was the wrong goal and we need to adapt to varying screens, networks, input types, and more.
    • Some practices stay good. Progressive enhancement and accessibility prepared us for many of these changes but it is also a performance enhancement on its own.
    • Figuring out how to make Web sites faster used to be hard but the tools we have for measuring performance have been improving (like PageSpeedTest and WebPageTest).
    Making Web Sites Fast
    • First meaningful content: how soon does a page appear to be useful to a user. Progressive enhancement is about starting with meaningful HTML and then layering additional enhancements on top of it. When browsers render HTML, they look for dependencies in the file (CSS and Javascript) before displaying anything.
    • CSS and Javascript are most often the render-blockers on sites, not images & videos. Decide if they need to load at high priority and if not, load async or defer. If you need them to run right away, consider server push (HTTP2) to send files that you know the browser needs making them ready to render right away.
    • If your server does not support push, you can inline your critical CSS and/or Javascript. Inlining however is bad for caching as it does not get reused by other pages. To get around this you can use the Cache API to inline content and cache it as a file for reuse.
    • Critical CSS tools can look over a series of files and identify the common CSS you need across a number of different pages for initial rendering. If you inline your critical CSS, you can preload the rest of your CSS (not great browser support today).
    • Inlining and push are best for first time visits, for return visits they can be wasteful. We can use cookies for checking for return visits or make use of Service Worker.
    • Time to interactive: time it takes a site to become interactive for the user. We should be aiming for interactivity in under 5seconds on a median mobile phone on 3G. Lower end phones can take a long time to process Javascript after it downloads.
    • More weight does not mean more wait. You can prioritize when things load to make pages render much faster.
    Keeping Web Sites Fast
    • Making a web site fast is easier than keeping it fast. Over time, Web sites will add a number of third party services with unknown performance consequences.
    • We can use a number of tools, like Lighthouse, to track performance unfriendly dependencies. Speed Curves will let you set performance budgets and see when things are over. This allows people to ask questions about the costs of what we're adding to sites.
    • Varying content and personalization can increase optimizations but they are costly from a performance perspective since they introduce a second meaningful content render. Moving these features to the server-side can help a lot.
    • Cloudflare has a solution that allows you to manipulate pages on their server before it comes down to browser. These server-side service workers allow you to adjust pages off the client and thereby avoid delays.
    • Homepages and landing pages are often filled with big images and videos. They're difficult to keep performant because the change all the time and are often managed outside of a central CMS.
    • For really image heavy pages, we can use srcset attributes to define multiple sizes of images. Writing this markup can be tricky if written by hand. Little helper apps can allow people to write good code.
    • Soon we'll have a native lazy load feature in browsers for images and iframes. Chrome has it in testing now and can send aspect ratios before actual images.

    Learning to Learn

    Css Tricks - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 5:19am

    There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether or not you need a degree to be in tech (spoiler: you don’t). But please don’t take this to mean you don’t need any kind of education to be in tech, because by not getting a degree, you’re opting to replace the imposed learning structure of an academy with learning on your own.

    Academic background or not, technical education doesn’t stop once you get a job. On the contrary: nothing in tech stays in one place, and the single most valuable skill you can possess to remain employable over time is learning how to learn.

    Identifying holes

    You’re all ready to go, ready to challenge yourself, learn what you can, and grow. But where do you start? Sometimes people rely on a more formal education simply because someone is there, guiding your path.

    When you’re learning on your own, this part can sometimes be tough — you don’t know what you don’t know. If you’re starting from scratch, learning web development or computer science, here are some resources that might help:

    There are also times when you know what you need to learn, but you have to level up. In this case, I have some strategies on how to organize yourself in the next section.

    Possible strategies

    You absolutely do not to be as formal in your approach to learning as I am. I used to be a college professor, and so I still organize my own learning as though I’m teaching. I even still use a paper planner designed for teachers. I’ll show you how I do it in case it’s helpful. A few years back I taught myself ES2015/ES6, so I'll use that as an example. Structure like this is good for some and not good for others, so do what works for you.

    If there’s an API I’m trying to learn, I’ll go to the main documentation page (if there is one), and list each of the things I’m trying to learn. Then I’ll divide the sections into what I think are manageable chunks, and spread the sections over my schedule, usually shooting for about a half hour a day. I do this with the understanding that some days I won’t find the time, and others, I’ll dig in for longer. Typically I aim for at least 2.5 hours of learning a week, because that pace seems reasonable to me.

    The list of ES2015 features I used when I was learning

    Then I take all of those features, write them out, and estimate how much time I'll need for each one. Here’s an example where I wrote out all the things I needed to learn. The yellow numbers on the side are my time estimates in half hour units.

    You can also do this with course materials from an online workshop, writing down the sections and breaking them into chunks to go over every day. I really enjoy Frontend Masters for long form learning like this, as well as Egghead and courses by Wes Bos.

    At this point, I'll break those pieces down and schedule them. The teacher planner allows me to divide my days into the different themes I'm focusing on and put a little in each day. You can see in the first screenshot that I was learning a bit, mentoring a bit, and writing and building what I was learning each day. This kind of input/output really helped me solidify the concepts as I was digging into ES2015/ES6.

    I try not to schedule too far out because I'm bound to drop something here and there, or I might dive further one day than I was planning to. I keep the schedules flexible enough to adjust for these inevitable inconsistencies. This also allows me to not get too demotivated. If I feel I'm off-track, the next week is another opportunity to get back on.

    Again, you don't have to be as formal as I am, and there are so many ways to be effective. Find what works for you. I would make a small suggestion that you're taking a look at the table of contents for those API docs now and again, mostly because then you're aware of any gaps in your knowledge that you're not filling.

    Setting aside time

    Setting aside time can be challenging with all of our busy schedules, but it's critical. If you look at your week, how much time do you have? Learning won’t happen unless you purposefully devote time for it. It needn’t be a ton of time. If you’re a more habit-driven kind of person, you can set up a daily schedule. If you’re the kind of person who learns better head down and you have an existing job, then you might have to give up some Sunday afternoons, or possibly some time after work now and again. Most of us need a bit of both. ☺️

    If you’re socially motivated, you might want to find a study buddy. Is there someone at work who has similar goals? Maybe going to coding meetups can help keep you on track. Emma Wedekind also builds Coding Coach, where you can have guided mentorship sessions.

    Practice

    At the end of the day, it's going to come down to practice. If you read about Cognitive Load Theory (I highly recommend the book Cognitive Load Theory if you want to learn about this), you'll see that the old "practice makes perfect" adage has some bite to it.

    Information Processing Model (how we learn) - Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin's cognitive load theory, 1968.

    I also really like this quote from Zed Shaw’s Learn Python the Hard Way.

    Do Not Copy-Paste
    You must type each of these exercises in, manually. If you copy and paste, you might as well just not even do them. The point of these exercises is to train your hands, your brain, and your mind in how to read, write, and see code. If you copy-paste, you are cheating yourself out of the effectiveness of the lessons.

    I also love this quote from Art and Fear, and bring it up frequently as it's been a guiding light for me:

    The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot —albeit a perfect one —to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes —the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

    Learning modalities

    Truly there are many different learning modalities, and combining them can even be helpful. Sometimes I will sit and practice refactoring code from other languages into JavaScript (this is a pretty old project now), or reverse engineer things to learn. I like reverse engineering because people tend to problem-solve in different ways. This allows me to peek inside other people’s heads and see how they approach things. I even have a private collection on CodePen where I collect other people's work that I think can benefit me and my learning.

    Personally, I think there’s nothing more motivating than building. You can actually learn a metric ton just by building things.

    Storytime: Many years ago, I was at a conference with a few people who worked on the SVG spec, including the inventor of SVG himself. I was completely unknown at the time, but had been churning out tons of SVG animations that were wildly unpopular for a few years. We got on the subject of a certain behavior that was in the spec. I mentioned, that yes, it should work that way but unfortunately Firefox had x behavior and Chrome had y.

    No one in the group knew this, and it was the first time I realized that all those silly playful things I was building were actually educating me; that I knew practical, real-life edge cases even though I hadn’t sought them out in a formal manner. I was so excited! I didn’t plan to become an SVG expert — it snuck up on me as I enjoyed myself, building things to relieve stress and play.

    This is good news! You can learn so much by creating things you think are fun. I like to learn for a bit, and then practice what I learned by making something, just to make sure I solidify the concepts.

    You may find you learn the most by teaching. If you do have a person you can mentor, it can actually benefit you, too. Writing technical posts or helping with documentation can help you learn something concretely as well.

    Cognitive Load Theory

    The book I cited earlier, Cognitive Load Theory, has this great section breaking down learning modalities and what they require. A central theme to the book is discussing moving information from a source into our own minds, and that there are certain capabilities and limitations affected by design characteristics of the learning structure and our own cognition.

    • Intrinsic load is created by the difficulty of the materials.
    • Extraneous load is created by the design characteristics of the type of education and materials.
    • Germane load is the amount of invested mental effort.

    The chart below explores effects of different ways that we learn, and what the primary cognitive load would be of the three listed above.

    From Cognitive Load Theory

    This kind of meta-understanding of what it takes to learn might be helpful to you in that you might find you have less cognitive load in one learning modality versus another. You may also find that you can cut yourself some slack when one topic with more germane load takes you longer to understand than another that's mostly memorization.

    Know that learning styles do affect our ability to comprehend things, and reducing barriers for yourself is key. Do you keep studying at a cafe where there's a lot of noise and distraction? Consider that your lack of focus might have more to do with the setting than your ability to process the materials.

    One more note on this: learning is hard, and it's humbling. It's exciting too, but please don't feel alone if you struggle, or if you need to repeat something multiple times to really get it. Even after taking care of cognitive leaks, expanding knowledge is not necessarily easy, but does pay off in dividends.

    Lifelong learners

    By choosing to be a developer, you are choosing to learn. This is amazing. Our field not only values our knowledge, but we can stave off boredom because it doesn’t stagnate. My suggestion is to consider these tips a buffet table. There’s so much you can do, so many tools you can use. You don't need to learn everything and no one knows absolutely everything. It can feel overwhelming, but try to view it less like a race to the finish and more like a continuous journey.

    Remember: no one was born knowing any of this. Even the experts you know started at zero. There's nothing stopping you from becoming their peer if that's your goal. Or simply learning enough to get the job done if that's what you need.

    The post Learning to Learn appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

    CSS Remedy

    Css Tricks - Mon, 03/04/2019 - 5:16am

    There is a 15-year history of CSS resets. In fact, a "reset" isn't really the right word. Tantek Çelik's take in 2004 was called "undohtml.css" and it wasn't until a few years later when Eric Meyer called his version a reset, that the word became the default term. When Normalize came around, it called itself a reset alternative, which felt right, because it wasn't trying to obliterate all styles, but instead bring the base styles that browsers provide in their User Agent Stylesheet in line with each other.

    We've taken a romp through this history before in Reboot, Resets, and Reasoning. Every single take on this — let's call them "base" stylesheets — has a bit of a different angle. How much does it try to preserve the UA defaults? How opinionated does it get? How far back does it consider for browser support?

    Along comes CSS Remedy (they say it's not ready for usage), with yet another different spin:

    Sets CSS properties or values to what they would be if the CSSWG were creating the CSS today, from scratch, and didn't have to worry about backwards compatibility.

    Fascinating to think about.

    CSS Remedy re-draws the line for what is opinionated and what isn't. I'd say that something like * { box-sizing: border-box; } is a fairly strong opinion for a base stylesheet to have. No UA stylesheet does this, so it's applying a blanket rule everywhere just because it's desirable. It's definitely desirable! It's just opinionated.

    But not having border-box be the default is considered a CSS mistake. So if CSS Remedy is what a UA stylesheet would be if we were starting from scratch, border-box isn't opinionated; it's the new default.

    Sadly, we probably can never have a fresh UA stylesheet in browsers, because the danger of breaking sites is so high. If Firefox shipped some new modernized UA stylesheet that was tastefully done and appears to be nice, but only until you browse around the billion websites that weren't built to handle the new CSS being applied to them, them people would blame Firefox — and not incorrectly. Gracefully handling legacy code is a massive strength of the web and something that holds us back. It's more the former than the latter, though.

    It's been fun watching Jen think through and gather thoughts on stuff like this though:

    img {
    display: inline;
    vertical-align: baseline; }

    is a dumb default for web development.

    Which would be better?

    img {
    display: inline;
    vertical-align: bottom; }
    (removes mysterious gap)

    or

    img {
    display: block; }
    (blockifies)https://t.co/UyBtRO6SAv

    — Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) February 10, 2019

    I agree! That little space below images has confounded an absolute ton of people. It's easy enough to fix, but it being the fault of vertical-align is a bit silly and a great candidate for fixing in what would be a new UA stylesheet.

    I tossed the in-progress version into the comparison tool:

    See the Pen
    HTML Kitchen-sink
    by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier)
    on CodePen.

    Direct Link to ArticlePermalink

    The post CSS Remedy appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

    Mask Compositing: The Crash Course

    Css Tricks - Sat, 03/02/2019 - 5:28am

    At the start of 2018, as I was starting to go a bit deeper into CSS gradient masking in order to create interesting visuals one would think are impossible otherwise with just a single element and a tiny bit of CSS, I learned about a property that had previously been completely unknown to me: mask-composite.

    As this is not a widely used property, I couldn't find any comprehensive resources on this topic. So, as I began to use it more and learn more about it (some may remember I've mentioned it before in a couple of other articles), I decided to create such a resource myself and thus this article was born! Here, I'm covering how mask-composite works, why it's useful, what values it can take, what each of them does, where we are in terms of support and what alternatives we have in non-supporting browsers.

    What mask compositing does

    Mask compositing allows us to combine different mask layers into a single one using various operations. Combine them how? Well, pixel by pixel! Let's consider two mask layers. We take each pair of corresponding pixels, apply a certain compositing operation (we'll discuss each possible operation in detail a bit later) on their channels and get a third pixel for the resulting layer.

    How compositing two layers works at a pixel level.

    When compositing two layers, the layer on top is called the source, while the layer underneath is called the destination, which doesn't really make much sense to me because source sounds like an input and destination sounds like an output, but, in this case, they're both inputs and the output is the layer we get as a result of the compositing operation.

    Compositing terminology.

    When we have more than two layers, compositing is done in stages, starting from the bottom.

    In a first stage, the second layer from the bottom is our source and the first layer from the bottom is our destination. These two layers get composited and the result becomes the destination for the second stage, where the third layer from the bottom is the source. Compositing the third layer with the result of compositing the first two gives us the destination for the third stage, where the fourth layer from the bottom is the source.

    Compositing multiple layers.

    And so on, until we get to the final stage, where the topmost layer is composited with the result of compositing all the layers beneath.

    Why mask compositing is useful

    Both CSS and SVG masks have their limitations, their advantages and disadvantages. We can go around the limitations of SVG masks by using CSS masks, but, due to CSS masks working differently from SVG masks, taking the CSS route leaves us unable to achieve certain results without compositing.

    In order to better understand all of this, let's consider the following image of a pawesome Siberian tiger cub:

    The image we want to have masked on our page.

    And let's say we want to get the following masking effect on it:

    Desired result.

    This particular mask keeps the rhombic shapes visible, while the lines separating them get masked and we can see through the image to the element behind.

    We also want this masking effect to be flexible. We don't want to be tied to the image's dimensions or aspect ratio and we want to be able to easily switch (just by changing a % value to a px one) in between a mask that scales with the image and one that doesn't.

    In order to do this, we first need to understand how SVG and CSS masks each work and what we can and cannot do with them.

    SVG masking

    SVG masks are luminance masks by default. This means that the pixels of the masked element corresponding to the white mask pixels are fully opaque, the pixels of the masked element corresponding to black mask pixels are fully transparent and the pixels of the masked element corresponding to mask pixels somewhere in between black and white in terms of luminance (grey, pink, lime) are semitransparent.

    The formula used to get the luminance out of a given RGB value is:
    .2126·R + .7152·G + .0722·B

    For our particular example, this means we need to make the rhombic areas white and the lines separating them black, creating the pattern that can be seen below:

    Black and white rhombic pattern used as an SVG mask.

    In order to get the pattern above, we start with a white SVG rectangle element rect. Then, one might think we need to draw lots of black lines... but we don't! Instead, we only add a path made up of the two diagonals of this rectangle and ensure its stroke is black.

    To create the first diagonal (top left to bottom right), we use a "move to" (M) command to the top left corner, followed by a "line to" (L) command to the bottom right corner.

    To create the second diagonal (top right to bottom left), we use a "move to" (M) command to the top right corner, followed by a "line to" (L) command to the bottom left corner.

    Our code so far is:

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ')) rect(width=w height=h fill='#fff') path(d=`M0 0 L${w} ${h} M${w} 0 L0 ${h}` stroke='#000')

    The result so far doesn't seem to look anything like the rhombic pattern we want to get...

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    ... but that's about to change! We increase the thickness (stroke-width) of the black diagonal lines and make them dashed with the gaps between the dashes (7%) bigger than the dashes themselves (1%).

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ')) rect(width=w height=h fill='#fff') path(d=`M0 0 L${w} ${h} M${w} 0 L0 ${h}` stroke='#000' stroke-width='15%' stroke-dasharray='1% 7%')

    Can you now see where this is going?

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    If we keep increasing the thickness (stroke-width) of our black diagonal lines to a value like 150%, then they end up covering the entire rectangle and giving us the pattern we've been after!

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    Now we can wrap our rect and path elements inside a mask element and apply this mask on whatever element we wish - in our case, the tiger image.

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ')) mask#m rect(width=w height=h fill='#fff') path(d=`M0 0 L${w} ${h} M${w} 0 L0 ${h}` stroke='#000' stroke-width='15%' stroke-dasharray='1% 7%') img(src='image.jpg' width=w) img { mask: url(#m) }

    The above should work. But sadly, things are not perfect in practice. At this point, we only get the expected result in Firefox (live demo). Even worse, not getting the desired masked pattern in Chrome doesn't mean our element stays as it is unmasked - applying this mask makes it disappear altogether! Of course, since Chrome needs the -webkit- prefix for the mask property (when used on HTML elements), not adding the prefix means that it doesn't even try to apply the mask on our element.

    The most straightforward workaround for img elements is to turn them into SVG image elements.

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ') width=w) mask#m rect(width=w height=h fill='#fff') path(d=`M0 0 L${w} ${h} M${w} 0 L0 ${h}` stroke='#000' stroke-width='15%' stroke-dasharray='1% 7%') image(xlink:href=url width=w mask='url(#m)')

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    This gives us the result we've been after, but if we want to mask another HTML element, not an img one, things get a bit more complicated as we'd need to include it inside the SVG with foreignObject.

    Even worse, with this solution, we're hardcoding dimensions and this always feels yucky.

    Of course, we can make the mask ridiculously large so that it's unlikely there may be an image it couldn't cover. But that feels just as bad as hardcoding dimensions.

    We can also try tackling the hardcoding issue by switching the maskContentUnits to objectBoundingBox:

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ')) mask#m(maskContentUnits='objectBoundingBox') rect(width=1 height=1 fill='#fff') path(d=`M0 0 L1 1 M1 0 L0 1` stroke='#000' stroke-width=1.5 stroke-dasharray='.01 .07') image(xlink:href=url width='100%' mask='url(#m)')

    But we're still hardcoding the dimensions in the viewBox and, while their actual values don't really matter, their aspect ratio does. Furthermore, our masking pattern is now created within a 1x1 square and then stretched to cover the masked element.

    Shape stretching means shape distortion, which is why is why our rhombic shapes don't look as they did before anymore.

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    Ugh.

    We can tweak the start and end points of the two lines making up our path:

    svg(viewBox=[0, 0, w, h].join(' ')) mask#m rect(width=1 height=1 fill='#fff') path(d=`M-.75 0 L1.75 1 M1.75 0 L-.75 1` stroke='#000' stroke-width=1.5 stroke-dasharray='.01 .07') image(xlink:href=url width='100%' mask='url(#m)')

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    However, in order to get one particular rhombic pattern, with certain angles for our rhombic shapes, we need to know the image's aspect ratio.

    Sigh. Let's just drop it and see what we can do with CSS.

    CSS masking

    CSS masks are alpha masks by default. This means that the pixels of the masked element corresponding to the fully opaque mask pixels are fully opaque, the pixels of the masked element corresponding to the fully transparent mask pixels are fully transparent and the pixels of the masked element corresponding to semitransparent mask pixels are semitransparent. Basically, each and every pixel of the masked element gets the alpha channel of the corresponding mask pixel.

    For our particular case, this means making the rhombic areas opaque and the lines separating them transparent, so let's how can we do that with CSS gradients!

    In order to get the pattern with white rhombic areas and black separating lines, we can layer two repeating linear gradients:

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    repeating-linear-gradient(-60deg, #000 0, #000 5px, transparent 0, transparent 35px), repeating-linear-gradient(60deg, #000 0, #000 5px, #fff 0, #fff 35px)

    This is the pattern that does the job if we have a luminance mask.

    But in the case of an alpha mask, it's not the black pixels that give us full transparency, but the transparent ones. And it's not the white pixels that give us full opacity, but the fully opaque ones - red, black, white... they all do the job! I personally tend to use red or tan as this means only three letters to type and the fewer letters to type, the fewer opportunities for awful typos that can take half an hour to debug.

    So the first idea is to apply the same technique to get opaque rhombic areas and transparent separating lines. But in doing so, we run into a problem: the opaque parts of the second gradient layer cover parts of the first layer we'd like to still keep transparent and the other way around.

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    So what we're getting is pretty far from opaque rhombic areas and transparent separating lines.

    My initial idea was to use the pattern with white rhombic areas and black separating lines, combined with setting mask-mode to luminance to solve the problem by making the CSS mask work like an SVG one.

    This property is only supported by Firefox, though there is the non-standard mask-source-type for WebKit browsers. And sadly, support is not even the biggest issue as neither the standard Firefox way, nor the non-standard WebKit way give us the result we're after (live demo).

    Fortunately, mask-composite is here to help! So let's see what values this property can take and what effect they each have.

    mask-composite values and what they do

    First, we decide upon two gradient layers for our mask and the image we want masked.

    The two gradient mask layers we use to illustrate how each value of this property works are as follows:

    --l0: repeating-linear-gradient(90deg, red, red 1em, transparent 0, transparent 4em); --l1: linear-gradient(red, transparent); mask: var(--l1) /* top (source) layer */, var(--l0) /* bottom (destination) layer */

    These two layers can be seen as background gradients in the Pen below (note that the body has a hashed background so that the transparent and semitransparent gradient areas are more obvious):

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    The layer on top (--l1) is the source, while the bottom layer (--l0) is the destination.

    We apply the mask on this image of a gorgeous Amur leopard.

    The image we apply the mask on.

    Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let's see what effect each mask-composite value has!

    add

    This is the initial value, which gives us the same effect as not specifying mask-composite at all. What happens in this case is that the gradients are added one on top of the other and the resulting mask is applied.

    Note that, in the case of semitransparent mask layers, the alphas are not simply added, in spite of the value name. Instead, the following formula is used, where ?? is the alpha of the pixel in the source (top) layer and ?? is the alpha of the corresponding pixel in the destination (bottom) layer:

    ?? + ?? – ??·??

    Wherever at least one mask layer is fully opaque (its alpha is 1), the resulting mask is fully opaque and the corresponding pixels of the masked element are shown fully opaque (with an alpha of 1).

    If the source (top) layer is fully opaque, then ?? is 1, and replacing in the formula above, we have:

    1 + ?? - 1·?? = 1 + ?? - ?? = 1

    If the destination (bottom) layer is fully opaque, then ?? is 1, and we have:

    ?? + 1 – ??·1 = ?? + 1 – ?? = 1

    Wherever both mask layers are fully transparent (their alphas are 0), the resulting mask is fully transparent and the corresponding pixels of the masked element are therefore fully transparent (with an alpha of 0) as well.

    0 + 0 – 0·0 = 0 + 0 + 0 = 0

    Below, we can see what this means for the mask layers we're using - what the layer we get as a result of compositing looks like and the final result that applying it on our Amur leopard image produces.

    What using mask-composite: add for two given layers does. subtract

    The name refers to "subtracting" the destination (layer below) out of the source (layer above). Again, this does not refer to simply capped subtraction, but uses the following formula:

    ??·(1 – ??)

    The above formula means that, since anything multiplied with 0 gives us 0, wherever the source (top) layer is fully transparent or wherever the destination (bottom) layer is fully opaque, the resulting mask is also fully transparent and the corresponding pixels of the masked element are also fully transparent.

    If the source (top) layer is fully transparent, replacing its alpha with 0 in our formula gives us:

    0·(1 – ??) = 0

    If the destination (bottom) layer is fully opaque, replacing its alpha with 1 in our formula gives us:

    ??·(1 – 1) = ??·0 = 0

    This means using the previously defined mask and setting mask-composite: subtract, we get the following:

    What using mask-composite: subtract for two given layers does.

    Note that, in this case, the formula isn't symmetrical, so, unless ?? and ?? are equal, we don't get the same thing if we swap the two mask layers (??·(1 – ??) isn't the same as ??·(1 – ??)). This means we have a different visual result if we swap the order of the two layers!

    Using mask-composite: subtract when the two given layers have been swapped. intersect

    In this case, we only see the pixels of the masked element from where the two mask layers intersect. The formula used is the product between the alphas of the two layers:

    ??·??

    What results from the formula above is that, wherever either mask layer is fully transparent (its alpha is 0), the resulting mask is also fully transparent and so are the corresponding pixels of the masked element.

    If the source (top) layer is fully transparent, replacing its alpha with 0 in our formula gives us:

    0·?? = 0

    If the destination (bottom) layer is fully transparent, replacing its alpha with 0 in our formula gives us:

    ??·0 = 0

    Also, wherever both mask layers are fully opaque (their alphas are 1), the resulting mask is fully opaque and so are the corresponding pixels of the masked element. This because, if the alphas of the two layers are both 1, we have:

    1·1 = 1

    In the particular case of our mask, setting mask-composite: intersect means we have:

    What using mask-composite: intersect for two given layers does. exclude

    In this case, each layer is basically excluded from the other, with the formula being:

    ??·(1 – ??) + ??·(1 – ??)

    In practice, this formula means that, wherever both mask layers are fully transparent (their alphas are 0) or fully opaque (their alphas are 1), the resulting mask is fully transparent and the corresponding pixels of the masked element are fully transparent as well.

    If both mask layers are fully transparent, our replacing their alphas with 0 in our formula results in:

    0·(1 – 0) + 0·(1 – 0) = 0·1 + 0·1 = 0 + 0 = 0

    If both mask layers are fully opaque, our replacing their alphas with 1 in our formula results in:

    1·(1 – 1) + 1·(1 – 1) = 1·0 + 1·0 = 0 + 0 = 0

    It also means that, wherever one layer is fully transparent (its alpha is 0), while the other one is fully opaque (its alpha is 1), then the resulting mask is fully opaque and so are the corresponding pixels of the masked element.

    If the source (top) layer is fully transparent, while the destination (bottom) layer is fully opaque, replacing ?? with 0 and ?? with 1 gives us:

    0·(1 – 1) + 1·(1 – 0) = 0·0 + 1·1 = 0 + 1 = 1

    If the source (top) layer is fully opaque, while the destination (bottom) layer is fully transparent, replacing ?? with 1 and ?? with 0 gives us:

    1·(1 – 0) + 0·(1 – 1) = 1·1 + 0·0 = 1 + 0 = 1

    With our mask, setting mask-composite: exclude means we have:

    What using mask-composite: exclude for two given layers does. Applying this to our use case

    We go back to the two gradients we attempted to get the rhombic pattern with:

    --l1: repeating-linear-gradient(-60deg, transparent 0, transparent 5px, tan 0, tan 35px); --l0: repeating-linear-gradient(60deg, transparent 0, transparent 5px, tan 0, tan 35px)

    If we make the completely opaque (tan in this case) parts semitransparent (let's say rgba(tan, .5)), the visual result gives us an indication of how compositing could help here:

    $c: rgba(tan, .5); $sw: 5px; --l1: repeating-linear-gradient(-60deg, transparent 0, transparent #{$sw}, #{$c} 0, #{$c} #{7*$sw}); --l0: repeating-linear-gradient(60deg, transparent 0, transparent #{$sw}, #{$c} 0, #{$c} #{7*$sw})

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    The rhombic areas we're after are formed at the intersection between the semitransparent strips. This means using mask-composite: intersect should do the trick!

    $sw: 5px; --l1: repeating-linear-gradient(-60deg, transparent 0, transparent #{$sw}, tan 0, tan #{7*$sw}); --l0: repeating-linear-gradient(60deg, transparent 0, transparent #{$sw}, tan 0, tan #{7*$sw}); mask: var(--l1) intersect, var(--l0)

    Note that we can even include the compositing operation in the shorthand! Which is something I really love, because the fewer chances of wasting at least ten minutes not understanding why masj-composite, msdk-composite, nask-composite, mask-comoisite and the likes don't work, the better!

    Not only does this give us the desired result, but, if now that we've stored the transparent strip width into a variable, changing this value to a % value (let's say $sw: .05%) makes the mask scale with the image!

    If the transparent strip width is a px value, then both the rhombic shapes and the separating lines stay the same size as the image scales up and down with the viewport.

    Masked image at two different viewport widths when the transparent separating lines in between the rhombic shapes have a px-valued width.

    If the transparent strip width is a % value, then both the rhombic shapes and the separating lines are relative in size to the image and therefore scale up and down with it.

    Masked image at two different viewport widths when the transparent separating lines in between the rhombic shapes have a %-valued width.

    Too good to be true? What's the support for this?

    The bad news is that mask-composite is only supported by Firefox at the moment. The good news is we have an alternative for WebKit browsers, so we can extend the support.

    Extending support

    WebKit browsers support (and have supported for a long, long time) a non-standard version of this property, -webkit-mask-composite which needs different values to work. These equivalent values are:

    • source-over for add
    • source-out for subtract
    • source-in for intersect
    • xor for exclude

    So, in order to have a cross-browser version, all we need to is add the WebKit version as well, right?

    Well, sadly, things are not that simple.

    First off, we cannot use this value in the -webkit-mask shorthand, the following does not work:

    -webkit-mask: var(--l1) source-in, var(--l0)

    And if we take the compositing operation out of the shorthand and write the longhand after it, as seen below:

    -webkit-mask: var(--l1), var(--l0); -webkit-mask-composite: source-in; mask: var(--l1) intersect, var(--l0)

    ... the entire image completely disappears!

    And if you think that's weird, check this: using any of the other three operations add/ source-over, subtract/ source-out, exclude/ xor, we get the expected result in WebKit browsers as well as in Firefox. It's only the source-in value that breaks things in WebKit browsers!

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    What gives?!

    Why is this particular value breaking things in WebKit?

    When I first came across this, I spent a few good minutes trying to find a typo in source-in, then copy pasted it from a reference, then from a second one in case the first reference got it wrong, then from a third... and then I finally had another idea!

    It appears as if, in the case of the non-standard WebKit alternative, we also have compositing applied between the layer at the bottom and a layer of nothing (considered completely transparent) below it.

    For the other three operations, this makes absolutely no difference. Indeed, adding, subtracting or excluding nothing doesn't change anything. If we are to take the formulas for these three operations and replace ?? with 0, we always get ??:

    • add/ source-over: ?? + 0 – ??·0 = ?? + 0 - 0 = ??
    • subtract/ source-out: ??·(1 – 0) = ??·1 = ??
    • exclude/ xor: ??·(1 – 0) + 0·(1 – ??) = ??·1 + 0 = ??

    However, intersection with nothing is a different story. Intersection with nothing is nothing! This is something that's also illustrated by replacing ?? with 0 in the formula for the intersect/ source-in operation:

    ??·0 = 0

    The alpha of the resulting layer is 0 in this case, so no wonder our image gets completely masked out!

    So the first fix that came to mind was to use another operation (doesn't really matter which of the other three, I picked xor because it has fewer letters and it can be fully selected by double clicking) for compositing the layer at the bottom with this layer of nothing below it:

    -webkit-mask: var(--l1), var(--l0); -webkit-mask-composite: source-in, xor; mask: var(--l1) intersect, var(--l0)

    And yes, this does work!

    You can resize the embed below to see how the mask behaves when it scales with the image and when it doesn't.

    See the Pen by thebabydino (@thebabydino) on CodePen.

    Note that we need to add the non-standard WebKit version before the standard one so that when WebKit browsers finally implement the standard version as well, this overrides the non-standard one.

    Well, that's about it! I hope you've enjoyed this article and learned something new from it.

    A couple more demos

    Before closing, here are two more demos showcasing why mask-composite is cool.

    The first demo shows a bunch of 1 element umbrellas. Each "bite" is created with a radial-gradient() that we exclude from the full circular shape. Chrome has a little rendering issue, but the result looks perfect in Firefox.

    1 element umbrellas using mask-composite (live demo).

    The second demo shows three 1 element loaders (though only the second two use mask-composite). Note that the animation only works in Chrome here as it needs Houdini.

    1 element loaders using mask-composite (live demo).

    How about you - what other use cases can you think of?

    The post Mask Compositing: The Crash Course appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

    Do CSS Custom Properties Beat Sass Loops?

    Css Tricks - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 1:59pm

    I reckon that a lot of our uses of Sass maps can be replaced with CSS Custom properties – but hear me out for a sec.

    When designing components we often need to use the same structure of a component but change its background or text color based on a theme. For example, in an alert, we might need a warning style, an error style, and a success style – each of which might be slightly different, like this:

    There’s a few ways we could tackle building this with CSS, and if you were asking me a couple of years ago, I would’ve tried to solve this problem with Sass maps. First, I would have started with the base alert styles but then I’d make a map that would hold all the data:

    $alertStyles: ( error: ( theme: #fff5f5, icon: 'error.svg', darkTheme: #f78b8b ), success: ( theme: #f0f9ef, icon: 'success.svg', darkTheme: #7ebb7a ), warning: ( theme: #fff9f0, icon: 'warning.svg', darkTheme: #ffc848 ) );

    Then we can loop through that data to change our core alert styles, like this:

    @each $state, $property in $alertStyles { $theme: map-get($property, theme); $darkTheme: map-get($property, darkTheme); $icon: map-get($property, icon); .alert-#{$state} { background-color: $theme; border-color: $darkTheme; &:before { background-color: $darkTheme; background-image: url($icon); } .alert-title { color: $darkTheme; } } }

    Pretty complicated, huh? This would output classes such as .alert-error, .alert-success and .alert-warning, each of which would have a bunch of CSS within them that overrides the default alert styles.

    This would leave us with something that looks like this demo:

    See the Pen
    Alerts – Sass Loops
    by Robin Rendle (@robinrendle)
    on CodePen.

    However! I’ve always found that using Sass maps and looping over all this data can become unwieldy and extraordinarily difficult to read. In recent projects, I’ve stumbled into fantastically complicated uses of maps and slowly closed the file as if I’d stumbled into a crime scene.

    How do we keep the code easy and legible? Well, I think that CSS Custom Properties makes these kinds of loops much easier to read and therefore easier to edit and refactor in the future.

    Let’s take the example above and refactor it so that it uses CSS Custom Properties instead. First we’ll set out core styles for the .alert component like so:

    See the Pen
    Alerts – Custom Variables 1
    by Robin Rendle (@robinrendle)
    on CodePen.

    As we create those base styles, we can setup variables in our .alert class like this:

    .alert { --theme: #ccc; --darkTheme: #777; --icon: ''; background: var(--theme); border: 1px solid var(--darkTheme); /* other styles go here */ &:before { background-image: var(--icon); } }

    We can do a lot more with CSS Custom Properties than changing an interface to a dark mode or theme. I didn’t know until I tried that it's possible to set an image in a custom property like that – I simply assumed it was for hex values.

    Anyway! From there, we can style each custom .alert class like .alert-warning by overriding these properties in .alert:

    .alert-success { --theme: #f0f9ef; --darkTheme: #7ebb7a; --icon: url(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/s.cdpn.io/14179/success.svg); } .alert-error { --theme: #fff5f5; --darkTheme: #f78b8b; --icon: url(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/s.cdpn.io/14179/error.svg); } .alert-warning { --theme: #fff9f0; --darkTheme: #ffc848; --icon: url(https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/s.cdpn.io/14179/warning.svg); }

    And that’s about it! We’ll get the exact same visual interface that we had with a Sass loop:

    See the Pen
    Alerts – Custom Variables 2
    by Robin Rendle (@robinrendle)
    on CodePen.

    However! I think there’s an enormous improvement here that’s been made in terms of legibility. It’s much easier to look at this code and to understand it right off the bat. With the Sass loop it almost seems like we are trying to do a lot of clever things in one place – namely, nest classes within other classes and create the class names themselves. Not to mention we then have to go back and forth between the original Sass map and our styles.

    With CSS Custom Properties, all the styles are contained within the original .alert.

    There you have it! I think there’s not much to mention here besides the fact that CSS Custom Properties can make code more legible and maintainable in the future. And I reckon that’s something we should all be a little excited about.

    Although there is one last thing: we should probably be aware of browser support whilst working with Custom Properties although it’s pretty good across the board.

    The post Do CSS Custom Properties Beat Sass Loops? appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

    Should I Use Source Maps in Production?

    Css Tricks - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 11:50am

    It's a valid question. A "source map" is a special file that connects a minified/uglified version of an asset (CSS or JavaScript) to the original authored version. Say you've got a filed called _header.scss that gets imported into global.scss which is compiled to global.css. That final CSS file is what gets loaded in the browser, so for example, when you inspect an element in DevTools, it might tell you that the <nav> is display: flex; because it says so on line 387 in global.css.

    On line 528 of page.css</, we can find out that <code>.meta has position: relative;

    But because that final CSS file is probably minified (all whitespace removed), DevTools is likely to tell us that we'll find the declaration we're looking for on line 1! Unfortunate, and not helpful for development.

    That's where source maps come in. Like I said up top, source maps are special files that connect that final output file the browser is actually using with the authored files that you actually work with and write code in on your file system.

    Typically, source maps are a configuration option from the preprocessor. Here's Babel's options. I believe that with Sass, you don't even have to pass a flag for it in the command or anything because it produces source maps by default.

    So, these source maps are for developers. They are particularly useful for you and your team because they help tremendously for debugging issues as well as day-to-day work. I'm sure I make use of them just about every day. I'd say in general, they are used for local development. You might even .gitignore them or skip them in a deployment process in order to serve and store fewer assets to production. But there's been some recent chatter about making sure they go to production as well.

    David Heinemeier Hansson:

    But source maps have long been seen merely as a local development tool. Not something you ship to production, although people have also been doing that, such that live debugging would be easier. That in itself is a great reason to ship source maps. [...]

    Additional, Rails 6 just committed to shipping source maps by default in production, also thanks to Webpack. You’ll be able to turn that feature off, but I hope you won’t. The web is a better place when we allow others to learn from our work.

    Check out that issue thread for more interesting conversation about shipping source maps to production. The benefits boil down to these two things:

    1. It might help you track down bugs in production more easily
    2. It helps other people learn from your website more easily

    Both are cool. Personally, I'd be opposed to shipping performance-optimized code for learning purposes alone. I wrote about that last year:

    I don't want my source to be human-readable, not for protective reasons, but because I care about web performance more. I want my website to arrive at light speed on a tiny spec of magical network packet dust and blossom into a complete website. Or do whatever computer science deems is the absolute fastest way to send website data between computers. I'm much more worried about the state of web performance than I am about web education. But even if I was very worried about web education, I don't think it's the network's job to deliver teachability.

    Shipping source maps to production is a nice middle ground. There's no hit on performance (source maps don't get loaded unless you have DevTools open, which is, IMO, irrelevant to a real performance discussion) with the benefit of delivering debugging and learning benefits.

    The downsides brought up in recent discussion boil down to:

    1. Sourcemaps require compilation time
    2. It allows people to, I dunno, steal your code or something

    I don't care about #2 (sorry), and #1 seems generally negligible for a small or what we think of as the average site, though I'm afraid I can't speak for mega sites.

    One thing I should add though is that source maps can even be generated for CSS-in-JS tooling, so for those that literally inject styles into the DOM for you, those source maps are injected as well. I've seen major slowdowns in those situations, so I would say definitely do not ship source maps to production if you can't split them out of your main bundles. Otherwise, I'd vote strongly that you do.

    The post Should I Use Source Maps in Production? appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

    Writing Tests for React Applications Using Jest and Enzyme

    Css Tricks - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 11:47am

    While it is important to have a well-tested API, solid test coverage is a must for any React application. Tests increase confidence in the code and helps prevent shipping bugs to users.

    That’s why we’re going to focus on testing in this post, specifically for React applications. By the end, you’ll be up and running with tests using Jest and Enzyme.

    No worries if those names mean nothing to you because that’s where we’re headed right now!

    Installing the test dependencies

    Jest is a unit testing framework that makes testing React applications pretty darn easy because it works seamlessly with React (because, well, the Facebook team made it, though it is compatible with other JavaScript frameworks). It serves as a test runner that includes an entire library of predefined tests with the ability to mock functions as well.

    Enzyme is designed to test components and it’s a great way to write assertions (or scenarios) that simulate actions that confirm the front-end UI is working correctly. In other words, it seeks out components on the front end, interacts with them, and raises a flag if any of the components aren’t working the way it’s told they should.

    So, Jest and Enzyme are distinct tools, but they complement each other well.

    For our purposes, we will spin up a new React project using create-react-app because it comes with Jest configured right out of the box.

    yarn create react-app my-app

    We still need to install enzyme and enzyme-adapter-react-16 (that number should be based on whichever version of React version you’re using).

    yarn add enzyme enzyme-adapter-react-16 --dev

    OK, that creates our project and gets us both Jest and Enzyme in our project in two commands. Next, we need to create a setup file for our tests. We’ll call this file setupTests.js and place it in the src folder of the project.

    Here’s what should be in that file:

    import { configure } from 'enzyme'; import Adapter from 'enzyme-adapter-react-16'; configure({ adapter: new Adapter() });

    This brings in Enzyme and sets up the adapter for running our tests.

    To make things easier on us, we are going to write tests for a React application I have already built. Grab a copy of the app over on GitHub.

    Taking snapshots of tests

    Snapshot testing is used to keep track of changes in the app UI. If you’re wonder whether we’re dealing with literal images of the UI, the answer is no, but snapshots are super useful because they capture the code of a component at a moment in time so we can compare the component in one state versus any other possible states it might take.

    The first time a test runs, a snapshot of the component code is composed and saved in a new __snapshots__ folder in the src directory. On test runs, the current UI is compared to the existing. Here’s a snapshot of a successful test of the sample project’s App component.

    it("renders correctly", () => { const wrapper = shallow( <App /> ); expect(wrapper).toMatchSnapshot(); });

    Now, run the test:

    yarn run test

    Every new snapshot that gets generated when the test suite runs will be saved in the __tests__ folder. What’s great about that Jest will check to see if the component matches is then on subsequent times when we run the test, Jest will check to see if the component matches the snapshot on subsequent tests. Here’s how that files looks.

    Let’s create a conditions where the test fails. We’ll change the <h2> tag of our component from <h2>Random User</h2> to <h2>CSSTricks Tests</h2> and here’s what we get in the command line when the tests run:

    If we want our change to pass the test, we either change the heading to what it was before, or we can update the snapshot file. Jest even provides instructions for how to update the snapshot right from the command line so there’s no need to update the snapshot manually:

    Inspect your code changes or press `u` to update them.

    So, that’s what we’ll do in this case. We press u to update the snapshot, the test passes, and we move on.

    Did you catch the shallow method in our test snapshot? That’s from the Enzyme package and instructs the test to run a single component and nothing else — not even any child components that might be inside it. It’s a nice clean way to isolate code and get better information when debugging and is especially great for simple, non-interactive components.

    In addition to shallow, we also have render for snapshot testing. What’s the difference, you ask? While shallow excludes child components when testing a component, render includes them while rendering to static HTML.

    There is one more method in the mix to be aware of: mount. This is the most engaging type of test in the bunch because it fully renders components (like shallow and render) and their children (like render) but puts them in the DOM, which means it can fully test any component that interacts with the DOM API as well as any props that are passed to and from it. It’s a comprehensive test for interactivity. It’s also worth noting that, since it does a full mount, we’ll want to make a call to .unmount on the component after the test runs so it doesn’t conflict with other tests.

    Testing Component’s Lifecycle Methods

    Lifecycle methods are hooks provided by React, which get called at different stages of a component's lifespan. These methods come in handy when handling things like API calls.
    Since they are often used in React components, you can have your test suite cover them to ensure all things work as expected.

    We do the fetching of data from the API when the component mounts. We can check if the lifecycle method gets called by making use of jest, which makes it possible for us to mock lifecycle methods used in React applications.

    it('calls componentDidMount', () => { jest.spyOn(App.prototype, 'componentDidMount') const wrapper = shallow(<App />) expect(App.prototype.componentDidMount.mock.calls.length).toBe(1) })

    We attach spy to the component’s prototype, and the spy on the componentDidMount() lifecycle method of the component. Next, we assert that the lifecycle method is called once by checking for the call length.

    Testing component props

    How can you be sure that props from one component are being passed to another? We have a test confirm it, of course! The Enzyme API allows us to create a “mock” function so tests can simulate props being passed between components.

    Let’s say we are passing user props from the main App component into a Profile component. In other words, we want the App to inform the Profile with details about user information to render a profile for that user.

    First, let’s mock the user props:

    const user = { name: 'John Doe', email: 'johndoe@gmail.com', username: 'johndoe', image: null }

    Mock functions look a lot like other tests in that they’re wrapped around the components. However, we’re using an additional describe layer that takes the component being tested, then allows us to proceed by telling the test the expected props and values that we expect to be passed.

    describe ('<Profile />', () => { it ('contains h4', () => { const wrapper = mount(<Profile user={user} />) const value = wrapper.find('h4').text() expect(value).toEqual('John Doe') }) it ('accepts user props', () => { const wrapper = mount(<Profile user={user} />); expect(wrapper.props().user).toEqual(user) }) })

    This particular example contains two tests. In the first test, we pass the user props to the mounted Profile component. Then, we check to see if we can find a <h4> element that corresponds to what we have in the Profile component.

    In the second test, we want to check if the props we passed to the mounted component equals the mock props we created above. Note that even though we are destructing the props in the Profile component, it does not affect the test.

    Mock API calls

    There’s a part in the project we’ve been using where an API call is made to fetch a list of users. And guess what? We can test that API call, too!

    The slightly tricky thing about testing API calls is that we don’t actually want to hit the API. Some APIs have call limits or even costs for making making calls, so we want to avoid that. Thankfully, we can use Jest to mock axios requests. See this post for a more thorough walkthrough of using axios to make API calls.

    First, we'll create a new folder called __mock__ in the same directory where our __tests__ folder lives. This is where our mock request files will be created when the tests run.

    module.exports = { get: jest.fn(() => { return Promise.resolve({ data: [ { id: 1, name: 'Jane Doe', email: 'janedoe@gmail.com', username: 'jdoe' } ] }) }) }

    We want to check and see that the GET request is made. We’ll import axios for that:

    import axios from 'axios';

    Just below the import statements, we need Jest to replace axios with our mock, so we add this:

    jest.mock('axios')

    The Jest API has a spyOn() method that takes an accessType? argument that can be used to check whether we are able to “get” data from an API call. We use jest.spyOn() to call the spied method, which we implemented in our __mock__ file, and it can be used with the shallow, render and mount tests we covered earlier.

    it('fetches a list of users', () => { const getSpy = jest.spyOn(axios, 'get') const wrapper = shallow( <App /> ) expect(getSpy).toBeCalled() }) We passed the test!

    That’s a primer into the world of testing in a React application. Hopefully you now see the value that testing adds to a project and how relatively easy it can be to implement, thanks to the heavy lifting done by the joint powers of Jest and Enzyme.

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