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Rocket Surgery for Brain Scientists

Tom Bamford presented to a packed room on Saturday on “rocket surgery for brain scientists” aka front end tooling, “I just use these as an excuse for silly titles”. His fun but considered talk was full of usage caveats that only a person who has done the hard yards could know.

Front-end tooling is, is the means of getting code ready, optimised, and shipped. And it involves scaffolding. Bamford recommended several options—Yeoman, drupal theme generator, hedley, drupal profile generator—though with the warning

“on a good day, using these tools takes 5 minutes, on a bad day [especially on a Mac using Brew] … 3 days”

I also realised just how out of touch I am with front end development with his comment, “I’m sure you go and drop all your simple HTML pages into Beautify or Prettify”!

Still, as someone now more of a UXer, I liked his nod to both testing for accessibility and easy means to do so (through Chrome Accessibility tools and a11y.js).

Bamford is a fan of style guides and pattern libraries. I am too, and had perused the Lonely Planet Rizzo guide (though been rather put out at their New Zealand icon) but wasn’t aware of the pattern-collector-of-pattern-collectors styleguides.io

Other nice tips he gave included:

  • automated browser testing: using Browserifty and Pageres, as well as good old fashioned testing with phantomjs
  • CSS Comb to “auto-organise CSS … so you don’t get angry at people messing it up”

His slides are available on Github (he being the type that dogfoods by using the tools that he prescribes, in this case reveal.js ).