All Posts in XI to Eye

April 21, 2014 - No Comments!

Fluid Typography with VW Units: XI to Eye

XI to Eye - VWSince the launch of the first responsive website we have had fluid grids and images, but our typography has been static. That is, until recently. The rise of support from the browser vendors for viewport units of measurement has changed that and we can now build sites where the type adjusts to the size of the screen. With a little bit of planning and a dash of sass, we can control our fluid type through all of our breakpoints and ensure a proper text line length across all variants of our design. In this edition of XI to Eye I'll give you an introduction to vw units and how we're using them.

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September 6, 2013 - No Comments!

Help, My Test Is Failing

xitoeyeHere's the situation. You've written your tests. You run your test suite one last time before checking in, and just when you think you are done, you see the big red F indicating test failure.

"Why Me?" you ask. "What now?"

This video discusses strategies for discovering what may have made your test fail, and for exploring what happens during the test run. If you take nothing else away from this video, learn that sometime in the next six months, there's a good chance that git bisect will save you.

If you're going to be at WindyCityRails this year, be sure to catch my talk "Rails vs. Object-Oriented Design," Fri, Sept 13, at 9am. You can also check out my books Master Space and Time With JavaScript and Trust-Driven Development.

May 14, 2013 - No Comments!

Rails vs. The Client Side: XI to Eye

xitoeyeTwo completely different ways have emerged for using Rails as the back-end to a rich client-side JavaScript application:

  • The 37Signals "Russian Doll" approach, used in Basecamp Next, where the server generally returns HTML to the client. This approach uses aggressive caching and a little bit of JavaScript glue to keep the application fast.
  • The "Rails API" approach, where the server generally returns JSON to the client, and a JavaScript MVC framework handles the actual display.

Which of these will work for you? For this week's XI to Eye, I've posted my RailsConf presentation on the topic.

Also, if you like this talk, my book Master Space and Time With JavaScript has much more detailed information on using JavaScript effectively, including a work in progress on Ember.js.

Watch live video from Confreaks - Live Streaming on

April 23, 2013 - 1 comment.

Help, I’m Stuck! What Do I Test Next?

xitoeyeI was stuck. I didn't know what to do for the next XI to Eye video. Then I realized that being stuck is a topic.

What do you do when you are stuck in a TDD process? How do you decide where to start when testing? How can you pick what to text next? Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Some of these questions are answered in this video, which also talks about why tests are valuable, and how to approach using tests to drive your application design.

If you like this, you may be interested in Master Space and Time With JavaScript, which covers testing, among many other JavaScript topics.

April 12, 2013 - 1 comment.

Project Estimation

xitoeyeEstimation. Every project does it. Most projects dread it. In this short video, we'll explain why estimating complexity is easier and more manageable than estimating time, and why points are actually a more concrete measure than hours.

For many web projects, a good estimation process is quick and simple: Time spent estimating is not time spent building. Time spent watching an XI to Eye video, on the other hand, is time well spent, indeed.

If you like this, I estimate that you might enjoy the e-book Master Space and Time with JavaScript.

April 5, 2013 - 1 comment.

Writing Readable Code

xitoeyeAs web developers, we read code all day. Many of us have used style guides to govern how we structure our code. In this video, I talk about what guides the style guides -- basic principles about what makes code readable and why readable code is easier to work with.

You want your code to be expressive, consistent, logically structured, uniform, and manageable. Also, remember the D.A. rule. Want to know what that means? Watch the video.
If you liked this, I wouldn't stop you from checking out "Master Space and Time With JavaScript".