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Harry Roberts
Consultant Front-end Architect • Writer • Speaker • Previously Senior Developer at BSkyB
Consultant Front-end Architect • Writer • Speaker • Previously Senior Developer at BSkyB

Harry's posts

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My talk at #btconf  is now online :D
Good Morning. Here comes +Harry Roberts with his nice #btconf  talk “Cheese is really good at being Cheese” erhm wait … “Architecting Scalable CSS” it was.

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I was fortunate enough to see this talk first-hand at beyond tellerrand back in May, 2013. Absolutely hilarious, poignant and moving, I HIGHLY recommend you watch it. 10/10.

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Any digital/tech/design/dev people in Yorkshire need to get yourselves to Hey!Stac. It’s a free event on 4th June and I am speaking at it!

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I’ve stolen some more ideas from programmers!

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#Usefulness and #usability.

“There is the desire of a consumer society to have no learning curves. This tends to result in very dumbed-down products that are easy to get started on, but are generally worthless [or] debilitating.”—Alan Kay,

That’s a challenge for us also with websites and, occasionally, low information density. Some things can’t be reduced to a catchy phrase and a junkchart.

Once again, the single responsibility principle in CSS[1], and using more classes in your markup, has proved itself a massive success.

We had to rearchitect a huge and complicated chunk of JS-rich DOM at Sky yesterday; we moved a few elements around and completely altered how one of the trickiest parts of the Sky Bet font-end works, and had minimal effort in needing to change any CSS or JS as a result.

A job that would have normally taken upward of half a day took us under half an hour, because everything was granular and isolated enough to allow it to drop almost anywhere in the DOM and still work.

I’m hoping to write up an article about verbosity in HTML at some point—which should hopefully cover this kind of thing in more detail—but until then: embrace the more-classes-in-your-markup approach!


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“If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GDP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing.”

— Good Guy Buffet

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* Drag to your bookmarks bar.
* Rename it ‘faavorite’.
* Get clicking and spend all your time discovering cool stuff!

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How would you brand yourself?

This is an interesting one, or at least one I find interesting… how would/do you brand yourself?

Take me, for example.

I usually describe myself as a ‘web designer/developer’ but I don’t think this is very representative any more; I’m not a great designer and I’m only getting worse at it—my development is my strong point and I am only getting better at it.

However, I only really write HTML and CSS, so is it fair to call myself a developer? Most developers deal with a lot more complex stuff than HTML and CSS.

But, I do so much more than write HTML and CSS; anyone can float a few divs or make some text red, I’d like to consider myself a front-end architect. I build elegant, scalable solutions for massive front-ends; it’s what I’m employed to do at BSkyB…

At Sky I am employed as a Senior User Interface Developer, but that’s my job title, not me. I can only really call myself a Senior UI Developer whilst I’m at Sky, so what am I?

I have no idea, but I’d really really love to hear what your official job titles are and what you’d consider yourself to be!

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