Performance, statistics, and refactoring…
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Welcome to Issue #0001

I want to start by thanking you for taking a further interest in CSS Wizardry and the work I do. It’s humbling, and it’s very much appreciated.

In this, the first ever CSS Wizardry newsletter, I have some fresh performance optimisation tips for you, I have some advice on refactoring CSS (ugh), and I have some interesting things about averages. Enjoy!

Talking Shop

After an incredibly busy November (10 different airports (17 if you count duplicates), work in five different European capital cities, five different public events) I’m happy to be taking December off (as far as travel is concerned). This means that I have plenty of opportunity to work on things like this newsletter, reply to any of the 14 unread emails I have from my accountant, and take on remote code/performance audits.

I’m also using the time to write up a whole new workshop: a full day absolutely packed full of tips, tricks, and techniques for troubleshooting and improving front-end performance!
  • Learn about network infrastructure
  • Measuring and debugging performance
  • Elegant resource loading
  • Tricking the browser into working faster
  • Tooling and workflows
  • Runtime and rendering performance
  • And a whole lot more!
It’ll be good to go as of Q1 2017—get in touch if you think your company could use some help making things f a s t.

Screencast: Improving Performance with Preloading

I’ve made a new screencast just for you. Nobody else can see this video yet, so let’s keep it between us for now… Let’s take a look at a really simple way of improving our perceived performance with just a line or two of HTML. (Direct YouTube link.)
Improving Above-the-Fold Performance with Preload
How can we improve the perceived performance of above the fold content? With preload, that’s how!


I want to share a couple of talks with you in this newsletter, and both are from the critically acclaimed beyond tellerrand conference. The first one is me, talking about refactoring CSS. It’s probably quite narcissistic to share a video of oneself, but I think this is the best delivery of this talk that was captured on film, so if you’re going to watch it at all, you probably want this version. (Direct Vimeo link.)
Refactoring CSS Without Losing Your Mind – Harry Roberts – btconfBER2016
Refactoring CSS Without Losing Your Mind
The second talk was an incredible call to arms from the inimitable Mike Monteiro. If this doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what will. (Direct Vimeo link.)
Let Us Now Praise Ordinary People – Mike Monteiro – btconfBER2016
Let Us Now Praise Ordinary People

Articles and Resources

  • When Bill Gates Walks into a Bar: I found this whilst doing some reading about statistics. It’s a nice concise look into choosing the correct average.
  • The Dark Side of .io: I was, unfortunately, reminded of this article again this week. Perhaps think twice before registering your next domain…?
  • 24 ways: It’s back! The advent calendar for web professionals. A fresh article every day until Christmas.
  • Refresh-SF: I have absolutely no idea where this tool got its name from, but here’s a very fast and convenient online minifier and gzipper. I use it all the time in workshops to demonstrate the high compression rate that BEM provides.
  • The Setup: My buddy Josh asked me a few questions about my working setup. I answered them.

Cocktail: White Negroni

Created in 2002 by British bartender Wayne Collins, this twist on the classic Negroni is an absolute favourite of mine. Suze is a bitter gentian liqueur which takes the place of Campari; Kina L’Aéro d’Or is a beautifully, syrupy, bittersweet apéritif which replaces the sweet vermouth found in a classic Negroni; and gin… well gin is just gin.
  • 1½oz (45ml) London dry gin
  • ¾oz (22.5ml) Suze
  • ¾oz (22.5ml) Kina L’Aéro d’Or
  • Stir over ice
  • Strain and garnish with a lemon twist
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