Tag: Really

If I work really hard on my Open Graph images, people will share my blog posts.

Zach did that thing where each of his blog posts has a special URL with the design of social image card that is screenshat by a headless browser (like Puppeteer) and used as a true meta Open Graph image, meaning it’s displayed on Twitter, Facebook, iMessage, Slack, Discord, and whatever else supports that card look.

I like it. Even though I’ve got a pretty good solution cooking now (for WordPress), the templates aren’t controlled with HTML/CSS like I wish they were.

As bit of yang to the ying here, Jim has some thoughts on the not-so-great aspects of Open Graph images:

I feel like they’ve been hijacked by auto-generated computer imagery serving as attention-grabbing filler more than supportive expression.

Jim Nielsen, “Quibbles With Social Share Imagery”

It’s kinda like… we can add Open Graph images, and we essentially get a totally free massive clickable target for hungry fingers, so we do add Open Graph images — even when that image is, well, boring. Just auto-generated computer barf of title text with branding. Jim’s post has examples.

I get where Jim is coming from, and I suppose I’m guilty to some degree. I feel like we’re a cut-above on CSS-Tricks though, if you’ll pardon a taste of defensiveness, because:

  1. We have a variety of templates to choose from to switch it up, like a quote design.
  2. We incorporate custom imagery into the final card, meaning most cards are somewhat visually unique.
  3. We don’t just brand the cards, we usually incorporate the author for a little extra high five for the person, rather than just our brand.

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How The Web is Really Built

My 2020 was colored by the considerable amount of time I spent analyzing data about CSS usage in the wild, for the CSS chapter of the Web Almanac, by the HTTP Archive. The results were eye-opening to me. A wake-up call of sorts. We spend so much time in the bubble of bleeding-edge tech that we lose touch with how the web is really built. Most of the web favors old, stable tech instead of new bling.

CSS-in-JS? Only 2% of websites.

React? Only 4%.

Service Workers? Less than 1%.

Houdini? Practically 0%

Nobody uses jQuery anymore, right? Wrong. It appears on 83% of all websites! Everyone uses Jamstack instead of bloated CMSes, right, right? Wrong. Static site generators are used in less than 1% of websites, WordPress powers one-third of the Web.

A lot of the code we found could have been written a decade ago. When new tech ends up being used sufficiently to appear in these stats, it’s often because the primary driver is a popular library or framework. Effectively, we (standards folks, browser implementers, etc.) are building tech for tooling authors, who are the ones really building tech for the average web developer. Quite a perspective shift, isn’t it?


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