Rowan’s Blog

This is my blog, which I use to sporadically (basically never) post about web development. Anything pre-2014 is bad and you shouldn’t read it.

  1. Operational excellence: one year on

    A JSON-based error log containing app details (e.g. commit hash, name, Node.js version) and error information (e.g. message, code, stack trace, and related systems)

    A year ago we outlined some changes to the way we support As well as giving an excellent overview of what our OpsCop team did, we set out some broad changes that we intended to make. Read about how support has changed over the year.

  2. Halving my GitHub Pages Build Time

    An explanation of how I halved my website's build/deploy process using a mix of actions optimisations and the new GitHub Pages Custom Actions beta. Read about the optimisations.

  3. Webmentions for your Static Site

    Response Icon

    A small dive into one of my new favourite web technologies: webmentions. This post talks through how I use them to make my static website feel more alive and social. Learn how to send and receive webmentions on your static website.

  4. Organising a virtual treasure hunt as a team social

    A slide from our presentation, it contains an image of a treasure chest and the words “We’re going to take you on a treasure hunt to commemorate a pretty tough 365 days”

    The real treasures were the friends we made along the way. Read about how we built a fun virtual treasure hunt.

  5. I Like RSS

    A screenshot of the Audrey home page, showing unread entries from my feeds

    An explainer on RSS and feed readers, a history of my reading habits over the years, and Audrey – a new open source project that will hopefully encourage me to read more. Read a bit about web feeds.

  6. Yeehaw!

    Four horse racing emoji race across the screen from right to left, reaching the finish line in turn

    Way back in March this year, early on in lockdown, I had a burst of inspiration and built a silly game which you can play on Slack. I wanted to talk through the process I go through on the rare occasion when I start a side project. Saddle up.

  7. A New Home For Pa11y

    The Pa11y logo, a P character in multiple colours

    Pa11y has moved to a new organisation on GitHub. It's a time of change for the project, and the team is extremely excited about the future. Read about Pa11y's move.

  8. Writing a Friendly README

    A README is one of the first things people see when they find your open source project. It should be helpful, welcoming, and friendly. Learn how to write a loveable README.

  9. An Evolving Website

    2010 Design

    A short journey through iterations of my website, from 2010–2016, and all of the odd decisions I've made along the way. Come with me now on a journey through time and space.

  10. Complex Routing Logic with Thundermole

    An insight into how we run our Nature journals beta program using Thundermole. Learn about Nature's beta program.

  11. Accessibility Testing with pa11y

    The Pa11y logo, a P character in multiple colours

    An overview of using the pa11y accessibility testing tool to find issues with your web pages. Learn how to use pa11y.

  12. JavaScript for Beginners: Async

    An introduction to asynchronous JavaScript, part of a series on JavaScript for Beginners. Learn about async.

  13. Building CSSDB

    How I tackled the build of CSSDB over a weekend. Outlining my technological decisions, and how the site kept nice and snappy under heavy load. Read about CSSDB.

  14. Jekyll Site Redesign/Build

    I rebuilt my site with Jekyll, along with a small design refresh; it went so smoothly I thought I'd blog about it. Definitely something to consider if you're building a small site. Read about my site rebuild.

  15. Node.js Cluster and Express

    A simple tutorial on using Node.js 0.8+'s Cluster module with Express to dramatically improve app performance. Learn about clustering and express.

  16. The Mixed Blessing of Ambition

    I love being ambitious when it comes to development, but this quality can be a double-edged sword. Ease yourself into the bigger projects. Read my thoughts on ambition.

  17. How to Sell Technology

    The dressing up of technology in advertising doesn't work for me. I like to know how the product looks, feels and works in as short a time as possible. The same applies to web design. Read about selling technology.

  18. Why I Built Another CSS Grid

    A screen-grab of the Frag website

    Building yet another grid system could be seen as bloating an already-bloated landscape; but sometimes, rolling your own tools is one of the best things you can do. Read about Frag.

  19. Accessibility: Beyond the Screen-Reader

    Web accessibility isn't just about catering for blind users. In this post, we talk about the other users we need to consider in order to make the web accessible to all. Read about accessibility.