Reading List #1

👋 Hi there.

It has been quite the busy year and I completely neglected publishing anything on here. In an attempt to change this, I thought I could start to share some of the things I read throughout each week. And maybe this act of writing regularly will be the motivation I need to finish some of the posts I accumulated in my drafts over the last couple of months.

This week, we finally settled on a name and bought a domain name for a yet-to-be-launched new project we are working on for a while, and which I’m very excited about! While working on that, I learned a ton about CSS custom properties and SVG animation. Also, I finally managed to get ahead with the development of our new email functionality for picu, which is long overdue and coming together nicely.

Let’s jump right into it.

Frontend Development

A Complete Guide to Custom Properties

This week I was using CSS Custom Properties in a real project for the first time, and this post by Chris Coyier helped a lot to get me started. If you want to know more about and are just starting to use custom properties, read this post.

CSS-Tricks – A Complete Guide to Custom Properties

Parallax Powered by CSS Custom Properties

Jhey Tompkins wrote about a clever usecase for CSS custom properties on CSS-Tricks. In this case he builds a parallax effect powered by custom properties. Would be cool to extend it to use the accelerometer on mobile to control the animation, instead of mouse/touch.

CSS-Tricks – Parallax Powered by CSS Custom Properties

SVG Properties and CSS

There’s several ways you can use CSS to style and modify SVG elements. But there are also limitations and it can be tricky to find out which properties can be styled by CSS and which cannot. Katherine Kato does a great job in explaining the various elements and properties and how SVG and CSS work together. The article on CSS-Tricks is from 2019, but it’s still up to date as far as I can tell and a very good reference.

CSS-Tricks – SVG Properties and CSS

Using JavaScript with SVG

I was building/refactoring some interactive SVG charts this week, and this post by Peter Collingridge helped me to get started with the JavaScript parts of it.

Peter Collingridge – Using Javascript with SVG

In Defense of a Fussy Website

Sarah Drasner about her love of Fussy Websites, where people take the time and care to be thoughtful in detailed execution. This post resonated with me a lot. I’m still quite “ok” with how the design on this very site turned out, but have a few ideas for some touches to make it a bit more playful in the future.

CSS-Tricks – In Defense of a Fussy Website

Create Your Own SSL Certificate Authority for Local HTTPS Development

Getting SSL certificates to behave for local installations was always a bit of a hassle. Right now I’m using self-signed certificates MAMP Pro provides out of the box, but this still needs the additional clicks to get all my browsers to trust a certificate, everytime I setup a new site. This tutorial on how to become your own little certificate authority sounds surpsisingly easy. Guess I’ll have a look into this next time I set up my dev environment on a new machine.

Delicious Brains – Create Your Own SSL Certificate Authority for Local HTTPS Development


Updating a local WordPress website from the live server

As many others, for a very long time we used plugins to backup and migrate most WordPress sites from live to local and vice versa. While this works quite well most of the time, you created this “overhead” of having to install and maintain (or uninstall) plugins on client sites. While we researched ways to better integrate and automate our own backup and migration processes, we recently played around with some shell & WP-CLI scripting ourselves. This post by Mark Howells-Mead would have come in handy to get started.

Mark Howells-Mead – Updating a local WordPress website from the live server

Silvan Hagen – Schlaufux, From WordPress to TALLStack

After many months without WP Meetups in Zurich (did we even do one in 2021?) it was nice that Nick, Pascal and Silvan managed to organize an End-Of-Year meetup this week! It was great to see everyones faces – even tough it was only on a screen.

Pascal talked about what’s coming in WP 5.9 and Silvan did a presentation about how they rebuilt from scratch using the TALLStack, and about the challenges migrating it from WordPress to Laravel. It was very interesting to get some insights into the decisions and thinking behind a project like this.


Next year, we will be crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid. Seriously.

SpaceX just launched a NASA spacecraft with the sole purpose of crashing it into a 160m wide asteroid, September 22nd next year. The goal is to find out if and how we could change an asteroids path to earth, if such a threat would come in the future.

A senior launch director of the program was quoted saying “We’re smashing into an asteroid.” and “I can’t believe we’re doing this.”

Science is great.

CNBC – SpaceX is launching a NASA spacecraft that will crash into an asteroid

Wikipedia – DART / Double Asteroid Redirection Test

🙌 Thanks for reading!

Made with ❤️ in Switzerland