Dynamically Populating Wufoo Form Fields Using Javascript

Wufoo is a great form service. Not only is the build interface quick and easy to understand, it works well for statically hosted sites such as this. However, unlike the traditional embedded forms we all know, it’s not readibly obvious how to dynamically modify field data such as a username, or some info about the visitors environment. Luckily they provide a couple of different ways to do this.

HigherEd RWD Update

Twenty-fourteen saw an addition of 89 institutions (see the list below) to the HigherEd RWD directory, bringing the total to 252. So how is higher-ed stacking up to the industry as a whole? According to a HTTP Archive report, the average industry page weight in 2014 increased by 15% to 1.95 MB, with an average of 95 requests. So while the total number requests are lower, the average size for higher-ed sites (desktop) is nearly half a megabyte larger than the rest of the industry.

2014 Web Development Highlights

This was quite a year for web development. It seemed like every week there was a new framework or tool appearing on the scene. Below are what I consider the highs and lows of web development in 2014.

DIY Standing Desk

I like to stand. Not for any specific reason, just in general. If I’m left to my own devices when eating at home, I’ll stand in the kitchen or walk around the house while eating (much to wife’s chagrin). Pretty much anywhere I can get away with standing over sitting, I will. Maybe it’s because for my entire professional career, I’ve had to sit for 8-10 hours every day, that when I wasn’t “at a computer”, I opted to stand. So four years ago when I started reading about the health benefits of standing, I took to it immediately.

Terrible Trends

Web design goes through trends. Web development goes through trends. It happens. We find something that works, or we see something we like, and it gets copied and propragated around the web. I’ve lamented some practices such as scroll-jacking, and commented about how ineffective carousels can be. I’ve never done the former, the latter… way too many times. But there are recent trends centered around trying to get a visitors information, interaction, or increasing ad impressions that have become downright frustrating. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’m to the point that if a site employs one of the following “trends”, I will leave immediately and not come back.

Social Media Click Stats

Today Luke Wroblewski asked: “What % of page views or visitors click on the Twitter or Facebook button on a page? Who’s willing to share some data?”. I shared some initial stats in the conversation, but I figured I’d pull some actual percentages to share with the dear reader.

The 13 Foot Website

A photo from BDConf San Diego (July 2013) has popped up here and there on the web in the months following, most recently in An Event Apart Flickr set. Quite often, as in this case, it is lacking context around what’s actually being depicted. The photo shows a responsive website printed out at the width of an iPhone. The reason it’s notable is because the result is a rather long website. However, this depiction of the site doesn’t actually get served to mobile devices.

Lessons learned from my first semester of teaching

About a year and a half ago I started researching the web development offerings at Notre Dame and found that there wasn’t a basic web development course. There were courses covering web design, javascript, mobile application development, and others, but nothing that covered the basics of getting into semantic HTML, CSS, and RWD. Taking a bit of a chance, I reached out to several departments to see if any of them would be interested in a new course. I received a fairly quick response from the Computer Applications Program and we quickly put together a plan to offer a course titled “Introduction to Web Development”.