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”.

From 2.4 MB down to 400 KB

It’s been fairly well documented that the average size of webpages has been growing by leaps and bounds, with images making up the majority of the size. Based on my own stats for 160+ HigherEd responsive sites, images account for 73% of the total download. And when you’re dealing with a long-form page like www.ND.edu, images can account for even more (92% to be exact). In a situation like this, finding ways to cut down on the number of images, or deferring the loading of images, can result in a huge impact on not just the download size, but load-time as well.

Flash is Dead. Long Live Flash!

If you’ve been doing web development for a while, you’ve no doubt worked with Flash. It was amazing in its heyday, allowing us to do things we couldn’t do with vanilla html/css/javascript. But like many technologies in the web, it was abused and used it ways it shouldn’t have, or were just plain obnoxious (Flash splash pages anyone?). But it wasn’t until the iPhone shipped without Flash support that most of us started to doubt its longevity.


In a recent discussion on Twitter, I was asked which podcasts I listen to. Since the list wouldn’t fit into a 140 character tweet, I figured I’d post the list here in case it would help others find new shows.

Google Chromecast

I’m a big fan of the AppleTV, so when Google announced the Chromecast for $35, I was immediately intrigued. The first thing you need to know is that it will not replace your AppleTV (if you have one). It has nowhere near the features of Apple’s $99 hobby device, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.

The Numbers Behind HigherEd RWD - June 2013

Back in January I posted numbers gathered from the HigherEd RWD Directory. The size of the list has more than doubled since then. The bad news? Almost every number has increased (that’s a bad thing). Additional stats since last report includes image count, size and percentage of page weight.

On a side note. Last June the directory had 16 entries. Over the course of the year we added 100 responsive/adaptive sites.