#52 - Bits & pieces

Been a rough couple of weeks. Last Monday I tested positive for COVID after 2 and a half years of managing to dodge it. It hit like a tonne of bricks. I’m back on my feet now, but still feeling some lingering effects (especially getting fatigued much faster than before).

I’ve spent most of this week catching up on work that got backlogged as I spent last week in bed. So, this issue of Optimised will be a bit of a highlights package featuring some useful content that’s been doing the rounds recently.

Web performance

  • Free web performance course
    This course, by Scott Jehl, has been around for a while but was recently acquired by Scott’s employer Catchpoint (WebPageTest). The course has been updated, and made available for free over on the WebPageTest website. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Serve HTML for a faster website
    Staying over at WebPageTest for just a bit longer, Scott’s written up this great article that highlights the benefits of shipping HTML to the browser as opposed to relying on JS. He walks through how you can check the impacts of HTML vs JS delivery can have on a site using WebPageTest’s opportunities and experiments features.

Digital sustainability

  • Windows Updates are now carbon aware
    For all you Windows users out there, this is not insignificant, although I do wish they’d given it more air time in their update blog post. The Windows Update service is now carbon aware. This means that whenever possible, Windows will look to schedule updates to run at times of the day when more energy on your local grid is coming from renewables. Here’s a link to where it’s mentioned in the recent 2022 update blog post.
  • Learning about Jevons Paradox
    In the past week I’ve read a couple of posts that touch on Jevons Paradox. Simply put it is the observation that gains in efficiency in one technology can drive increased use and consumption in other parts of society. Tom Greenwood from Wholegrain Digital wrote a great piece explaining the paradox and how he thinks about it in terms of his business. Michelle Barker also wrote some thoughts on the topic after a recent trip to Smashing Conference in Freiburg.

Open-source projects

  • Upcoming updates to CO2.js
    There’s some big changes coming to the next release of CO2.js (set of October 3rd, 2022). We’re finally making the Sustainable Web Design model the default methodology of the library. We’re also introducing country-level grid intensity data into the library. Initially, anyone will be able to import the data into their projects to use as they need. In the long-term, this sets us up to start looking at how CO2.js itself can use more specific grid intensity data as part of its carbon estimates. I’ve made a short write up of the upcoming changes for anyone who’d like to know more.
  • Flowty is dead. Long live Flowty.
    You may remember Flowty - the project I started earlier this year to help designers create more sustainable sites with Webflow. Well, Flowty as a project is no longer actively being developed. Webflow recently forced the closure of other similar services that enabled optimisations to Webflow sites beyond those which Webflow provided. As a result, I put to bed any ideas of launching Flowty as a paid service. Instead, I have open-sourced the code on GitHub for anyone to use. In this way, I hope that the project can still be useful for anyone who wants to build sustainable sites but is limited to using Webflow.

The next issue of Optimised will be in your inbox on October 14th. The website has an archive of all previous emails. It's a good place to recap on anything we've covered, and also handy to share with friends or colleagues. As always if you've got any feedback or specific topics you want to be covered then just reply to this email.

Keep safe, stay well.