Using rel=”preconnect” to establish network connections early and increase performance

Milica Mihajlija:

Adding rel=preconnect to a <link> informs the browser that your page intends to establish a connection to another domain, and that you’d like the process to start as soon as possible. Resources will load more quickly because the setup process has already been completed by the time the browser requests them.

The graphic in the post does a good job of making this an obviously good choice for performance:

Robin did a good job of rounding up information on all this type of stuff a few years back. Looks like the best practice right now is using these two:

<link rel="preconnect" href="">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="">

For all domains that aren’t the main domain you’re loading the document from.

A quick look at CSS-Tricks resources right now, I get:

That’d be 14 extra <link> tags in the first few packets of data on every request on this site. It sounds like a perf win, but I’d want to test that before no-brainer chucking it in there.

Andy Davies did some recent experimentation:

So what difference can preconnect make?

I used the HTTP Archive to find a couple of sites that use Cloudinary for their images, and tested them unchanged, and then with the preconnect script injected. Each test consisted of nine runs, using Chrome emulating a mobile device, and the Cable network profile.

There’s a noticeable visual improvement in the first site, with the main background image loading over half a second sooner (top) than on the unchanged site (bottom).

This stuff makes me think of (which just went v2), which is a fancy little script that preloads things based on interactions. It’s now a browser extension (FasterChrome) that I’ve been trying out. I can’t say I notice a huge difference, but I’m almost always on fast internet connections.

The post Using rel=”preconnect” to establish network connections early and increase performance appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

from CSS-Tricks…

The Pros and Cons of Building Websites with Third-Party Products

Like most industries, web design has changed quite a bit over time. In its early days, people put websites together using a very DIY process. Code was often written by hand in a simple text editor.

But as the industry evolved, so did the way we build sites. Many of the more manual portions of the process have been replaced by tools that bring added convenience and functionality.

For example, many designers prefer to use a CSS framework such as Bootstrap, rather than reinvent a new UI for each project. Likewise, it’s common practice to install a copy of WooCommerce as opposed to building a shopping cart from the ground up. Much like the assembly line forever changed the automotive industry, this massive array of available tools and assets have changed web design.

This power and convenience come with a lot of benefits. Yet, it can also put us into some very difficult situations. With that in mind, let’s explore the effect this has had on modern web design.

Rapid Development and Powerful Features

The old way of building websites was, even at it’s best, inefficient. Constructing everything from scratch (or even your own personal library of code) took up precious time and resources. Projects took longer to complete. Plus, complex functionality was beyond the reach of the average designer.

The fact that we now have at our disposal tens of thousands of free and low-cost pieces of software has leveled the playing field. It means that a solo freelancer can compete for bigger jobs or that a small-time developer can build something that could potentially be used by millions.

But it’s not just professionals who are benefitting. These days, even novices can clear these formerly formidable hurdles. For some, it might be as simple as installing an attractive WordPress theme and a selection of relevant plugins. Within a few hours, they can be selling their products and services online.

A large part of the design and development process is now picking and choosing which pieces we want …

UX Designers Will Love Phrase

Have you ever struggled with translation management across languages for a website project? It can be a complicated task to navigate. Phrase is designed to make it a lot easier, saving UX designers time and effort during website builds.

Phrase is a translation management solution for software products. It’s built with designers in mind, and their recently released Sketch Plugin can be incredibly helpful for anyone designing with multiple languages in mind.

We’re taking a look at the broad tool, as well as the new Sketch Plugin, and explaining how it works.

What is Phrase?

Phrase is a developer-centric localization tool that’s made to make translation easier for you and more seamless for users.

Developers, copywriters, designers, and project managers can all reap workflow benefits.

It’s a scalable solution that is rooted in an API that’s designed to fit all software localization processes. Phrase integrates with the API, plus other tools such as GitHub Sync so that it works with the requirements of localization teams around the world.

Phrase includes a translation editor so that you can work with the tool to ensure that translations are accurate and work in the proper context. Everything about the tool is designed to make your website or app seem like it was created in the native language of the user.

The tool is designed to make work for the creative team easier. Developers, copywriters, designers, and project managers can all reap workflow benefits from it with more streamlined processes.

More than 1,000 companies are already using Phrase for translation services, so you might have already interacted with this tool without even knowing it.

Key Features

Phrase is packed with features developers and the whole team will love for projects that need to be read and understood in multiple languages.

Key features include:

  • Developer-centric design with fast and reliable import and export for language files and support for more than 40 file formats
  • Strong API
  • Assignable jobs and tools within the app to manage projects
  • Real-time process monitoring, reporting, and statistics
  • Ability to set

Bounce Element Around Viewport in CSS

Let’s say you were gonna bounce an element all around a screen, sorta like an old school screensaver or Pong or something.

You’d probably be tracking the X location of the element, increasing or decreasing it in a time loop and — when the element reached the maximum or minimum value — it would reverse direction. Then do that same thing with the Y location and you’ve got the effect we’re after. Simple enough with some JavaScript and math.

Here’s The Coding Train explaining it clearly:

Here’s a canvas implementation. It’s Pong so it factors in paddles and is slightly more complicated, but the basic math is still there:

See the Pen
by Joseph Gutierrez (@DerBaumeister)
on CodePen.

But what if we wanted to do this purely in CSS? We could write @keyframes that move the transform or left/top properties… but what values would we use? If we’re trying to bounce around the entire screen (viewport), we’d need to know the dimensions of the screen and then use those values. But we never know that exact size in CSS.

Or do we?

CSS has viewport units, which are based on the size of the entire viewport. Plus, we’ve got calc() and we presumably know the size of our own element.

That’s the clever root of Scott Kellum’s demo:

See the Pen
Codepen screensaver
by Scott Kellum (@scottkellum)
on CodePen.

The extra tricky part is breaking the X animation and the Y animation apart into two separate animations (one on a parent and one on a child) so that, when the direction reverses, it can happen independently and it looks more screensaver-like.

<div class="el-wrap x">
  <div class="el y"></div>
:root {
  --width: 300px;
  --x-speed: 13s;
  --y-speed: 7s;
  --transition-speed: 2.2s;

.el { 
  width: var(--width);
  height: var(--width);

.x {
  animation: x var(--x-speed) linear infinite alternate;
.y {
  animation: y var(--y-speed) linear infinite alternate;

@keyframes x {
  100% {
    transform: translateX(calc(100vw - var(--width)));
@keyframes y {

Can you view print stylesheets applied directly in the browser?


Let’s take a look at how to do it in different browsers. Although note the date of this blog post. This stuff tends to change over time, so if anything here is wrong, let us know and we can update it.

In Firefox…

It’s a little button in DevTools. So easy!

  1. Open DevTools (Command+Option+i)
  2. Go to the “Inspector” tab
  3. Click the little page icon

In Chrome and Edge…

It’s a little weirder, I think, but it’s still a fairly easy thing to do in DevTools.

  • Open DevTools (Command+Option+i)
  • If you don’t have the weird-special-bottom-area-thing, press the Escape key
  • Click the menu icon to choose tabs to open
  • Select the “Rendering” tab
  • Scroll to bottom of the “Rendering” tab options
  • Choose print from the options for Emulate CSS media

In Safari…

Safari has a little button a lot like Firefox, but it looks different.

  1. Open DevTools (Command+Option+i)
  2. Go to the “Inspector” tab
  3. Click the little page icon

The post Can you view print stylesheets applied directly in the browser? appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

from CSS-Tricks…

Storage Concepts And Technologies Explained In Detail

Everything we interact and work on, creates data in the digital world. Whatever interactions we do in the computer world will leave data as the footprint. All the files, images, audio/video files that daily we...

The post Storage Concepts And Technologies Explained In Detail appeared first on OSTechNix.

from OSTechNix…

30+ Best Watercolor Photoshop Actions

Whether you’re designing a unique website background, a poster, sketch, or creating an artistic photo composition, using a watercolor Photoshop action can make your design stand out from the crowd.

A watercolor effect it’s not an easy effect to master when created from scratch. It takes a lot of work, time, and skill to achieve a realistic watercolor effect in Photoshop. The good news is that using a watercolor Photoshop action can help you skip the learning curve and experiment with a watercolor effect in just a few clicks!

In this collection, we’re featuring some of the best watercolor Photoshop actions you can use to turn your photos into watercolor art, craft amazing backgrounds, and do much more.

4 Tips for Choosing Watercolor Photoshop Actions

Before you start browsing our collection of watercolor actions, be sure to follow these tips to find the best Photoshop actions for your project.

1. Different Types of Watercolor Photoshop Actions

There are many different types of watercolor Photoshop actions you can use to create various effects and designs. For example, there are actions that create oil painting effects, grunge watercolor effects, sketch effects, and much more.

Depending on the style of the watercolor effect you want to create in your designs, you’ll have to be careful to pick the right actions for your images and illustrations.

2. Pick the Right Action for Your Designs

Picking the right action for your design is also a challenge when it comes to watercolor actions. Mostly because different watercolor actions are made for different types of images and photos.

You won’t be able to use the same Photoshop action to add a watercolor effect to a portrait photo and turn an ordinary landscape photo into a watercolor painting. You’ll need to find the appropriate action for each design.

3. Check for the Additional Resources

A Photoshop action alone can’t create an authentic watercolor effect. Usually, it requires many additional files such as unique patterns, textures, and brushes that aren’t available on Photoshop by default.

In such cases, your …

20 Freshest Web Designs, August 2019

This month we leap back to the culture of America circa 1969, dive into the oceans with whales, discover multiple approaches to pitching a design agency, get invited to festivals, and shop online the right way. Enjoy!


Kilotype’s awesome new site shows off its variable fonts with a clever mouse-track — move your cursor around the screen vertically and horizontally to see the full range of each family’s weight and italic.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The latest film from Tarantino is steeped in the culture of 1969, from the moon landing to Woodstock. This amazing promo-site does an incredible job of transporting you to a different era.

Wade and Leta

Wade and Leta are a partnership of talented art directors, whose offbeat sense of the absurd leads to some truly original and inspiring work. The homepage videos range from hilarious to bizarre.


If there’s one place I’d like to be right now, it’s floating around the coast of Menorca on beautiful traditional fishing boat, and that’s all thanks to this inspiring site for Balearic boat hire.

The Believer Magazine

The site for The Believer Magazine is charmingly counter-culture, with deceptively sophisticated typography and New Yorker-quality illustration. Exactly what you’d expect from a modern culture publication.

Cher Ami

Cher Ami’s site features plenty of engaging work, but it’s the little details that make this site special, like the way the menu flies out not-quite-square, and the hyperspace-style transitions.

Good Day

Good Day sells CBD-infused beverages from a tastefully minimal site. At roughly $6/drink, it’s not cheap, and this sophisticated site is ideal for positioning the company in the luxury consumables market.


Dice is a German music and arts festival. Its site features some incredible, generated organic shapes, with animated gradients to match, and the seamless eternal scroll is a delight.

Flatiron Collective

The Flatiron Collective site opens with animated illustration. It’s an eye-catching pitch for business, far into left-field from the usual agency promotional site, and doesn’t even showcase previous work.

Save Whales

Whales are among …

What Is Adobe After Effects (And What Is It Used For?)

Adobe After Effects is a video and animation-based tool that’s used to add elements to moving pictures and animations. Most designers use it to create titles, intros, and transition between clips for more seamless video production.

After Effects is part of the Adobe Creative Suite of products and is included in cloud plans. Full suite users already have access to this tool, or you can get it on its own if that’s all you need.

As with other Adobe tools, the great thing about using this set of tools is that functions and interacts have a look and feel that you are probably already used to, making it easier to learn on the fly.

Here’ a look at Adobe After Effects, what it is, and how to know if you should use it for projects.

What Is After Effects?

what is after effects

After Effects is a tool that’s used to create animation and motion graphics effects. Unlike Adobe Premiere Pro, which is more focused on video editing, After Effects is designed to help create all the cool extras that make your motion graphics shine.

The great thing about working with After Effects is that it works seamlessly with other Adobe tools

It’s used by a variety of creative professionals for film, TV, and video for websites and social media.

Like other Adobe tools, the great thing about working with After Effects is that it works seamlessly with other Adobe tools, and allows you to import and work with native files from other pieces of Adobe software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Character Animator, Adobe XD, and Animate.

Plus, it’s an award-winning tool. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed two Scientific and Engineering Awards to Adobe After Effects and Photoshop.

The best way to get started with the tool if you aren’t already using it is with Adobe help tutorials. They walk you through the basics and can help you better understand how and when to use After Effects versus other Adobe software when working on video projects. (many designers will find …

How to Insert a GIF Into PowerPoint

GIFs are more popular than ever right now and they can be a great way to add a touch of personality, character, or humor to your PowerPoint presentation. We’re going to quickly cover how to insert a GIF into PowerPoint in a few quick, easy steps!

Of course, you have to find the right image to use in a presentation. If you’re going for humor, aim for something short, punchy, and easy to read from a distance as well! If you’re using a GIF to explain a workflow in your app or product, try zooming in on the areas you’re getting people to look at.

Once you have your GIF sorted, here are the steps you need to focus on in order to insert your GIF into PowerPoint.

Choose the Slide to Add the GIF To

First up, choose the slide you’d like to add your GIF to. Make some space for it to fit in with your design, and think about the type of background and style you’ll use to ensure that it stands out.

You should consider the option of a full-screen GIF as well, creating a slide dedicated to it. Nothing creates a big, bold impact like a full-screen GIF!

Download Your GIF + Open File Picker

It’s best to download your GIF to your computer (by right-clicking the image and selecting “Save Image As…”). This means you’re not relying on the computer you present on having an internet connection, which is never a guarantee!

Browse the menu in PowerPoint to find the “Insert” tab. Choose “Pictures”, and then PowerPoint will ask you to choose the GIF that you’ve just downloaded.

Choose Your GIF

Now you will need to navigate to the location of your animated GIF and then click Insert or Open. This will drop it into the current slide. You can make some minor enhancements to the GIF if you’d like (things like adding a frame or border to make it stand out). Or, you can resize it to cover the full slide if that’s …