I recently had the pleasure of attending Kathleen McMahon’s talk on Accessibility-flavored React components make your design system delicious!. Accessibility on the web has been a big topic in our office for a while. It’s a part of the web development skill set that often goes overlooked and it is something we can all work on being better at. Kathleen’s talk was two-fold. She showed us examples of what the web is like for users with adaptive needs and how we (designers and developers everywhere) are failing these users. It’s good to note that accessibility is not just screen readers. There are font sizing, zooming, contrast, and other issues to keep in mind. Then she gave us a look into good methods for constructing reusable react components with a focus on keeping the final output properly accessible. This was a refreshing glimpse into the problem and path forward with making the web usable for everyone.
Hacktoberfest is here to help make it easier to give back to the open-source projects and communities that help power our digital lives. To get started you need to register on their site, then start submitting quality PRs to any public GitHub repository. The first 50,000 participants that meet their four-PR threshold in October get a free t-shirt.
If you’ve had the opportunity to work on an app or website with a big push on TV then you’ve probably had the fun of dealing with the resulting traffic surge. Good planning, a focus on availability and scaling in your platform, and a responsive hosting provider can help a team cope with that type of visibility. But what if instead of an app or a website, the sudden traffic growth is at a small 10th century church on an islet in Spain?
The Basque islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe’s chapel in Bermeo, Bizkai which serves as the filming location for Game of Throne’s Dragonstone castle has seen a dramatic and possibly overwhelming increase in tourists this past summer. According to EL PAÍS at least 75,000 tourists visited the site in July, averaging out to 2,419 people per day that scaled the long slender stairs to reach the top. Local officials are dealing with plans on how to handle the increase in visitors while supporting their tourism economy, preserving the historical significance of the site, and maintaining the unique biotope that extends from Bakio to Cape Matxitxako.
This isn’t a new problem for the TV and film industry though. Other fan favorite locations such as Luke Skywalker’s island from the end of The Force Awakens or the Walsh family house that almost got sold off for a country club expansion have drawn similar attention.
Starting in 2013 as a speaking series by Ed Finkler, Open Sourcing Mental Illness is the largest 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to mental health in tech. They help to help shine a light on problems that have too long been a taboo discussion topic in the workplace. Since its inception Ed has given over 50 talks at conferences, meetups and corporate events spreading the message of OSMI. In addition to the talks, OSMI conducts research by polling the tech community to help gauge the attitudes towards mental health in the workplace and produces documentation to improve the workplace for those that suffer from mental health disorders.
Their 2017 fundraising campaign recently kicked off and they’re goal is to collect $50,000 to continue and expand their work.
In the spirit of giving back that accompanies the end of the year, a new project named 24 Pull Requests has launched with the goal of helping developers give back to open source projects. To use the site you login with your GitHub account and choose the languages you’re proficient with, then 24 Pull Requests provides you with a list of suggested projects that you can contribute to on GitHub.
So much of our, or at least my, digital life is made possible because of OSS. Whether it’s an act of good will or an effort to pad your résumé, contributing to the projects that make our professional and personal lives better is a great way to give back to the developer community.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” — Isaac Newton