Building smart websites for small businesses

Tag: technical

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Based on the W3C's Web Notifications specification, here's a very useful service called Push.js which lets websites send timely messages to site visitors, whether on desktop or mobile. For example, let your visitors know when you add a new product or blog post, or use it to announce important, breaking news.

The latest version of HTML, HTML 5.1, has recently become a W3C Recommendation, which means we can expect to see some nifty new features available in our browsers quite soon (if they're not already available - the two examples I describe below are both implemented in my version of Firefox (v50.0.1)).

One new feature involves Context Menus, and introduces new elements <menu> and <menuitem>. With some simple markup we can now include links and options within a right-click context menu.

Another nice addition is elements for <details> and <summary>, which replaces functionality we had to resort to JavaScript to reproduce. All markup within a <details> section will automatically be hidden except the <summary> content. Then clicking the <summary> text will toggle the rest of the <details>.

Check out What’s New in HTML 5.1 for more info and working examples.

Cloudinary provide a service to let you manage your images (e.g. within a website admin). Using their simple JavaScript-powered API, you can crop, re-size, pixelate faces, add watermarks and all sorts of other manipulations before they get saved to their servers. With a selection of pricing options, there's plenty of scope to run a small business site for free.

When it comes to dealing with responsive images, it looks like Client Hints will be the defacto method for content negotiation in the near future. With support in Chrome and Opera, we're just waiting for Edge and Firefox to join the fray.

Gerry McGovern nails it in his new post Technology is neither magical nor neutral. He describes how buying technology, like a new Content Management System, isn't the answer to your business problems. Sticking your new content into a new system won't magically make it better or easier to understand by your customers; it takes careful management to get the most out of it. Well worth a read.

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