Introduction to PatternLab, a pattern-driven UI tool

I do consider PatternLab a mature tool, but its complexity might be overwhelming to many, both developers and designers, and if you have not investigated the topic of pattern libraries enough, it can cause more problems than those it solves.

This article is going to be the first of a series on PatternLab [PL], starting from the very basics and digging into much more detailed aspects of it.

Hurdles and joys of building a style guide

In my previous article, “CSS architectures for UI developers” I've tried to express how complicated is the situation surrounding the ideation, creation, and management of design systems for the web.

I worked with Atomic Design and the PatternLab tool on at least 3 major projects, most notably during my period at Sainsbury’s in introducing and creating from scratch the style guide for the now defunct Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Line, helped the Groceries on Line team in getting their own style guide sorted, and supervised as a technical advisor the initial creation of the global Sainsbury’s style guide, project Luna.

In this article, I’d like to highlight some of the problems we solved in using a pattern library, and more importantly, some of the problems I’ve encountered in the first of these projects, by creating a pattern library for a legacy project.

CSS Architectures for UI developers

Writing good CSS (or whichever sub-flavour) requires a good level of experience.
In this moment of time, we are still trying to figure out the best way to scale CSS allowing maintainability and readability without sacrificing performance and ease of use.
Some good practices first, then methodologies and systems have been created. Learning, if not mastering them will allow you to approach any CSS framework or library, being it legacy or open source and create new ones with - still relative, ease.

Making a website shouldn't be that difficult

Or so I thought.

NASA Personal Life Support SystemWhat my website plan looked like - © NASA Archives: blueprint for the Personal Life Support System.

I’ve just released my new portfolio at this redesign started two years ago, with more or less 3 months non-stop of work during any spare time I had.
I’ve tried to put into it as many good practices and methodologies I could, only those that were fit for purpose and could help me ship something that would be extensible and as much future-proof as possible. Do you want to build your website too? Read through before you lose your mind.

Design, develop, repeat.

It's been a while since I've started learning and integrating UX and RWD into our products.

I come from a graphic background, and my first passion when I stepped into the web development was what was then called web design. From there I’ve also been a lot into engineering and I’m currently employed as a position where front-end development has started to be deeply intertwined with visual design. UX and RWD being one of the most important movements, if you want to call them so, in getting things right.

Nonetheless I keep seeing companies and teams struggling to achieve that.
Do we just have the solution to a problem we don’t know?

CodeCeption introduction and use in Yii

I've spent some sleepless nights and stressful days trying to understand why the latest versions of PHPUnit won't work anymore on any of our dev boxes. It almost drove me mad.
It was like chasing a ghost: you fix one thing, you think everything should now work, you try again, then: SBAM! Another error is bitch-slapping you some truth in your face. Iterate over a dozen times and you'll know how I felt.
This was my state until I found about CodeCeption.

Walking the Kanban way

Since I've started working in my current company, I've been researching, learning and mentoring about proper project management, while trying to find the best solution that could work within a digital agency environment.
I come from a purely Agile environment, such as SCRUM and XP, and my first steps when our team started to grow have been in that direction.

In this article I'll try to expose what had let me choose Kanban over SCRUM or XP for our digital team.