In this first installment of Friday Four, I commend to your attention four hand-curated items from around the Web in which developers will take a keen interest.
This roundup of recent blog posts and news stories may become a regular feature of Develop in the Cloud, given sufficient interest. For the concept I must tip a hat to Ron Miller, whose collection of five links for developers and IT pros runs weekly on Ness.com.
The Mona Lisa in pure CSS
Jay Salvat crafted an image of the Mona Lisa in CSS -- to be exact, he used 7,574 box shadows in an otherwise empty <div>. This was accomplished with the help of a PHP tool he wrote for the purpose. Front-end guru Paul Irish pointed out that Salvat's code was in fact an implementation of a technique described by Joshua Hibbert last August in his post Drawing Things with Box-Shadow. (Hibbert reminds readers not to use this technique in production, as box-shadow runs slowly in some browsers.) Coincidentally, this week archaeologists announced that they may have discovered the remains of Leonardo's model for the Mona Lisa, Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, at the convent of St. Ursula in Florence, Italy.
A long-term career in programming
Is software development a young person's game? "Recovering programmer" James Hague recalls when he was first asked the question "Do you really want to be doing this when you're 50?" and he had to stop and think hard about it. He recalls the pressures of "trying to come up with a working solution in a problem domain that you don't fully understand and don't have time to understand." In the end he reluctantly concludes that "large scale, high stress coding" is a job for the young. He still builds things, but no longer for others and no longer for pay.
A software architecture cheat sheet
Jacob Gorban undertook a little research project in an effort to tune up his architecture skills. His goal was to be able to write down on a single sheet of paper a number of principles he wanted to keep front-of-mind as he embarked an a major new software project. Here is the result (PDF). His blog post elaborates on the bare list, which includes: Orthogonal? How independent is this? Testable? How will I test this? Is there another way? Having only one idea is dangerous. What are the facts and assumptions?
The Web history timeline project
John Allsopp, co-founder of the Web Directions conference series, is putting together a timeline of Web history. Here is a form you can fill out if you have contributions to suggest. So far the 2000s are a bit sparse compared to the 1990s. The project is based on Verite's Timeline.js library.