Securing Your Digital Life, Part 2: Using two-factor authentication (2FA)

Using strong passwords is a great first step in increasing the security of your online logins. But even with a password in place that can’t be easily guessed, an account is vulnerable to other types of attacks. One common scenario involves someone impersonating you and resetting your password to one they choose. The result is that they have access to your account, while you are locked out.  To defend against this type of attack, many web services allow you to set up two factor authentication (2FA).

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Securing Your Digital Life, Part 1: Choosing a password manager

Configuring and using a password manager is a critical building block of your online security.  Continue reading “Securing Your Digital Life, Part 1: Choosing a password manager”

The ins and outs of Fetch

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 28 Apr 6.18.28 PMAfter cutting my teeth on Ajax by writing code using XMLHttpRequest (XHR), the arrival of Fetch was like a sunny day after a week of rain. Although Fetch uses a now common pattern that has been replicated in a number of popular frameworks, it’s important to understand what Fetch can and can’t do, as well as which browsers support it and which don’t, in order to successfully roll it out in your own code.

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What is YAML and what’s it for?

yamlWhen you work with data on the modern web, you mostly likely work with JSON. Almost every web service offers a data stream in JSON, which has significant advantages over its predecessor, XML. With JSON, a simple JSON.parse() statement converts a data string to a JavaScript object, and from there accessing and manipulating the data with your code is fairly straightforward. Despite this ease of use, though, JSON doesn’t stand alone when it comes to exchanging data on the web today. Some sources still make XML available, either because they’re dated, or because they’re in a sector whose consumers expect XML. However, a smattering of other data formats are also part of the modern web, and it’s useful to become familiar with them. Once you have a working knowledge of JSON, one of the easiest related formats to get under your belt is YAML.

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Debugging JavaScript Code with Breakpoints (video)

An introduction to using breakpoints with JavaScript in browser debugging tools. Create and remove breakpoints, and understand their use in debugging.
Corresponds to pp. 245 – 250 in JavaScript, 6th Edition, published by Cengage Learning.

Basic HTML and CSS testing

I recently gave a lab presentation that led users through a few basic approaches to testing web documents and apps. I focused on the following five techniques that beginning front-end developers could do on their own computers for free:

  • Desktop browsers
  • Device simulators
  • Virtual machines
  • Synced devices
  • Web-based services

Keep reading for details and links on the tools we used.

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CSS Animation Resources

I recently presented on CSS animations at the Cengage Learning Computing Conference. Some useful resources for exploring this topic:

I also created a few gists to illustrate CSS transforms, transitions, and keyframe animations:

How to File a Browser Bug

As you build and debug more websites and web applications, eventually you’ll come upon an issue that is not a bug in your code, but a but in the code for a browser itself. Fortunately, most major browsers support bug reporting by developers, and provide public access to the state of each reported bug. To play a constructive role in the process:

  1. Do your research first. Any bug you find has likely already been reported by another developer.
  2. Follow bug reporting guidelines. For your bug report to be helpful, it’s important that you provide all the information necessary for browser makers to recreate and fix your bug.

More details below the fold.

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Web Search 101

The ability to use a search engine like Google or Bing effectively is a fundamental skill in today’s economy. With a vast array of reference materials and expert advice freely available online, the most valuable team members — across a wide variety of jobs — know how to quickly find accurate and reliable information.

Using search engines effectively encompasses three broad skills:

  1. Specifying the information you want
  2. Constructing a query
  3. Identifying reputable sources

Explanation and examples below.

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Getting Started with

Want to plug into but not sure how? My advice:

1. Answer new questions
2. Focus on your area of expertise
3. Keep at it

Details below the fold.

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