Tools for finding kodsmuts

In total I’ve been speaking about Kodsmuts three times this spring. Last time was in Gothenburg at Drupal Camp. I got a question on Twitter after my session from @vincic who wanted to know if I used any special tools to find Kodsmuts. I realized the answer was too long for a tweet and promised to blog about it. This is me fulfilling that promise. Sorry it took a while.

Now I don’t really think I use any fancy tools to check web sites so don’t be disappointed. I’m just going to tell you the way it is. Here it goes.


For you lazy people with no time. Here is a TL;DR. Everyone else move on. Some of the so-called tools I use to review web sites includes view source on a desktop browser and using a js-bookmarklet on my phone. Dev tools in Chrome is great for minified resources and for debugging. My keyboard, VoiceOver, Contrast Ratio and Color Oracle for basic a11y-testing. And of course Google to check some SEO.

Viewing Source

The most common way for me to review a web site. I view source. On a desktop it’s pretty easy. I hit Cmd+Alt+U in Chrome on my Mac and I got the Dev Tools, Cmd+Alt+I, to see the generated source. On my phone a got a nifty little bookmarklet with the following JavaScript:


I did add line breaks to make it more readable but if you’d like to use it you better remove the line breaks.

Viewing Minified Resources

Nowadays a lot of resources like CSS and JavaScript are minified. This makes them really hard to read. To get around this I usually check if the file has a “min” in the filename, like scripts.min.js. If it has there are a good chance you can get to the original file by removing the “min”. Otherwise I often visit Dirty Markup (Maybe because I find the name somewhat appealing). You also got the pretty print-button in Dev Tools in Chrome which are pretty useful.  Dev Tools is of course also great for debugging.


I often use VoiceOver if I suspect something is off. It’s a real good tool to see if the page is logic and not full of hidden things that might destroy the user experience. Cmd+F5 to open up VO and Ctrl+Alt+A to go through it all and Tab for jumping between links. Easy. Now of course VO is for Mac only. If you are on Windows use NVDA.


To check contrast nowadays I use Lea Verous Contrast Ratio site. I used Jonathan Snooks  tool before. As for color blindness I got a nifty tool called Color Oracle which is very simple but I think it’s good enough for quick checks.


I check the most common things with my keyboard like if the tabbing feels logical and if it’s obvious where on the page I got my focus.


I often use Google to search for things related to a web site to see how they do when it comes to SEO. Do I get good hits? Is the description good enough? If not what might be he reason? I know a lot of web developers think SEO is kind of shady business. But many sites get most of their visitors from Google so you need to check this.

That’s it folks. Keep it clean and healthy out there!

Please View Source

I’m hitting these keys out of habit. They are Cmd + Alt + U in Chrome on a Mac. Ctrl + U in Firefox on a Windows-machine. This is kind of a hobby to me. I’m talking about viewing the source.

It’s probably why I got obsessed with #kodsmuts to begin with. I’m seeing a lot when I view the source. A lot of mistakes and bugs. The thing that often hits me is that it seems like many of them are just simple mistakes. Somebody forgot to remove something or add something or didn’t know that weird thing was duplicated. Common things are missing headers, dead links to JavaScripts, duplicated links to css and a very common one: meta content=”width=device-width” even though your site clearly isn’t responsive. A lot of things is not visible to the eye. But as we all know the beauty of a web site isn’t only what’s on the outside.

It seems to me that we are not viewing the source of the web sites we are working on enough. So I now urge everyone to at least start checking the most common page types before you put things into production. Check each element and make sure you know what it’s doing and why it’s there. If you are not sure ask your colleagues.

Let us stop making these stupid mistakes!

Avoiding Kodsmuts – The List

During the past weekend my mind was occupied with what to not forget for a site that’s not too far from launching. No, I don’t mean raw functionality. I mean those little things. The things that no client will ask for but most people will be expecting to just be there. Without those things your site would be a big buggy mess so let’s get it clean.
Here is the list!

Working links

Sounds obvious but I noticed that a lot of new sites are failing at this. Of course it’s not enough to just click randomly and have a feeling that you got it covered. Have a real tool (there are free ones) go through your site and report back.

Old content

If the launch of your new site means you are going to dump old content you should make sure you got that covered with some 301. Links can live for a pretty long time in peoples bookmarks and on Google.


Having default server-error pages are simply embarrassing and some people might even think they broke something if they come by one. The default .NET-error-page for one looks like you just got a virus.
A minimum of at least a 404 and a 500-page that fits the look and feel of the site and have some good informative text is a must.


Save the trees. Yep. But as for today your site will seem broken with bad usability if you can’t print it without losing content. Add some print-styling just in case. If you want to go a step further add a print-link on your site and display some tree-saving message when people click it. Or offer to convert the site to a pdf. Yea, dirty. I know. But that is how it is.


Screens are not what they use to be. Make sure to have it covered. Icons and other images must look crisp. You will be looked down on if they do not. And remember it’s not only min-device-pixel-ratio 2.0. We also have 1.3, 1.5 etc. Read up on it!

Phones and tablets

I don’t care if you are building responsive or an old-fashioned “desktop”-site. People will visit it with whatever device they got. There are no excuses today for not testing on multiple devices.


You probably did cover the most common desktop browsers already and hopefully you did match your test with some stats from a current site. But don’t forget the new browsers that are starting to gain popularity. I’m thinking Chrome on iOS and Firefox on an Android-device. Probably these browsers are way outdated when people read this but you get the point. Do your research!


Add them all. To rely on the browser default-icon is just unprofessional. An old-fashioned .ico and a .png at least. If you add some for apple-devices and others you are being good.

Meta description

You know that text that shows up on Google beneath the link? That’s hopefully your meta description. If the text makes no sense at all you probably forgot to add one. Because if you didn’t Google pick random (not really) text for you. Worse case the text might look like spam and people will avoid visiting your site.

Page titles

Make sure they are descriptive. The way I prefer it is putting the title of the page first and after that the title of the site.


Are they logical? The should be readable and not a kilometer long with weird parameters. Try making it as clean as possible.


Sharing on Facebook is another thing that many people think just works out of the box. It doesn’t. To make a shared page looking good and not displaying weird stuff you need to uglify the head of your page with some og. Don’t know what og is? Read up on it!


Another thing that people think comes by default. If you have any kind of blog or even some news-list you need to make sure there are some RSS-feed that people can pick up. Make sure to not just add it but also test it! A site with updates that you can’t subscribe to in some way is broken.


This always sounds soo much cooler than it is. Texts for robots! (Huge robot wandering the earth picking up pieces from text with instructions from humans…) Anyway. Make sure this one is correct! It’s important! (As @uppderdog can tell you…)

Updated libraries

Maybe you started working on your site a couple of months ago. Maybe the libraries you included back then where really fresh. Do a double-check that they are still up to date. You don’t want to miss out on bug-fixes and new functionality. And when I’m at it make it a habit to always look for updates every time you touch the site in the future.


Do test with a screenreader. No, it’s not something that you can just skip. If you’re on a Mac you have it built in. If you’re on Windows you can download NVDA for free. No excuses! Test!

View source the site

How does it look? Correct headers? Use of markup? Dirty comments gone? The previous test with screenreader will do a lot to improve the result of this test.


A feature yesterday. A must today. Without stats how can you tell how people uses your site? More importantly, how can you improve it? Include Google Analytics or the like. In a smart way.


Another thing that’s easy to forget. I’m talking of an xml sitemap. Help them crawl your site.

Optimize images

Make sure your users aren’t downloading unnecessary things. Smush and optimize where you can. Talk to the people putting in content (if it’s not you) and tell them how to save images in a optimized way.

Minified resources

Kind of like the song of Monty Python every request is sacred. It’s not ok to have multiple scripts and stylesheets. Fix your build-process so that it takes care of concatenating and minifying your resources.


Add it where it’s logical. Make a plan for it.

Total pages size

Go through your pages. Is it possible to cut down on something somewhere? Did you miss anything?

Performance in general

Check Google Page Speed and YSlow. If the site doesn’t get a good score fix it.

External resources

A lot of cool things (like fonts) can now be included via an external library. You just put a link in the head. Well if you do you better be pretty sure that that resources loads and that it loads fast. Otherwise your users will be stuck with a blank page. We all know that the browser takes a break when it comes by a script in the header. I, personally, wouldn’t want to rely on an external resource being loaded. Please do an extra check for this!

Validate your HTML

Sounds old school? The reason that it will impress other people is, well, old. But validating is still a good tool to spot errors.

Lint your JS and your CSS

Same here. Spot the errors and defects. Fix them.

Colors and contrast

Do some tests. If you can get hold of a real person having some sort of colorblindness and/or bad sight: even better! Don’t forget to do a crappy screen test! It’s real dangerous to have a screen that is a little too good when you are making a site for other people.

Proof read your code

Don’t just clean the site on the outside. Do it inside out. Remove old bad comments. Add new where it’s needed. Make sure things make sense, refactor. Remember that clean and logical code will help your site get fast updates in the future.


Yea, I know lumping things together here. But do a general test. Check alt-attributes. Is it easy to navigate with the keyboard? Do some checks and remember that accessibility changes constantly and it’s not just about a checklist and being trippel-A.

Read the content

Last but not least. Read the content. As many times as you got time. Sloppy and misspelled content is just so euuuuw.

Longest list. But I didn’t just write it for you. I actually wrote it to remind myself.
Let’s act like pros people ^.^

The Best Thing a Frontend Developer Can Think of

Yesterday I stumbled across this post by Joakim. Yea, I know it’s in swedish. It talks about the bank Resurs Bank who are in the process of building a new site. They are going responsive and they are building it on WordPress. They are not the first bank to use WordPress (Handelsbanken is also doing it) but I believe that in Sweden they are pretty unique for using it for their main site. I’ve been looking through some swedish bank sites lately and it’s not pretty. (SEB frames, seriously? It’s 2012. Did you know?) So to this project as a whole I’d say: way to go and bravo!

But Joakim also wrote another thing: “Sure you don’t build backend in WordPress but as a frontend developer it’s hard to think of anything better”. Ok, now, here I do disagree. I don’t think WordPress is the best thing I can imagine. Sure I would pick it a thousand times over Sharepoint but there are problems. One of them is quite clearly visible in the beta of Resurs Bank:

<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript'>
/* <![CDATA[ */
var knowledgebankAjax = {"ajaxurl":"http:\/\/\/wp-admin\/admin-ajax.php","knowledgebankNonce":"429ccf278e"};
/* ]]> */
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript'>
/* <![CDATA[ */
var feedbackAjax = {"ajaxurl":"http:\/\/\/wp-admin\/admin-ajax.php","feedbackNonce":"af70f522c1"};
/* ]]> */
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript'>
/* <![CDATA[ */
var __pluginAjaxRoot = {"url":"http:\/\/\/wp-content\/plugins\/\/ajax\/"};
/* ]]> */
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>

This is not all the js. But still. Pretty hefty. WordPress often rely on plugins and a lot of them add js or links to js in the header or (if a bit better configured) in the footer. Yea, sure there are ways around it like WP Minify But uhm, it’s still not the best thing I can think of. I rather have a good concatination/minification process setup that caches my resources and are NOT run on page load.

Ok, so I could go on and point out more problems like having to try to figure out how to override the default-classes set by WordPress and so on. But well, I won’t do that. After all this blog is live because of WordPress.

Now I know you’d want me to point out my own favorite among technologies for building a web site. And as a frontend dev I say static files with some good build-scripts and server-side configuration. Yes, I’m serious. But I also know it’s an impossible setup for any site that needs server-side integration or some kind of CMS. So what then? As for me I’d say any framework that is clean. That doesn’t include random js on demand or add classes, extra markup or CSS. Right now I’m hoping for Django. The future will tell if that’s the best thing I as a frontend developer can think of.

Dirty scripts, y u using global variables?

This week I got an angry tweet from @peter_lind. He was complaining about the use of global variables in almost every tracking script. I would say ad-scripts are just as bad. If not worse. I mean take a look at this little bastard:

<!-- OAS SETUP begin -->
			<script type="text/javascript">
			OAS_url = '';
			OAS_sitepage = 'unt/start';
			OAS_listpos = 'Bottom1,Top,x80,x20,x60,Position1,Left1,Left2,Position3,Top2,Position2,x62,x01,x02,x03,x04,x05,x06,x07,x08,x09,x10,x11,x12,x83,Bottom';
			// '';
      OAS_query = 'keyword=' + escape(location.pathname +;
			OAS_target = '_top';
			//end of configuration
			OAS_version = 10;
			OAS_rn = '001234567890'; OAS_rns = '1234567890';
			OAS_rn = new String (Math.random()); OAS_rns = OAS_rn.substring (2, 11);
			function OAS_NORMAL(pos) {
				document.write('<a href="' + OAS_url + '' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '!' + pos + '?' + OAS_query + '" target=' + OAS_target + '>'); 
				document.write('<img src="' + OAS_url + '' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '!' + pos + '?' + OAS_query + '" border="0" /></a>'); 
			<script type="text/javascript">
			OAS_version = 11;   
			if ((navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/3') != -1) || (navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/4.0 WebTV') != -1))  
				OAS_version = 10; 
			if (OAS_version >= 11) 
				document.write('<scr' + 'ipt type="text/javascript" src="' + OAS_url + '' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '?' + OAS_query + '"><\/script>');//-->
			</script><script type="text/javascript">
			function OAS_AD(pos) {
				if (OAS_version >= 11)  
			} //--> 
			<!-- OAS SETUP end --> 

As you might have figured out I’ve taken this from The Ad-company is a common one used on a lot of big sites. People complained about them already back in 2010. Just look at this blog-post by Rob.

Let me tell you a story. A little bit over a year ago I was working on a site where they insisted on using AddThis. I really don’t like this sort of scripts but I guess I save that rant for another post. On the site I was also doing a component using Raphaël. All good. Or so I thought. But if I downloaded the minified version on Raphaël and put it together with AddThis I got a conflict. They were both using global variables! Bummer… Since then both of them have updated their scripts. Maybe/Hopefully cause people like me emailed them and complained.

But why are big companies still using global variables? Only explanation I can think of is that they think, just like Google Analytics (with global variable _gaq) that they are big enough to “own” a global variable. Cause they can’t be so bad that they don’t know how to do it better, no?
So please people producing js for the public: Do not pollute the global namespace! And no, do not think that if you are big enough it’s ok. You will never be that big.

Posting some kodsmuts

So let’s get down to the posting. I’m doing a test now with a syntax-highlighter cause it feels kind of inaccessible to post screenshots.

Here you see a part(!) of the links to external js-files ripped today from a big newspaper site here in Sweden. Guess which one? (No, not AB…)
Anyway it’s 2012. Steve Souder started to preach several years ago about cutting down on the requests but on big web sites it still looks like this. #kodsmuts!

<script src="/jquery/js/jquery-1.4.2.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.livequery.min.1.0.3.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.alerts.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/extensions.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/SiteRefresh.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.easing.1.3.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.cookie.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.nyroModal-1.6.2.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/NyroModalSettingsScript.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/GeoLocationSelector.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/WeatherControl.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/easyXDM.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/serviceplus.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/serviceplus-api.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery.cycle.all.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jquery/js/jquery-jtemplates.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/js/finhub.js?uniquekey=551568361" type="text/javascript"></script>