Christian Heilmann

Here is where developers perish…

Friday, May 5th, 2023 at 8:15 am

And that’s a wrap. I recorded my last video in the German LinkedIn Learning video course on “Browser developer tools for non-developers”. My favourite stumbling block over the course of the last few days was me starting a sentence with “Und hier verwenden Entwickler:innen…” (“…and here is where developers use…”) and making a pig’s ear out of it by saying “Und hier verenden Entwickler:innen” (“and here is where developers perish”).

Impressions of shooting the video. Microphones, the big greenscreen and the prompter. Chris Heilmann with a microphone around his neck

I will now do some demo recordings of an English version of the course we will offer LinkedIn US, so fingers crossed that this will be taken on. I think there is a lot of good in explaining the power people have over the web we are given if they know what they can do using tools built into their browsers.

We don’t need to click through annoying, redirecting overlays or wait for download buttons to become active in a minute’s time. We also don’t need to install dozens of extensions just to download some images or be able to control or download a video.

Demo screencast of ways to remove overlays and make inactive buttons clickable

A lot of these annoyances can be worked around using browser developer tools. Where this gets problematic is that developer tools are obviously built for developers, so they are not the most user-friendly. But I think that if you explain the basics and show people how to use them, they can be a great help.

And maybe it is a good thing to ask non-developers to give browser makers more feedback that a design-by-committee, let’s-add-another-tool-why-not approach to developer tools design isn’t the best idea to start with. I’ve tried hard to make browser developer tools more approachable the last three years and we had some successes. Now we need others to follow suit and re-think tooling.

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