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Zach Saucier's thoughts

  • How to learn anything

    I’ve learned there is one surefire way to become good at practically anything:

    Surround yourself with people who are better than you and material that is beyond your understanding — the more advanced the better.

    This is not something new to you; you know it well, even if you don’t think so. We all know how to become better at something, but we’re lazy. So, today I hope to provide reasons to not be lazy about it.

    There is no better teacher than experience.

  • Why I still contribute to StackOverflow

    I’m still a relative newcomer to the programming and web development world. I started actively doing web stuff including programming and design around the time I started using StackOverflow, 22 months ago at the time of writing this.

    StackOverflow helped me get my base foundation doing web stuff when I didn’t have a teacher around to guide me (which, looking back, I’m thankful for). I thought of things differently then and was unaware of techniques that I know now. Having people answer specific questions I had and getting help applying them to my situation helped me understand the thought behind the concept as well as reduced the time it took to find the answers myself.

    StackOverflow was a big part in landing my first internship and

  • Why not use HTML tables for layout?

    Why should I not use a table for my layout?

    This question has been discussed on Stack Overflow as well as many other sites. I’ll summarize the main points here.

    We should use tables, but only for tabular data because it is incorrect, and more difficult to use tables for layout.

  • Why JavaScript instead of Flash?

    Nowadays I see that the majority of websites are using JavaScript for their animations. I remember the days when Flash was usually used to fulfill those tasks.


    1. What are the advantages of using JavaScript instead of Flash? Yes I know about the performance, but are the other advantages?
    2. Web developers could use JavaScripts at that point in time, why did they choose Flash anyway?
  • What is the most efficient way to modify DOM elements and limit reflow?

    When working with a very dynamic UI (think Single Page App) with potentially large JS libraries, view templates, validation, ajax, animations, etc… what are some strategies that will help minimize or reduce the time the browser spends on reflow?

    For example, we know there are many ways to accomplish a DIV size change but are there techniques that should be avoided (from a reflow standpoint) and how do the results differ between browsers?

    It’s best to try and avoid changing DOM elements whenever possible. At times you can prevent reflow at all by sticking to CSS properties or, if required, using CSS’ transforms so that the element itself is not affected at all but, instead the visual state is just changed.