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It's been more than an year since I started attending TC39 meetings, and this most recent meeting felt much like the first, as I faced a new personal challenge: I went there as the acting chair.

TC39 is a group of almost 50 highly skilled professionals, each with very strong positions on the existing form and the future form of the language. While the skills and opinions are visible strengths, time management remains a challenge. While everyone has an opinion, everyone else has something to add or a concern to express. The discussion is dense. Sometimes it's hard to follow all of the work being done on each proposal presented to the committee, not only in the meetings, but on an everyday basis, so it's common to see some delegates who are specialized in specific topics. As the acting chair at this most recent meeting, I faced new responsibilities and lessons to be learned.

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A lineup of browser logos

The test showed up on my desk just like any other. There I was, working with Google's Web Platform Predictability team to find so-called "flaky" tests in the venerable Web Platform Tests project. I'd run a hundred or so at a time, over and over again, looking for any that reported inconsistent results. It was a bit like panning for gold, only my prize was more valuable than any precious metal: interoperability.

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Maybe you're not a "people person." It's not that you dislike other humans, but you recognize certain realities of your work. Your day job is maintaining a web application, after all, not carousing with your users. You know that accessibility is an important topic, but you haven't been able to find the time to learn more about it. Keeping the application running smoothly while your team adds features, fixes bugs, and re-designs is quite enough to worry about, thank you very much. That introduction to accessibility post has been open in a tab for the better part of a week, but the UI tests are failing again. Is it any wonder that "a11y" concerns take a back seat?

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Managing technical debt is such an important part of software development we include this goal in every contract we send out:

Reduce or eliminate technical debt.

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Do you know a bit of R and have some data you need to visualize quickly? In this blog post we take a look at Rstudio's Shiny package and the first steps toward creating a working interactive to explore your data with it.

What is Shiny?

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The Bocoup Data Visualization team will be at the Eyeo Festival in beautiful Minneapolis this week. We’re looking forward to learning, getting inspired, and meeting friends and colleagues from all over the world. If you’re attending too, be sure to say hello!

Meanwhile, we wanted to share some of our latest work:

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If you've had any contact with JavaScript code, you're probably very familiar with how to define and call functions, but are you aware of of how many different ways you can define a function? This is a common challenge of writing and maintaining tests in Test262—especially when a new feature comes into contact with any existing function syntax, or extends the function API. It is necessary to assert that new or proposed syntax and APIs are valid, against every existing variant in the language.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to contribute to a massive, meaningful effort: the open-source Web Platform Tests (WPT) project. My task was to improve WPT test coverage for areas of the HTML specification dealing with navigation —things like the details of loading new web pages, browsing around the web, and opening new windows.

I didn’t anticipate that I’d stumble onto a bug affecting several browsers that dates back nearly 20 years, in one of the most established areas of the HTML specification.

How Web Platform Tests make the web better

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On February 15, 2017 we had a screencast to talk about how to improve webpack build times by utilizing the new webpack HardSource plugin created by our colleague Z Goddard. This post contains the video of that event along with a transcript and visual aids.

If you're interested in learning more about webpack, check out our upcoming event list!

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A webpack loader is a Node module that tells webpack how to take some input content and transform it into output JavaScript. I often build one-off loaders to experiment or fulfill specific needs for projects—their most basic interface is simple, but can get a lot done. They can be pretty easy to follow and understand, so you don't have to worry about adding opaque complexity to maintaining your build process.

I was helping a coworker recently who was looking at including raw markdown into a small project with webpack. Their application would then use a library to render that markdown as a slideshow.

A raw loader

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