Sentinel: Your Web-Performance Watchman

Build-along (testing the water)

Written by on CSS Wizardry.

Table of Contents

N.B. The build along went ahead.

I’ve been toying around with this idea the last few weeks. I’ve decided to do a quick testing-the-water blog post to gauge interest and see whether anyone else would be into the idea. The story goes thus…

A few weeks ago I was building a page for my good friend and awesome chap Nick Payne–the page had been designed by another swell fella, Ian Thomas. We’re all pretty good friends and all excel in different areas, Ian designed Nick’s site and, as designers don’t need to code, I built it. Nick sorted all the back-end and is building it onto JAOSS.

N.B. Ian can and does actually code, but for this project we all wanted a slice of the action so, in this case, he didn’t…

Anyway, I always build static HTML files in my Dropbox public directory as people can have a quick look at it if I need to share it, plus I can test it on a variety of browsers on different devices. I gave Nick the URL early on and told him I was about to get to work…

An hour or so later I got a text from Nick saying that he was loving seeing the progress with every refresh, which I also thought was pretty cool.

Enter my idea… a live build-along!

The idea I’m toying with is that people (it could be pretty much anyone) get in touch (somehow) with PSDs they need building; a PSD that they were going to get their staff in their agency to do, or that they were going to give out to a freelancer, anything, and I will pick one and build it for free on the provision I can build it in my public directory and that people can watch along as I code away.

There are obviously some massive requirements:

  • People would actually want to watch me code a page up; I feel I may be being terribly big-headed in assuming people might actually want to watch me code.
  • The PSD is all above board, doesn’t break any NDAs etc.
  • Whoever gets ‘picked’ doesn’t mind their work being made wholly public from the outset.

The outcomes would be:

  • Someone gets a free template (one page) built.
  • People who wouldn’t die of boredom get to follow along as I build a page (I seriously think the idea of seeing how someone tackles a build would be really cool, it’d be like watching TV and yelling along: ‘Clear your floats!!!’)

So basically:

  • People submit PSDs.
  • I choose one.
  • I pick an evening to build it.
  • I share the URL on Twitter and in a blog post.
  • People can keep the tab open and keep dipping in-and-out as I build, watching the progress.
  • For people not in the right time-zone I could potentially record the screen.
  • I finish and hand back a fully coded single-page.

Naturally there would be some informal terms and conditions that I’d iron out nearer the time but for now, anyone interested?

Lemme know!

Did this help? We can do way more!

Hi there, I’m Harry Roberts. I am an award-winning Consultant Web Performance Engineer, designer, developer, writer, and speaker from the UK. I write, Tweet, speak, and share code about measuring and improving site-speed. You should hire me.

You can now find me on Mastodon.

Suffering? Fix It Fast!


  • inuitcss
  • ITCSS – coming soon…
  • CSS Guidelines

Next Appearance

  • Talk & Workshop

    WebExpo: Prague (Czech Republic), May 2024


I am available for hire to consult, advise, and develop with passionate product teams across the globe.

I specialise in large, product-based projects where performance, scalability, and maintainability are paramount.