I really enjoyed this article: Crafting Link Underlines on Medium. Sure, the story was interesting and the technical challenge was fun to think through, but what I liked most was the the fact that this story begs the question: why?
Why would he go to so much trouble for a simple little underline. Why didn’t he throw in the towel, proclaiming it beyond his control and cursing the browser defaults (like we all have done for IE)? Why did he keep on pushing when it became increasingly more obvious (to me) that a solution would be time-intensive, non-performant, and difficult to maintain?
I think it has to do with the values at Medium. I don’t use Medium, and I think it unlikely that I ever will (reasons), but I’ve got to hand it to them for building a product and a team that puts a lot of thought into the design details. The cumulative effect of those details is what gives Medium that uncommon feeling of polish.
“Simple things are rarely simple under the surface”, the author says. Kudos to them for persisting through the complexity.
FYI, if you are interested in the technical implementation, check out this project: https://github.com/wentin/underlineJS