My Thoughts on CSS Day 2023

My Thoughts on CSS Day 2023

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to attend my first CSS Day in Amsterdam. It was an exceptional experience that left me brimming with newfound knowledge. While I felt confident about certain topics, such as the has-selector and container queries, the conference delved into fascinating depths. One notable talk, delivered by Hidde de Vries, explored the intricacies of dialogs and popovers—a subject I had only caught glimpses of on my social media timeline.

In addition to the insightful talks, I had the pleasure of engaging with many like-minded individuals. The atmosphere was electrifying, surrounded by an audience where discussing CSS concepts like the parent selector, logical properties, or intrinsic sizing required little explanation. It was a unique experience, unlike anything I had encountered before, to converse about these topics with fellow enthusiasts freely.

However, like many others, I couldn't help but feel that this special event also highlights some of the challenges faced by the CSS community. As Una pointed out, this conference is the sole CSS-focused event amidst a sea of JavaScript conferences. While we struggle to keep pace with the ever-expanding array of possibilities that CSS has bestowed upon us in the past two years, it becomes even more challenging for those without a primary focus on CSS. Not everyone has the strength, time, or simply the interest to complete a 100 Days Of More Or Less Modern CSS challenge as Manuel did.

Another observation that struck me during the conference is that creative CSS appears confined to platforms like CodePen or personal websites. Being able to unleash one's creativity with CSS often becomes a side-project reserved for after-work hours. At the same time, the daily grind involves repetitive tasks like building the same card component over and over again. This realization saddens me, but I also empathize with the reasons behind it. In my opinion, as developers commence their coding journey, there is already an overwhelming amount to learn. Alongside vanilla JavaScript and potentially a framework utilized by their company, they must also familiarize themselves with tools like Git, Node.js, and possibly TypeScript, among others. Mastering these aspects is undoubtedly challenging and leaves little time to dedicate to refining their HTML and CSS skills. Consequently, many developers may rely on a framework like Tailwind, accepting the inherent limitations imposed by their chosen framework.

On the flip side, if you come from a design background and choose to specialize solely in HTML and CSS, there is a significant possibility that you may not have the opportunity to contribute to certain projects due to a lack of familiarity with the necessary tools and technologies.

Promoting closer collaboration between JS developers and CSS developers is crucial. It is important for both parties to feel comfortable and not be ashamed to admit that they may not possess deep knowledge in both JS development and CSS. By fostering environments that facilitate effective collaboration between JS and CSS developers, we can bridge the gap and leverage the strengths of each discipline.

UI/UX designer and part-time coder @9elements. Also, I'm an origami enthusiast spending hours folding paper.