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My experience talking at CSS Day 2024

So, it’s been a minute (or like, 3 years...) since I last posted something here, and it probably will be a while before I post again to be honest, but this post turned out to be way to long to include as the introduction to my newsletter, so I broke it off here.

Or actually, this will be one of two posts before things go dormant again. This was going to be one big post that I’m going to break up into two parts, both of them about my recent experience at CSS Day 2024.

This post is going to be about my experience speaking at it, and I’ll have a follow-up at one point about my experience attending it as well.

I was planning on working my way up to speaking at CSS Day

CSS Day was the conference that, every year it would happen, I’d have major FOMO in not being there.

About 18 months ago I’d decided that I was going to start trying to land some speaking gigs, and part of my motivation for that was to work my way up to maybe, possibly, one day, speaking at CSS Day.

Instead of working my way up to it, it turned out to be my first main stage talk!

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Dealing with the “webiness” of CSS

CSS is hard because we don’t have total control over the output. We have to tell the browser our intended output, and then depending on a ton of variables, it gives the user the best it can.

Think of it, we don’t know what device our users are on! Users can have different screen sizes, resolutions, and orientations. Different color gamuts and input devices, different browsers and browser settings, different operating systems, and more!

With all that at play, we can’t have total control over the output, the user does!

Other languages like JavaScript work in absolutes. You tell it to do something and it does that. Or, of course, it fails.

CSS doesn’t “fail”. If the browser doesn’t understand a line of code, it just skips it and keeps on going with the rest of it. This is similar to if it runs into overflowing content, it’ll let it overflow and keep on going.

As Robin Rendle put it in a response to a tweet of mine awhile back, it’s one reason a lot of people coming from a computer science background don’t like CSS. They have to face the “webniness”, or the changing nature and the unknown variables of the web when writing CSS.

How can we possibly deal with all those unknowns and variables? Part of it is anticipating the variables.

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Why I am not the King of CSS

A lot of people have started to call me The King of CSS lately. While I appreciate the sentiment, the title doesn't fit.

How it started

A while back, I joined Kyle of Web Dev Simplified for a CSS Battle on his channel.

It was a blast, and the response was fantastic, but there was one downside to it. During the video, Kyle called me the King of CSS, and it seems to have stuck.

In the comments on my videos and over on Twitter, people drop The King thing all the time.

"Oh come on Kevin, just relax and take the compliment!"

I know, I know. Maybe it's the humble Canadian in me, but I do think calling me "King" puts me on too much of a pedestal.

By calling me The King, it puts me on top.

It means I'm the best and that others are below me.

And that is so far from the truth.

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Jumping the shark

I've talked in the past about how important it is to sometimes make something for the fun of it, without the intention of learning something from it (though that can be a nice side effect) or for work.

When we make something for the fun of it, it can help remind us why we enjoyed this in the first place, and freshen things up a little bit.

It helps break up the grind.

As a content creator focusing on educational content, it can turn into a grind as well, and I have to do different things to break things up a bit.

That's one reason I enjoy live streams.

Lives help bring a different dimension to things, letting me interact with people and sometimes go in different directions than I'd intended. One of those live streams was a challenge brought up in the community: to try and code while blindfolded.

It was a blast to do live, and the chat was really into it, so I decided to edit it up and put it onto YouTube.

When editing it, I realized it wasn't the type of content most people subscribe to me for, but I thought it might be a fun way to break up the monotony on there as well.

It seems that people have enjoyed it for the most part, but some people feel that perhaps I jumped the shark with that one*. And yeah, they're probably right 😂.

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Change from HEX to RGB to HSL in seconds with VS Code

There are a ton of websites that can help you pick colours for your web design projects out there, but most of the time, HEX is the only colour mode you can copy and paste into your editor without having to make any changes to get it working.

Ideally, we are working with HSL, as it's the easiest to make changes to. Here are the variations I have of my primary colour here on this site. The 400 is the base, and then I just modified the l value (lightness) for each variation. Easy peasy!

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Why I picked Twitch over YouTube for streaming

When I decided to get into content creation full-time, one thing I wanted to start doing more of was live streaming. After experimenting with both Twitch and YouTube, I've decided to stick with Twitch.

I did a couple of streams on YouTube that were a ton of fun, and which had a lot of people joining, with between 250-350 concurrent viewers for each stream.

After that, I decided to give Twitch a try. I wanted to do this for a number of reasons:

  • See what all the fuss was about
  • I like experimenting and playing with new things
  • Compare the experience between the two
  • Diversity myself a little bit more

To give it a proper try and see how I could grow on Twitch, I decided to start with two streams a week for a month, and re-evaluate at the end of the month.

That month is over now (or well, close enough), so in this post, I'll be giving you my impressions of Twitch, as well as how it compares to YouTube.

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CSS4 isn't the right way to go

I recently came across a post by Peter-Paul Koch on his blog called CSS4 is here!. I see people using CSS4 as a way to get clicks from time to time and it really irks me, so I tend to ignore them, but for some reason I decided to click through and see what he was talking about.

As I read, I realized that he was making an excellent point, CSS needs to be marketed a little better.

I remember when HTML5 and CSS3 became things. They had their own logos and it was a big thing. It was pretty exciting and I think did a lot of good overall.

So I see the appeal of trying to do the same with CSS4 again. As he says:

I think that announcing a new CSS version will bring desperately-needed attention to CSS, and will help the people evangelising CSS in the field make an impression on web developers who are otherwise not very interested in it.

I don't think it's the right idea though.

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CSS is the code of graphic designers

I recently started reading the book Inclusive Components by Heydon Pickering. I haven't got too far into it, but it's been interested so far.

Before he gets into the nitty gritty though, there was a line that really stood out to me:

But the code of the web is not all the code of classical computer science, and should not be judged on the same terms. HTML is the code of writers, and CSS the code of graphic designers. Writers and designers are best positioned to write those kinds of code.

I love this so much.

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