Weeknotes 23:06

March 1, 2023

Week of February 19–25

Modern CSS Development

On Friday, I gave a presentation at our company’s Campfire about modern CSS development. I was nudged to address this topic after reading Matthis Ott’s article, Better Bridges, in the fall. I had scheduled the presentation two or three times but had to cancel due to busyness or other conflicts. I was scheduled to present it several weeks ago but had just recovered from COVID-19 and did not have the bandwidth to prepare it then.

In his article, Matthias talked about the fact that the fundamentals of layout for the web have changed significantly and he argues that it is our job as developers to educate designers on what is now possible.

“How are they going to make the best use of what’s possible and design materially honest solutions when they don’t even know those features exist let alone have an idea how they work?”

I highlighted several of the newer features of CSS and gave some examples of them, mostly from my own work. I really wished there was a showcase of creative CSS Grid layouts that I could have tapped into to provide a springboard for greater inspiration for both myself and my teammates.

I built a page on my site for my presentation. One of my teammates commented that I had upped the game on presentations. But the reality is that it was much easier for me to use the tools that I know (HTML, CSS, and a little bit of Javascript) than to try to create a presentation in Google Slides. Another bonus is that I was able to showcase some of the features I was discussing through the page build.

These are the features that I discussed:

  • CSS Grid and Flexbox
  • Container Queries
  • Blocks and Components
  • :has() selector
  • Clip-path
  • Filters
  • Responsive Type and Spacing (clamp())
  • Improving Accessibility
  • Gradient Text
  • Viewport units and container units
  • Aspect ratio and object-fit
  • Display P3 color space

I received very positive feedback from my teammates. Many commented that they really enjoyed this tour of what CSS can do. I got several great questions and other developers on the team chimed in and added some good thoughts. I am thrilled with how well it went and being able to accomplish what I set out to do.

“I love being in a place where everyone comes to a talk on CSS.”

LGND developer commenting on Slack channel after my presentation

Roadtrip to Kentucky

On Saturday, I traveled up to Murray, Kentucky to visit my son, who is a freshman at Murray State University. We had talked about me coming up to see a Murray State basketball game and this weekend was their last regular season game and the only one that worked out well for both of us.

I really enjoyed getting to hang out with my son for a couple of days. It was a pretty low-key weekend. We hung out at my hotel on Saturday afternoon and then walked around campus. My son showed me a couple of his studio spaces and then we hung out at his dorm before going to dinner.

Over dinner, he talked to me about his research project on speculative design. I had trouble wrapping my head around the subject and still am not quite sure I understand it. It seems very conceptual and abstract. He is still early in the process but I enjoyed seeing his excitement about the subject.

We enjoyed an exciting game on Sunday. Murray State tied it with a 3-pointer to send it into overtime and then won by one point. I sat in the student section with my son. It was very loud (in the student section), especially when they came back in the second half. It was the first time that I had seen a Murray State team win in the five games I have attended this school year (2 volleyball games, a football game, and a basketball game in Chattanooga).

My son had to print a 3D model for one of his classes. It was a 23-hour print job and we checked on about 2/3 of the way through.

On the way back from Murray, I stopped in Nashville to see our oldest daughter. We hung out in her apartment and ordered Taziki’s on GrubHub. It was a short but very sweet visit with her before making my way home on Monday afternoon.

Veerle Pieters on Smashing Podcast

On my way to Kentucky, I enjoyed listening to Veerle Pieters on the Smashing podcast. I was a designer/developer when I started following her blog in the early 2000s. I always enjoyed her use of color and shapes in her work. I still follow her inspiration stream through RSS.

I enjoyed getting to hear more of her backstory as well as hearing what she is up to lately. I have missed her conversations on Twitter. Like many others, she is no longer investing her time on the platform. She promised that she plans to write more content on her personal site in the near future.

I always enjoy revisiting those who had an influence on my early career. I can trace one of the defining milestones of my life to one of her tweets in 2012.

I had read Aaron’s book the previous summer. The tweet led me to apply for the job that relocated me to Chattanooga ten years ago.

Articles I read

Books I am reading

What I watched

  • All Creature Great and Small S3:E7 (Prime) – I really enjoyed this season of the show.
  • Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix)
  • Madame Secretary (Netflix)
  • Bad Batch (Disney+)
  • New Amsterdam (Netflix)

Podcasts I listened to

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