Design

Evolution of CSS: Becoming a CSS Composer

I have been coding CSS almost daily for over 10 years. I don’t say that to try and establish supremacy, but merely to give some context to the subsequent observations. There are quite a few days I still feel more like a CSS poser.

Keeping with the Non-Traditional Traditions

I received my degree from a private liberal arts college, but only after a large and intentional vacation from formal education after high school. The college had a non-traditional, experimental program that was typically advertised toward “returning adults,” and this is where I chose to finally continue my formal education. It allowed me to not necessarily have a major, but a “focus” in communications, and specifically, an “interdisciplinary program with courses in multimedia theory and design.” So I was able to dabble a little in graphic design, 3D animation, music theory, and multimedia computer programming. This is where I was introduced to HTML, CSS, and Flash.

(Note: I did not take any computer science classes, which would have probably pointed me in a different trajectory career-wise. Instead, I was more fascinated with the visual, as opposed to the computational disciplines.)

It can be easy (although probably no easier than any other excuse) to have Imposter Syndrome when your formal education isĀ founded on a multi-disciplinary degree, i.e. Jack of all trades, master of none. However, as some have pointed out…

“Learning isn’t a zero-sum activity.”

The Myth of the Myth of the Unicorn Designer” by Thomas Cole

Code Is Poetry

My first few jobs heavily involved HTML, CSS, and Flash, of course, as well as dabbling in many other languages and systems. However, I quickly gravitated toward WordPress when I was tasked to research alternative content management systems (CMS) for a state college. I started to become familiar with all the concepts that made up a good and bad CMS and was able to research where each private and open source solution lie on the feature vs cost spectrum. I became passionate about the idea of open source software, and WordPress was, and still is, at the forefront.

Today, the WordPress tagline “code is poetry” has become a mantra in my everyday work. So much of what we, as Front-End Developers, write relies on syntax, logic, and structure. Also, good code (as there is plenty of bad code and poetry) requires elegance and simplicity. The meaning with code and poetry can be both on the surface and simultaneously abstract.

Enough About ME!

So why am I giving you my entire bio? Because again, I think it is important to providing context to why I’m fascinated and passionate about composing CSS. In the upcoming posts, I’ll cover some key points along the history of CSS to try and demonstrate where I see CSS evolving. Remember, writing code is a multi-disciplinary venture, and one should never stop learning.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series:

  • Evolution of CSS – Part II: CSS Class Naming Conventions
  • Evolution of CSS – Part III: Overview of Tachyons

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