This year’s CSSConfEU took place in Berlin, Germany, and was filled with incredible talks from seasoned speakers and amazing first-time speakers alike. CSSconfEU is a not-for-profit conference dedicated to the creatives and engineers who build the most performant, accessible, and beautiful apps and web experiences.
Ever since our colleague Tomas Lygutas made it back home, we’ve been thinking and discussing this event.
Although none of our team made it to last year’s CSSConfEU, we heard that the event sold out quickly and had a great mix of leaders who talked about the next big things, alongside relatively unknown speakers shared their incredible research and work.
Let’s quickly run over what we’ve learned this year!
Patrick Hamann – CSS and the first meaningful paint
All of us know that to render a webpage browser, you need to go through the complex dance of networking, parsing, and painting before any content can be displayed to the user. Over the years, web developers came up with various mechanics and “hacks” to aid the browser at each stage of this process, but everything come at a cost or some sort of trade-off.
Patrick Hamann unveiled how we can utilize modern web platform features to load our CSS as fast as possible. He went on explaining the difference between inlining critical content into the document and asynchronously loading it via HTTP/2 server push and Service Workers.
Tomas, Senior Developer: His speech took everyone on a journey exploring the current, past, and future best-practices for loading CSS in the browser and how we can achieve the first meaningful paint within 1000ms. Best practices are yet to be discovered, but we’re sure it will create a faster, more resilient experience for our users.
Nadieh Bremer & Shirley Wu – data sketch|es: A Visualization a Month
Shirley Wu, a developer who loves painting and Pixar animation, has teamed up with Nadieh Bremer, a data-viz designer with a background in astronomy.
Together they showed how to leverage web technologies like SVG and CSS to achieve stunning visualizations and how their collaborative project data sketches helped them to explore the possibilities.
Data sketches are a collaboration between Nadieh and Shirley, where they choose a topic and visualize it by the end of the month. The collaboration started for many reasons: they weren’t creating as many personal data visualization projects, so they were looking for the motivation to make more. They wanted to explore their creativity, to experiment with the tools that are out there, to learn from each other, and to have fun.
Tomas, Senior Developer: Shirley and Nadieh highlighted their favorite months of data, sketches, and code: what made them their favorites, the mistakes made along the way, and how they overcame them. They hope that by sharing their visualizations’ humble, ugly duckling beginnings and many iterations will inspire others to create their own unique and compelling visualizations.
David Khourshid – Getting Reactive with CSS
David came up to the stage and caught the attention of a speech on highly interactive and reactive interfaces. He explained how to build them as well as showed everyone how to use CSS variables in cooperation with functional reactive programming to express animations, style, and layout.
Moreover, David took it up a notch by explaining how we can express them in newer and more powerful ways not previously possible in CSS.
Tomas, Senior Developer: David explored what functional reactive programming is, why it is incredibly useful, and how we can leverage the power of CSS variables to push the limits of styling the web.
Mark Dalgleish – A Unified Styling Language
Mark has over 10 years of experience crafting UIs, and CSS developers might know him as the co-creator of CSS Modules. In the past few years, we’ve witnessed a massive increase in the amount of CSS experimentation, but does mixing our styles and logic run counter to the original ideas of CSS? Does it break progressive enhancement?
Tomas, Senior Developer: Mark took an empathetic look at these new approaches, how they relate to the history of CSS, and why they might possibly hold the key to the future of CSS—all from the point-of-view of someone who has been writing CSS since 1999.
Una Kravets – Let’s Build a CSS Game
If you attended CSSConfEU in 2015, you, for sure, remember when Una spontaneously used the venue decoration and instructed the lighting crew to help her illustrate how RGB color mixing works. This year, Una was building a game using CSS!
Tomas, Senior Developer: Una live-coded a game using just CSS and HTML! She unveiled the power of CSS and taught a few fun tips and tricks as she built a simple game. It was based in Sass — using data structures like matrices and HTML counter-incrementing as well as a little bit of web magic to tie it all together.
CSSConfEU is dedicated to everyone who loves and writes CSS. It gathers the international CSS community and gives a chance to meet top-notch engineers and web designers, world-class speakers, and CSS-loving people at this one-day, one-track conference.
If you have missed the conference this year – don’t miss out on it in 2018!