A heart between brackets

It's valentine's day and so the perfect time to write a love letter. This one is to all the CSS-developers out there. For those who love the cascade, pseudo elements and all the new nifty things entering the language.

My dearest CSS-developer, o how the times are a-changin’. You’re probably writing more JavaScript in your life, more than you’d want to, you might even have picked up some frameworks such as React or Vue. How can you keep your identity as a CSS-developer, how can you keep expressing your love for that perfect layout in the language you’ve mastered so well…

It’s not the first time that jobs get mixed up

You might have started out as a designer, expressing your artistic skill to create beautiful websites on a 960px grid in Photoshop and later on learning to code a bit of HTML and CSS, using the power of floats, it was a skill only a few could master.

At a certain point, you chose to give up the designing aspect and started to just code other people’s artwork into interactive elements. You did this pixel-perfect and even threw in some JavaScript in the form of jQuery into the mix, making you that person who was awesome. Back-end developers loved how their database-scheme was shown so beautifully on a website and designers high-fived you because their creativity just turned into a masterpiece.

So then you became a front-end developer

Times are changing again, you learned a bit of PHP and could use different templating languages such as Twig, you could perfectly create your own Wordpess blog and play around in so many environments, you could create a beautiful website on almost every platform out there. But even that was not enough, there was something on the rise, the wonderful world of JavaScript. And before you knew it, you were starting to write a bit of React or a bit of Vue, you were creating Webpacks after already mastering a bit of Gulp or even Grunt. You were already writing CSS in a SASS or Less environment to reduce time, you might even be using Bootstrap because it just made everything go smooth and efficient.

Don’t forget about accessibility and technical SEO

A lot of times people seem to forget that you are the first technical person in taking the first step to creating something accessible that is perfectly readable for search engines. You take the first steps into technical SEO by adding microdata and using correct semantics to please all users and robots alike. A lot of times, you are the first one to spot inconsistencies and you have no problem reporting something user-unfriendly when you are creating your templates.

But now you are starting to feel a loss, and I hear you…

You have learned to be efficient, you make websites at the speed of light, but you get the feeling that a lot of things are starting to feel the same. Using the same visual styles over and over again because they are “like that in the framework”. You miss using a part of the skill you’ve mastered before, creating something amazing with just the power of CSS and great semantics. I’m telling you, you are not alone and many front-end, or should I say CSS-developers, feel that way. And I do believe that it’s time that the term front-end development shouldn’t be so generalised as it is now. But I’m telling you, the future is bright because there is a shift in the web, something that had to happen a long time ago.

The clients want more creativity and visual identity

Especially with the pandemic, a lot of webshops have sprouted and now we have a lot of websites that kinda look the same, and a lot of brands are starting to notice that as well. They want something to remember, they want something visually different while still maintaining accessibility, great UX and search-engine optimisation. You have the power to do that, with the more evolving CSS language and browsers that update automatically, you have a toolset for this, a toolset you love and master.

JavaScript includes more and more “back-end” work

A lot of the projects you encounter are getting really technical and there are a lot of JavaScript developers out there. Those people are great and a lot of them don’t have those visual skills that you’ve mastered, they will help you out, and you can work together as a team. They will be happy to see their JavaScript code on such a beautiful layout and you will be happy to see everything work so snappy and strong.

Let’s call you the client-side developer

Because in the end, that is where you shine, creating something visually pleasing, responsive, accessible. Something with powerful semantics that is scalable, expendable, lightweight and performant. By adding a bit of client-side JS you can do wonders that please the eye. You integrate animation where needed and tweak all the things until they are picture perfect. Believe in your craft and never forget that even in “just writing CSS” you can grow, explore and have a lot of fun. Take it from me, even though I write a bit of React, know a bit of PHP, the heart is where the CSS lies and that’s perfect. Follow your passion and become a master of all things visual and client-side.

You are the one, who gets the layout made
The one who loves perfect semantics
and mastered the cascade
You know how a design should flow
Making all things interactive
Creating projects, with room to grow
You are a master when it comes to CSS
The one who loves the web
and makes sure everyone has access
You translate the design, it’s where you prosper
Other skills might be bonus
But you are, by far, my favourite developer.

 in  general , css