Cake built with CSS with a candle

I’ve turned 35 years old and that gives me the excuse of playing the old geezer for a bit…, just for a day… maybe? Not a technical topic this time, just me reminiscing of what I miss of my early days of development, what I’m worried about, and how I see the future. Before I bore you with too many blasts from the past, let’s get those away right now.

The simplicity of the web

This is one of the things that I miss the most of all. Not saying I don’t love the evolution of the technologies we have, that’s certainly not the case. I’m saying that I sometimes miss that feeling of creating “things on gut feel”. The web has grown up… and frankly, that makes it boring from time to time. Experimenting with code is still the best way to get better, but how many times do we get the chance to do that while working on projects. There are important factors in the world such as accessibility, marketing and UX. But sometimes things might get a bit too perfect, we’re at that point where you actually have to break rules intentionally to invent something new, while in the past, there just weren’t any rules to start with. And I, for one, love breaking rules, but you just get less chances to do so without being virtually murdered by some random guy on Twitter yelling “this is bad practice, you idiot”.

There are some “lost skills” that will never return

Ah sweet sweet hacks. The box-model hack, the rounded corner hacks, the art of making beautiful nested tables, old sticky footer techniques, clearfixes, the list goes on. Nobody really loves hacks and shady techniques, and thanks to recent developments in CSS they won’t be needed on a day to day basis. It’s great, but also a bit sad because those special things seem to be stuck in my head forever and will never see the light again.

I miss the developer socials and personal blogs

Ah… sweet Twitter from the past where it was mostly a community of tech people showing their stuff and what they had for dinner. It used to be relaxing checking out twitter and just seeing cool stuff on the web, now it’s just full of politics, yep, i’m saying it… politicians ruined Twitter way before Elon Musk.

And where did the overly crafty personal blogs go? There was so much good stuff on the web without ads, cookie pop-ups. I say, it’s time to bring blogging back. Here was one of my first attempts at it:

An early blog attempt
One of my early attempts to web designing

I’m mostly afraid for the next generation starting college right now.

A lot of the people attending colleges or universities right now had to spend important years in lockdown due to Covid. As if social media addictions weren’t enough, some of them will have a hard time communicating in person. I’m not saying this based on facts but on personal observation. You don’t have to take my word on it… But I really hope this will work out for them. It’s a lot of fun sitting next to a person and fixing some bugs or looking at some awesome stuff they just created and learning how they did it. Tackling problems face to face and having a laugh. I really hope to work with some motivated, fun, born past the year 2000 colleagues in the future. Surely, a lot of people work only remotely, but humans are social beings, that’s a scientific fact and I’m sure many have a bigger need for real-life social interaction than others, even if they don’t know that at the time.

But I am hopeful for the future of web development

Browsers are really an amazing piece of software. With the latest and upcoming updates to CSS and JavaScript, it’s amazing what we can achieve. Not that long ago, we were forcing designers to respect a 12-column grid, but with all the latest CSS updates there really isn’t a need for this except maybe for time-saving.

I’ve been taking a bit more of a deep-dive into React as well in the last couple of months, for me, it’s a necessary evil (sorry, javascripters, you know I love you). I enjoy the things it can do, and although there are just too many libraries out there, it really opens up a lot of opportunities on the web. But when push comes to shove, I’ll always enjoy my niche, which is CSS. It’s really growing up. And the fact that we will less need to rely on JavaScript for layout problems is a good thing for everyone. Lately, I’m also looking a lot into open-ui, but that’s a topic for later.

So… what to do in the next 35 years?

I really think about this from time to time.. It took me 33 years to start a blog and keep working on it. Even though I had some earlier attempts at blogging, it never really stuck. I’m not certain that working project to project will be something I’ll do until retirement, but for now, I enjoy it. Who knows, maybe I could do a bit more for the future generation of developers? As a self-taught developer, I was always grateful to the people who gave me a chance or believed in me. Maybe it’s time to start giving back a little? Seems like a nice thing to do.

An early blog attempt

But for now.. I made a CSS cake!

 in  general