X-mas tree

As we’re slowly entering the end of the year, it’s the perfect time for a little recap. I started this blog somewhere near the end of 2021 and continued this journey in writing about the web in 2022. Some important lessons learned, goals achieved and ideas for the future made.

To be honest, it wasn’t the first time I had the idea of writing articles on a personal blog, I’ve tried it before but never found the time. In 2022, I decided to just create time for it but without creating too much pressure on releasing articles. Some months were filled with inspiration and the ability to create demos past working hours, while others were a bit slow, but that’s ok. I have a full time job, an amazing wife and a lovely little active (almost) 4 year old daughter. They are and will always be my top priority.

Looking back at 2022, I really achieved some things with this blog

What a year it’s been… The first time I noticed that this writing paid off was during CSS day 2022 in June. While other years it felt like I was seeing new things the whole time, I noticed that my research paid off and could follow more easily with some of the more in-depth things the speakers were talking about. That’s great because in the end, it actually felt like I learned a lot more. And truth be told, because of all the new goodies in the CSS world, that felt like a good place to start as well. I was also shocked to hear that some people actually read some of my articles which really gave me a boost in motivation. For this, I should probably give a special shout out to Bram.us who motivated me to write some guest posts on other blogs.

And that’s exactly what I did. I was really scared at first because I’m not that confident in nature. I really make a lot of effort to make my own demos, learn things at my own pace and believe me… I really try some stupid stuff from time to time. Really strange things, such as. Would this work?

div:has(p:has(div:has(span)))) {
  /* why would you do that? I dunno, it sounded funny */

Yes, I could just read the spec for this, but sometimes it’s just more fun to try something and then read why it doesn’t work. It really helps me to get a grasp on things.

Just saying, I feel really small compared to some of those awesome writers out there, I’m not at their level at all, but they were very welcoming, supportive and I still learn tons of new stuff from them every day.

I also decided to buy a Chromebook to create some small coding tryouts. Thanks to Adam Argyle who showed me what you can do with these devices on CSS day. It was a good buy as it really helped me to write articles in my lazy chair and on the go, using this lightweight laptop instead of a heavy Macbook.

And so I started to do some guest writing

A special thanks to a lot of people such as Geoff, who really helped me with getting my first articles on CSS-tricks: Making a Real-Time Clock With a Conic Gradient Face and Creating Animated, Clickable Cards With the :has() Relational Pseudo Class

I couldn’t have done this without him and the help I received with writing was eye-opening. I really learned a lot from this experience and hope to continue this in the future. I also wrote my first article for Smashing Magazine: Easy Fluid Typography With clamp() Using Sass Functions

I hope to write more for those platforms in the future. It’s been great!

Some of the comments I received on these articles were really heartwarming and kept me going. It’s not what I expected because… once again. I still lack that confidence.

Working at iO

In 2022, I was able to join an expert group within iO called the front of front-end. I had the pleasure of learning how people work on other campuses within that group. A special thanks to Sander De Jong and Dave Bitter for starting / leading this group. It made me realize that there are some really smart people within iO of which I can still learn a lot from. Times were a bit hectic especially in the second half of the year with big projects, but even on the job, I was able to further increase some of the skills that I learned at home. I even went on to learn a bit more in-depth React stuff… Can you imagine? A special thanks to all my colleagues there to keep up the mood even though there were a few times with high pressure.

Near the end of the year, I was finally able to write my first (exclusive) article for the iO tech_hub, long overdue, but happy to finally do this: Why you should be using new CSS features today

I was able to give a presentation for “Artevelde Hogeschool” to try and motivate young students to learn CSS. I had some mixed feelings about it because my audience was still just starting out, but nevertheless an interesting experience.

I’ll also continue to work inside of the iO party team in Ghent for all those geeky events and of course do some kick-ass front-ending.

Not everything went so smooth

There were some downs during this year: problems with our house, sickness in the family and really just a lot of bad luck to be honest. I really can’t express my gratitude to Renée (my wife, who I love dearly) in this article to help me overcome some of these struggles. She did a lot for me. I do believe we both need (and deserve) some time off, to take a little breather. That - for one - is a plan we will execute as soon as possible.

And now, a bit of holiday and on to 2023

So what does the future hold? I know that I’ll keep writing about accessibility, UX and CSS. There is just so much more to explore. I still have a lot of things on my list especially related to scroll animations, CSS anchoring API, nesting… a lot of goodies for next year.

I would love to return to CSS day and maybe give a few presentations myself to get over my lack of confidence a bit. I will try to do some more guest writing but will also keep writing here on my personal blog as I feel it’s getting a bit neglected lately because of all that external writing.

I’ve also made a commitment to follow open-ui more closely and to help out as much as possible by creating demo’s, commenting on Github and joining the meetings. Because of all the “JavaScript hacks” I did in the past to create accessible dropdowns and tooltips, this is a feature that really feels important to me.

But in the end, I just want to keep making beautiful, accessible things, because in the end, that’s what it’s all about in the front-end world.

If there is one thing I want to wish everybody, then it’s a little bit of luck, some smooth sailing through a sea of potential dangers. That little luck can bring a lot of smiles and gets underestimated.

So with that. Some thanks were given, a recap was made. I wish you all the best! Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year.

Ps: I made a Christmas tree, it was “quick and dirty” But screw it, I’m on holiday ;) See you next year!

 in  general