Martello’s own Paul Grant is fresh off his flight from New Orleans where he attended this year’s CSS Dev Conf. This conference is laser focused on CSS for Web Designers and Developers and brought together the best of the best in the design world. Having attended the CSS Dev in the past, Senior Web Designer, Paul Grant was excited to have been selected to present at this year conference.
Paul’s talk was called “Applying a Design System to a Legacy Product” and gave a tactical approach to how a front-end designer should introduce a new design system without really ‘messing things up’. Not an easy task… When a web application is a few years old and hasn’t had a design system integrated into it, it means that many developers have been contributing their own CSS to the design. Sometimes it’s poorly done because people haven’t learned enough about CSS, and sometimes work is duplicated; someone will design a component that they need, and then years later someone needs a similar component. The second person doesn’t realize the first person made it already, so they make it again. By having a library, components get created once and they get created properly from the outset. Mitigating risk during this process is key and Paul recognizes that there’s a big challenge in taking out the old and putting in the new. It can often halt development completely if someone wanted to do it all at once. And doing it over time has challenges in making sure that the old and new don’t conflict during implementation.
At Martello, we had the opportunity to see Paul’s test run of his talk so we weren’t surprised to get word from New Orleans that his talk was voted the best-of-the-best out of over thirty sessions and he was asked to offer his talk a second time at the conference. We sat down with Paul to ask him, what were the top three takeaways from the CSS Dev conference? Here is what he had to say…
Paul’s Top 3 CSS Dev Takeaways
- A good portion of the talks (including mine) revolved around the concept of design systems. Design systems are so, so important in making your CSS scalable when your sites and applications get large. Just searching the term ‘design systems’ will return a huge swath of results to research.
- The next up-and-coming technology in web design is called Houdini. Houdini is a W3C group who is trying to build a new set of APIs to hook into the browser’s rendering engine as it goes through each step to lay out a page. Currently developers can only get into the DOM API, but Houdini hopes to hook designers and developers into more levels of the rendering process. This will eliminate the concern of browser support for a CSS feature. We won’t wait on browsers to implement their support. This is going to be huge over the next few years.
- In the CSS world, people are so supportive and there are lots of opportunities to attend and speak at really relevant conferences with amazingly smart people. If you’re thinking about getting into speaking at conferences, I can assure you: it’s terrifying. But try to do it in New Orleans, because there’s enough liquid courage available on Bourbon St. to knock your socks off.
What was one of our favorite things about Paul’s talk? This retro style video that Paul made that might bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain VP of R&D at Martello. Paul has also been approached about speaking at another conference in the new year so we will keep you posted as that opportunity develops.
Congratulations again Paul, kudos on a job well done!