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More Than “Slapping Paint on a Website”

More Than “Slapping Paint on a Website”

I’m a sucker for anything about front-end job titles.

CSS evolved and we’re beyond the point where everyone can just do it as a side interest. We all can learn it and build amazing stuff with it, but using it wisely and correctly in a large-scale context isn’t an easy job anymore. It deserves people whose work is to focus on that part of the code.

There is something remarkable about the fact that, with everything we have created in the past 20 years or so, I can still take a complete beginner and teach them to build a simple webpage with HTML and CSS, in a day. […] We just need a text editor and a few hours. This is how we make things show up on a webpage.

That’s the real entry point here […]

Rachel is speaking to the abstraction of frameworks on top of vanilla CSS (and HTML) but you might as well tack big, shiny, and fairly new features on there, like CSS grid, flexbox, container queries, cascade layers, custom properties, and relational pseudo-classes, to name a few. Not that those are abstractions, of course. There’s just a lot to learn right now, whether you’ve been writing CSS for 20 days or 20 years.

But back to Anselm’s post. Do we need to think about CSS as more than just, you know, styling things? I often joke that my job is slapping paint on websites to make them pretty. But, honestly, I know it’s a lot more than that. We all know it’s more than that.

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