Articles

Writing modular CSS (Part 2)

Last week, I shared how I use BEM to create a sensible CSS architecture. Although BEM is awesome, it’s only part of the solution. There’s another part I’ve yet to mention — namespaces.

In this article today, I want to share with you why BEM isn’t enough and how I use namespaces to bridge the gap.

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Writing modular CSS (Part 1)

Have you worked on large websites that spans more than a few pages? If you did, you probably realized the horrors of not conforming to a robust CSS architecture. You probably would also have researched on ways to write maintainable CSS.

Since our industry is awesome, we don’t only have one recommended solution. Experts have jumped in and provided us with suggestions like BEM, OOCSS, SMACSS, Atomic Design and many others.

Now, instead of suffering from “I don’t know what to do”, the question becomes: “there’s so many ways. Which should I try?” Should I use everything, only one approach or create a custom architecture from the possible picks out there?.

I started off with only one approach. Then, as I tried different approaches, I began to include what I thought made sense into my process. In this article, I want to share with you how I structure my CSS and why I do so. Hopefully, it’ll help you find your preferred method.

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Should you learn [insert shiny new tool]?

Oh look! Everyone is talking about Webpack now! Should I upgrade my workflow to use Webpack?!

“Hmmmmm… Maaaybe I should use PostCSS since expert X highly recommends it. I can’t decide…”

“OH WOW. FACEBOOK USES REACT! REACT MUST BE HAWT! I NEED TO LEARN THAT TOO!”

Are you familiar with any of these conversations? It’s not surprising if you are! New tools pop up in the frontend world incredibly quickly. Whenever something new pops up, people scream about how cool it is. Even industry experts begin using them. Heck, the expert you love and follow may even recommend you to use them!

Do you feel pressured to try the new tool out? Do you feel like a shitty developer if you don’t keep up with the latest tools?

If you do, you’re not alone!

Today, I want to share with you a simple framework to determine if you should learn/switch to [insert shiny tool]. Read on if it sounds any interesting.

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How to choose and pair typefaces

The act of choosing two typefaces is probably the first (and often most difficult) task you do when creating a new design. Many people get stuck here, myself included.

Recently, I discovered a simple method to pair typefaces effectively and I’d love to share them with you. (Hint: it’s a 3×3 grid).

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Fighting decision paralysis

It’s common for designers and web developers to suffer from decision paralysis. You know you’ve battled with it if you had problems like:

  1. Spending hours choosing the right typefaces
  2. Obsessing over choosing the right framework
  3. Scratching your head over what to learn next
  4. Facing writer’s block

Does any of them sound familiar?

Decision paralysis has been the bane of my life so far. I battled against it again recently and I’m happy to say I finally got out of the rut (today!).

In this article, I’d love to share my experiences with you and how I handle decision paralysis.

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How to read faster and remember more

Reading is a skill I wanted to improve for ages. I wanted to read faster, because reading faster means I’ll learn faster. So, I tried to learn how to speed read many times in the past.

Speed reading wasn’t too difficult. The sad thing is, I can’t seem to remember anything I read, which makes the speed useless.

In 2017, since my theme for the year is experimentation, I wanted to see if I could improve my reading capabilities. This time, I found some success: I read 1.5 books and remembered most of what I read in three weeks.

I’m so elated by the discovery of this technique and I’m happy to share it with you!

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Year End Review – 2016

2016 was a strange year. It was full of up and downs. On one hand, I had eye-opening experiences that taught me a lot about myself. On the other hand, I was horrified at the amount of time I wasted accomplishing nothing, so much that I ended the year loathing myself to the core.

But that’s enough. The new year is here. It’s time for me to recollect my experiences and regrets and move on. This article is a summary of my learnings in 2016 and my plans for 2017.

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How to build a responsive grid system

One of the best complement for a custom web design is a custom-made responsive grid system. You can customize everything you need, including the number of columns, the size of columns and gutters and even the breakpoints you change your layouts at.

Unfortunately, many people don’t even try building custom grids for their web designs because they lack the knowledge and confidence to build one.

So, in this article, I want to help you gain the knowledge and confidence you need to build a custom-made grid. Hopefully you can break away from frameworks and try a custom grid for your next project by the end of this article.

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Designing grids

I’d be telling you the obvious if I said that grids are important in web design. You already knew that. You probably have even coded a few grids with frameworks like Foundation or Bootstrap. You may even have created a custom grid manually, or using a grid layout tool like Susy.

But have you stopped to think about these questions for the grids you’ve made?

What are your answers?

I have searched high and low for answers to these questions in the past few months. Here’s an article consolidating everything I know about designing grids right now. Hopefully, it’ll help answer the questions you have as well.

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Don't reinvent the wheel

“Don’t reinvent the wheel”.

You heard that one before?

It’s an age-old wisdom that’s been passed around between developers since the dawn of time (at least for programming anyway).

It’s also the worst advice you’ll hear from anyone. But we say it on a daily basis. To others, and even to ourselves. It’s just that whenever we say this, we sugar-coat the words in different forms so we don’t feel as hurt.

We say things like:

Sounds familiar yet? Has anyone said these to you before? How did you feel? Don’t kid anyone. You felt something. Did you feel:

These statements challenge the receiver. With any questions that challenge, it not only challenges the decisions on the surface (for most of us, it’s a choice whether or not to do something for a project), it challenges the core beliefs of the receiver.

Like it or not, it happens unconsciously. And because these questions are directed towards the core beliefs, the repercussions can be severe.

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