Chronicle Articles

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XIX

Today I hop on a plane to Norway for the Trondheim Developer Conference. First time there. Can't wait. The conference isn't until Monday, but I suck at traveling to Europe. I'm a big baby about jet lag, so I like lots of extra time to acclimate.

I was on Craig McKeachie's Front-End Developer Podcast in the episode How to use custom fonts and @font-face.

I also got to be on Real Thread's Local Masters podcast.

Things are going well at CodePen. We just recently hit 2,000,000 Pens created. We've been doing a bunch of maintenance work, a lot of it is kinda unsexy behind the scenes stuff, but I appreciate work like that more and more the longer we're around.

One of the more public-facing features I worked on was converting the layout of the editors to use flexbox throughout. That made it easier to offer resizeable editors, a hotly requested featured since we launched.

We've been continuing our podcast series CodePen Radio with recent episodes including Responsibility and Churn.

One cool thing that I'm sure some of you can make us of: we're giving away 2 weeks of PRO for free. Just click a button to activate yours.

So much more to come!

At the end of August I was back at Hilton Head Health trying to keep healthy lifestyle stuff in check. I left right on September 1st and spent that entire month eating vegan. It wasn't life changing, but I enjoyed it, and hit my all time low weight. Sadly I've come back up a little, so I need to watch it.

Dave and I are still enjoying the heck out of doing ShopTalk. We'll have episodes every week until around Christmas where we'll probably take a few weeks off.

Don't miss Web Standards Southern Gentlemen in the last RAPIDFIRE.

Since I last chronicled, I was at BlendConf which was a huge and wonderful conference. I met a bunch of folks there that I've been wanting to meet. I was vegan at the time and we scouted out the restaurant Bean to eat at, which I loved so much we went back twice. I had also just set up a turntable at home my friend gave me, and so went record shopping at Lunchbox which was pretty sweet. I love the idea of hitting up local record stores in cities I visit.

I also was at An Event Apart Austin, which was super good even as compared to other AEA's, which are always good. I feel like I'm always treated very well as a speaker at conferences, but I extra appreciate the AEA organizer clan and how welcome they make me feel. Shout Jeffrey, Marcy, Toby, Steven and all! Some new very important things clicked for me listening to Mat Marquis and talking with Jason Grigsby about responsive images. Particularly this mostly-use-srcset business.

At BlendConf I met Nicole (and Max) Fenton and at AEA Austin I met Kate Kiefer Lee - the authors of Nicely Said. I look up to both of them tremendously for being so damn good at writing about writing.

A few weeks ago I was down in Key West (another first!) for a wedding. The whole Team CodePen was there, because it was our friend Ryan's wedding. We all worked together back in the Wufoo days and I love it that we're all still friends. I went pretty Florida Man.

I spent some time cleaning up the email that gets sent out around here. If you don't get it yet, sign up here. It's just all the blog posts that get published here but in a nice clean format right in your inbox.

Just plugging away here on CSS-Tricks as well.

Behind the scenes, I'm about to cut over to a larger, dedicated database server which I hope will increase the server side speed around here which has been a might slow.

If you're a member of the forums, there are some new settings as part of your profile for when you wish to be emailed regarding @name notifications.

We tried a little chat widget in the forums area to see if people enjoyed realtime chat, but it just wasn't a good fit.

You might notice some new Wufoo ads on the site. They renewed their sponsorship here, which is awesome because obviously I'm a big fan. They are tinkering with some new design over there, so I got a sneak peak at some of that and I designed these new ads in that direction.

You may have also noticed I'm doing sponsored posts here and there on the site. I'm marking them as clearly as I can so you know what is sponsored and what isn't. If you're interested in that, check out Syndicate Ads.

As always I have ten million ideas for things to write about so I'll just keep on writing if you keep on reading.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XVII

I've had the pleasure of being on a couple of podcasts recently other than ShopTalk (where we most recently interviewed Julie Ann Horvath about, among other things, her GitHub exit).

I was on How to Hold a Pencil where Reuben Ingber and I chat about what it's like to be a beginner and where to go next.

I was on Pencil vs Pixel where Cesar Contreras and I talked about capturing ideas, motivation, and the future.

I was on the CDNify podcast as well.

Spring is breaking finally here in Wisconsin so it feels good to be back biking around town. I've been doing a good job at going to the gym and sticking with my training. We even trained outside today for the first time this year.

I'm just about to take off for a few weeks though. I'm headed down to Tampa, Florida to see some friends (I used to live there, back in the Wufoo days) and we're also getting together there as Team CodePen for an in-person sprint.

I leave from Florida and head up to North Carolina where I'm picking up a new camper trailer, the SylvanSport Go, which I'm pretty stoked about. It just so happens that MerleFest is going on at the same time so I'm going to meet some of my bluegrass buddies there for the weekend.

Then I need to high tail it back to Wisconsin because I have a flight down to Champaign, Illinois for the University of Illinois Web Conference where I get to keynote one of the days.

From there I fly to Columbia, South Carolina for ConvergeSE.

Then finally back home, where I only have a week before another big adventure. I'll save that for next time.

We've been hard at work at at CodePen. The new feature releases were a little slow for a while because we were buried in a huge one: Teams. It might seem like a simple thing, but it was anything but. We even talked about it a bit on the podcast.

Perhaps I haven't mentioned here? We're doing a new podcast over at CodePen, a kind of self-documentary of what it's like running a web software business. We call it CodePen Radio.

Taxes are another thing on my mind. They are due the 15th here in the US, and despite starting on them as early as I could, I'm cutting it down to the wire. It's crazy how late you can get needed documents to do it all properly. I think I'm just about done and it's a very painful year (mostly due to my own lack of planning in paying quarterlies). Gonna have to tighten the belt for a few months.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XV

Life's been pretty good lately! I've just signed a land contract with my previous landlord to buy the house I'm living in, in Milwaukee. I quite like Milwaukee and the house, so I'm excited about that. Feels a bit grown-uppy.

Last month I took a trip to Scotland with some friends which was great, in part because it's the only non-tech trip I've taken in some time.

I'm significantly healthier than I was 3-4 months ago. I'm down about 40lbs. I have quite a ways to go to be truly healthy, but I'm doing all the right stuff including a lot of walking, biking, weight training, and eating better and drinking less. I've already booked another stay at the health resort thing that helped me kick it off, so I can really keep it going.

I spoke at my first An Event Apart event in Austin earlier this month. That was cool. I'm doing another in San Francisco in December, but if you don't already have a ticket I'm afraid it's sold out.

This Sunday I leave for CSS Dev Conf which is exciting and obviously right up my alley for a conference focus. I'm polishing my slides right now.

I got to be a guest on some podcasts since I've last done one of these Chronicles. Pixel Recess and Dorm Room Tycoon. The Dorm Room Tycoon one wasn't published, so not sure if that just didn't work out or what, but it's a good show worth checking out.

Speaking of podcasts, ShopTalk took a few weeks off while Dave and his wife tended to their brand new baby Otis. We're now back with what we're calling Season 3 in which we'll have shows every week through at least the holidays.

Most of my time, as always, is dedicated to CodePen. Since the last Chronicle, we've released several major features and countless little features and improvements. Among the biggest features: Customizeable Embeds, the Mobile Editor, and much better Comment Notifications.

We recently got the team together in Bend, Oregon (where Tim lives) for some co-working which was fun and productive. We're doing another little mini-sprint together in December in Palo Alto (where Alex lives).

The year is still going for The Pastry Box Project where I write monthly. Several posts since last time including article about my internal struggle with spammers, my one bit of advice regarding "success", and a fake story about mustard.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XIV

I've had the opportunity to be a guest on a couple of podcasts lately. I'm on episode 18 of The Gently Mad podcast with Adam Clark.

I'm also on Authored Content episode 22 (video) with Morten Rand-Hendriksen, James Williamson, and Ray Villalobos.

On both I get the chance to talk about some projects I've worked on both past and present as well as hot topics of the day!

Speaking of podcasts, ShopTalk is going great. We've had some fun episodes lately like with Raquel Velez and Val Head. Also a RAPIDFIRE episode, which there will be more of in the coming months since we air those when Dave or I has to be gone a particular week.

Speaking of ShopTalk, Dave and I did a live ShopTalk show at Front End Design Conference. We typically record "live", but this was our first time in front of a live audience. It was super fun and hopefully we get to do it again sometime. We're hoping there is a good audio recording of it so we can post it as a real show, so it'll come across iTunes n' stuff.

It was the fifth year of the Front End Design Conference and it was just fantastic as always. If you're looking for one to attend, make sure to mark this one down as soon as they announce it next year.

I was stoked to see CodePen used by a number of presenters to show off demos during the conference.

Speaking of CodePen, that's going really well also. We've had some pretty big features roll out lately like using other Pens as resources, including including HTML, and showing errors right in the editor.

We have tons more features and refinements large and small underway so keep coming back for more. We work on it all day every day. In fact the whole CodePen team is at my house for a few weeks for a super code jam.

There has been some good threads in the forums lately like Opinions on CSS Frameworks, Computer for Web Programming, a thread about Macaw, and How big should my background image be?. I like seeing that the opinion threads are alive and well, as well as specific technical stuff getting solved left and right.

You may have noticed a decent amount of guest posts happening here on CSS-Tricks lately. It wasn't planned really, they just kind of happen naturally through conversations I have with people who email in about ideas. If you have an interest in writing a guest post to be published here 1) have an idea that you think is really cool and you really care about 2) do some research / make demos 3) contact me and I'll check it out 4) use this template for creating the article.

I don't have a huge budget but if your article is awesome, takes time, and doesn't benefit you otherwise - I'm sure we can work something out.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XIII

I'll be speaking at the upcoming Front End Design Conference in Florida. If you have tickets, see you there! If not, sorry, this one is sold out.

I recently spoke at TXJS, and they recorded the talks, so mine and a bunch of others are available on their Vimeo channel.

Next week I head out for Graves Mountain, as I do every year. So this week I'm planning for that, both getting ready for it as well as getting ready to be unplugged for the week.

ShopTalk is going strong! We have lots of great guests lined up. We've recorded a show in advance to air while I'm away at Graves. I'm sure we'll have a show every week for a very long time to come.

Recent shows include Ben Frain, Pam Selle, and Ben Schwarz.

CodePen is going strong as well. The team has made the huge leap of taking it full time. It's been a touch slow, but it's because both Tim and I moved across the country (me to Milwaukee, WI) and we've been settling in a bit. We're also working on big new features. There will be little new stuff coming here and there, but a lot of time has been sunk into big stuff that'll take a bit to get out.

The Patten Rodeo is back as well, in Season Two.

There are also CodePen PENS now, as well as stickers, and get get both if you order a T-Shirt.

Kern and Burn have a book called Conversations With Design Entrepreneurs and there is a bit of an interview with me in there. I got the book and it is super nice. One of the nicest feeling and reading books I have.

I have a few new articles on The Pastry Box Project. One is a story of a person opening a mustard packet and... well just take of that one what you will. The other is the only bit of life advice I have to offer.

I have some ideas burning for new stuff for The Lodge so I'll be launching into that the next few months. Nothing to share yet, but I'll let you know. I also have a nice list cooking for CSS-Tricks v11. It probably won't be a huge redesign, but more re-align-y focusing on enhanced functionality.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XII

I'm hard at work creating a brand new talk I'm so far calling "CSS is for Computers" that I plan to be giving and refining at some upcoming conferences.

There is a whole new series in The Lodge. Even if you aren't interested in the content of the lodge, but are interested in supporting CSS-Tricks, being a Lodge member is the best way to do that. As a thank you, you now don't see any ads no matter where you are on the site as a logged in Lodge member.

I'm still brainstorming new ideas for more Lodge content. My best idea so far is "Deep Dive" videos where posts/almanac entries/snippets/etc will have optional videos attached to them where the content is explained in more detail. Those videos will only be watchable by Lodge members. Just an idea.

CodePen is humming along! New features for all users include making auto-run JavaScript optional, making the Hire Me button for everybody, editor layout alternatives, and upgrading the editor as a foundation for many more editor improvements. PRO users now have asset hosting.

You'll want to stay tuned to CodePen. Tons more to come.

Lots of great conversations on ShopTalk lately including Brandon Mathis, Alex Sexton, Samantha Warren, and Lara Swanson.

There is a new feature on the ShopTalk website as well. Dave created Time Jump - a JavaScript plugin for deep linking times in podcasts. You can now link to specific times with a query string or hash, like:

To give it a spin, check out this time jump link to a very important question.

If you've never listened to ShopTalk, we also now have a master archives page to help you find episodes you might be interested in checking out.

Also new on ShopTalk, we now have ladies cut T-Shirts in The Store!

My latest Pastry Box Project entry was about introversion. It seemed to resonate pretty strongly with a lot of folks. I did a follow up article on my personal site with some of the reactions and further thoughts.

I'm moving to Milwaukee soon! It took me a while to find a place but eventually being vigilant on Craigslist panned out. Why Milwaukee? I have a bunch of friends there I visit fairly often and I always love it. I grew up in Wisconsin, but never lived in Milwaukee. Heading back to Wisconsin means being closer to family and old friends, which I like. Plus it's a lot less expensive than living in the San Francisco area, and I could use the savings as I'm out on my own trying to build a startup.

Looking forward to checking out Bucketworks and Lounge 42.

You may have noticed I replaced one of the rotating ads on the site with an ad for my tech alma mater Wufoo. I'm happy to have them as an advertiser because of course I still dearly love the product. For those that don't know, it's a very powerful (yet easy to use) online form builder.

You may have also noticed they sponsored the RSS feed for a few weeks there. I'm going to start doing that as there is demand for it. There are around 108,000 RSS readers, so if you want to run an ad in there, get in touch.

The latest edition of Appliness ("the first digital magazine for web application developers") features an interview with me!

CSS-Tricks Chronicle XI

I'm speaking at a few things coming up:

And before that I'll be at LessConf just hanging out.

You may have noticed I stopped cross-posting new episodes of ShopTalk over here. Hopefully nobody thought it was dead because it's going as strong as ever with lots of great episodes lately. I just thought it might have been annoying if you subscribe to both. If you don't — follow @ShopTalkShow on Twitter and/or subscribe in iTunes and you're all set.

The U.S. post office changed their shipping rates this year. So we updated The Store's shipping prices. We charge exactly what it costs us to ship. To the U.S. = $4.90 — Canada is $5.75 — the rest of the world is $11.90.

That goes for the CSS-Tricks store, the CodePen store, and the ShopTalk store.

I'm about half-way through a new series on The Lodge about designing an artist's website from scratch, mobile first, using WordPress as a customized CMS. I'm going to do my dangdest to get it done in March.

Also: the Kickstarter six month subscriptions have expired. I really should have sent out reminders that was coming up, but I didn't. If that was sudden and surprising for you and need a short extension to finish up watching/downloading, please send a note. You can also re-subscribe anytime by logging in and going to the signup page.

I recently attended the second day of W3Conf, and if you didn't notice the flood of blog posts, I liveblogged it. It was a pretty fun way to attend a conference because I had to pay hyper-attention and thus got a lot more out of it than I might have otherwise. Exhausting, though.

We got quite a bit of attention lately for human-readable-izing our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy on CodePen. It's not a totally original idea. I first saw it on 500px. Editorally has a nice one too without the split.

The Almanac has been a long-time not-quite-finished project around here. Most of the pages are done, but there are plenty that are not. I've been plugging away at it still and Estelle Weyl has helped me with some. An offer: if you have any interest in writing up any of the missing pages, get in touch. I'll pay you on a per-page basis to help.

CSS-Tricks Chronicle X

The next conference I'll be at is Webstock. I leave for it in a few weeks. It's in New Zealand, about as far away from home as I can get without going into space. I'm going a week early to check out the area a bit.

I fly straight to In Control after that, in Florida.

The Pastry Box Project has kicked off anew in 2013 with a fresh group including me. Here's my first entry. And here's the fundraiser to turn 2012 into a book.

Lots going on at CodePen!

Lots more coming as well. Several big features under development and a list a mile long for more.

I cleaned up the Bookshelf around here, with my latest greatest recommended reading on front end development and design.

I'm embarrassed to say it took me this long, but I've finished writing all the articles that go with all the videos in The Lodge. There are over 150 videos and that was a lot to write! It almost takes as long to write the descriptions than to shoot the videos.

I've started to record an entire brand new series for The Lodge. More on that soon.

Two free videos have been posted since the last Chronicle. One about GitHub pull requests and the other introducing CodePen PRO. Hoping to shoot one or two new ones in the next few days.