Preview: CSS in React: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Question: Could you tell me a little about yourself, some of the work you do with Trulia and how you got started?
Answer: I started at Trulia a little over a year ago. It’s a unique company that has been around for 11 years but has managed to maintain an easy going startup vibe while becoming a major player in online real estate. I started web development 20 years ago, and have seen a lot of changes in the industry as you can imagine. Some of my previous work was at Apple, Disney, and EarthLink.
Question: What is the focus of your panel?
Answer: I’m discussing and going over the top frameworks and methodologies for integrating CSS into React, or rather styling React components. During the past couple of years, I’ve faced a series of challenges and in the past year alone a slew of new ideas and frameworks have come out that are changing the way front end development uses and ships CSS.
Question: What made you want to speak at SXSW?
Answer: I was approached by a colleague at Trulia, and asked if I would be interested in speaking at SXSW. I was immediately interested and it was kind of a no brainer what I would want to talk about, given my passion for React and CSS combined. When my proposal was accepted, it was such an awesome feeling. I have to give Kyle Simpson a lot of credit. I heard him speak at Fluent Conf last year and it was very powerful message. I decided at that point to get involved in my developer community, and have been speaking whenever possible at local Meetups in the city.
Question: What are you hoping will be the biggest takeaway for the audience attending your panel?
Answer: This is great question. There are currently over 50 different CSS in React frameworks. Too many options, and it can be intimidating, time consuming, and confusing to pick just one for your React project. As with anything, there isn’t ever a perfect answer, but rather a matter of what best fits your given set of requirements. I’m going to present a handful of viable, real world solutions and explain the pros of cons of each, so that the audience will be able to make an informed decision on their own projects.
Question: How or why did you come up with the idea of this panel?
Answer: I’ve always been passionate about good design and things that work beautifully both on the outside and the inside. I truly believe a happy developer will produce a product that will make a happier user. I’ve also been a big advocate for React at Trulia, and have been involved in solving the CSS in React challenges. My goal is to help others and learn more in the process myself.
Question: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Answer: The web development industry changes extremely quickly yet our workflows change slowly. Technology moves at the speed of light, but our patterns and habits, and mindsets are much slower to adopt and catch up. What is great about conferences, whether you are speaking or in the audience, is that they give you the ability to dabble with new ideas in a safe and worry free environment and see where it leads you.
Question: If you were interviewing yourself, what would you have asked and said?
Answer: How are you preparing for your talk? It takes such a long time to get mentally ready to speak at a large conference. I’ve watched over 50 hours of talks, gathered pages and pages of notes from hundreds of articles, books, issues, and sketched out ideas over and over. I’m digging through anything and everything and seeking inspiration along the way from all the people in my life. It sort of feels like what a DJ would go through to prepare for a set, or an artist who wants to tell a story. I can’t imagine how teachers and professors do this day after day. It has been quite the journey and it will be rewarding to see it all come together.