Podcast Notes: Jen Simmons on ShopTalk Show
I just finished listening to ShopTalk Show Ep. 529 with Jen Simmons, Apple Evangelist on the Web Developer Experience team for Safari & Webkit.
This episode covered a lot of new stuff coming to CSS — and I mean a lot, including container queries, cascade layers,
:has() selector, nesting proposal, scoping, subgrid, and more.
While listening to Chris, Dave, and Jen discuss the array of new things coming to CSS, what stuck out to me was how much these new things aren’t necessarily about addressing specific concerns around technological capability — e.g. when will we get IF statements in CSS? — but rather about addressing organizational and cultural concerns that arise from humans trying to work together to build software — e.g. how can teams of people write, maintain, and refactor CSS?
Around 39:00, Jen makes this great comment about how a lot of our age-old best practices for CSS will likely need to be re-assessed with all this new stuff that’s coming.
Now that we have these more powerful tools like Cascade Layers…I hope we re-assess and re-evaluate whether those ideas are really good ideas and whether we need them. Those [best practices] were an attempt to manage something that needed to be managed but now we have other ways to manage those same things, so maybe we want to let go of [them].
I also really appreciated this moment in the conversation where Jen became reflective and said something to the effect of: “Why are so many people reaching for CSS-in-JS solutions? They must have a valid reason for doing that, not just because they want to see CSS burn and scapegoat it for all their problems“.
I really appreciated this moment of introspective reflection on Jen’s part that exemplifies the ability to look for a kernel of truth in what people are saying about their choices — choices that may often be dressed in overly negative language but may merely reflect more of a feeling or cultural attitude than an conscientious thought. I don’t know Jen, but this ability to listen and peer beyond surface of language in pursuit of core concerns people have really stood out. I have no doubt it’s a trait that makes her successful in what she does.
Anyhow, it’s a whirlwind of a podcast in the new stuff coming to CSS and how it might change where we go from here. Give it a listen if any of the above sounds intriguing.