A very honest, sarcastic and exaggerated statement of a (kind of) depressed hybrid in Design & Frontend

March 21st, 2017 by

I just overflew an article on Medium about “Better CSS with JS” and just the headline alone made me mad. Really.
I instantly tweeted this and asked

Why is this making me mad? I tell you why.

*Rrrred alert! Rampage mode: on.*
Please note, that this post is very personal and sometimes sarcastic and exaggerated. I don’t want to offend someone with the following words. I just want to express “the other side” of all the “wow thats amazing!” content related things you can read in the world wide web.

The lack of Knowledge in HTML and CSS

The last years I noticed that programmers get really excited when it comes to new fancy trend trains rushing through the web technology world. I have to admit, that I don’t understand everything (if not to say barely anything) about programming. But that’s fine because that’s not my job. I am a UX Designer & Engineer and Artist. I concept and design stuff, I draw and Illustrate and and I code HTML, CSS and a bit JS. So if programmers want to jump on a new train because it’s cool, there you go, do it and have fun.

What I have also noticed is, that programmers using all the fancy new technology tend to fall into the two following scenarios:

  1. They barely or even don’t know anything about HTML and CSS.
  2. They want to write HTML and CSS but don’t want to do it like it should be done..

Why? Because they really don’t know how it’s done? So they try to generate HTML or CSS using their programming language, to not stepping out of their comfort zone? Because it’s cool?
I worked on many very old projects and saw stuff in the code… man, you don’t want to see this. Even including comments in files that say “I don’t want to write stupid HTML!”. Well then I reckon my job is stupid. And how about getting someone who can do it for you? I mean, properly. Stupid HTML. I’m sorry that you need this to display the stuff you want to do….?

Are people who code HTML and CSS worthless now?

Comments like that one I just mentioned or the behaviour of programmers generating HTML and CSS more and more out of programming languages gives me the feeling that a person who writes pure stupid HTML and CSS, a person who actually knows how to properly do that, is worthless. That it’s all just about the programmers. That’s just the same with articles about that topic, with titles like “Better CSS with JS”. Why? Because people who can write proper CSS aren’t good enough? So you need a person who writes some CSS like code in JS that has to be compiled first before you even get your CSS to do a better job? Because writing 6 lines in JS instead of 3 in CSS is better?
Also: JS is very fragile. HTML and CSS are resilient. JS has new trends, new markup nearly twice a year. HTML and CSS also have trends coming up every once in a while but the markup never changed. And that is a very good thing. Jeremy Keith gave a very good talk about that in 2016.

In my very own opinion, programmers who try to do it all on their own, because HTML and CSS isn’t a complicated, ultra-logical programming language, it’s so easy, you don’t even have to use a single bit of math or even have to study math to understand all this cheap crap, because programmers are so intelligent they have to get more money than Frontenders and they can do that stuff so much better than Frontenders or Designers who also code HTML and CSS – dear programmers, gtfo an go learn real HTML and CSS ffs!
There you see the rampage mode in full capacity.
I mean, why tf would I want a programmer to do my job, when one dares to ask if you can style a <br>-Tag so that it won’t break? Why tf would you even use a <br>-Tag when not to break the line? And if it’s wysiwyg content, why always creating workarounds instead of solving the issue by itself?

Doing it all in programming and of course automated is always better. Not.

Questions like this and the “In programming we can do it all better”-mentality makes me really mad. This mentality forces me to change my job at some point because people aren’t interested in keeping it simple and clean. There’s also that “We have to automate every single bit of the work”-mentality that does exactly the same. Seems like “We have to make it complicated so that no one understands what we’re doing and we’re the only intelligent ones that can handle it”. There is fear number one.

Think about children learning how to build websites in school for a minute. They learn simple code HTML and CSS. Maybe they like that and want to do that professionally when they finished school. And then, you as a person who codes HTML and CSS are forced to learn JS because you generate a CSS file with SASS and a numerous amount of plugins that you have to include to the grunt or gulp file. Oh, and of course you need to use the terminal. And node. And npm. You also need to know how to write json. And you may need bower. And … In worst case you haven’t even been introduced to it by someone who understands what’s going on with all this, you have to figure it out all by yourself. All that for waiting 3 seconds every time to finally see the changes in the browser because the compiling takes so much time. Then you are forced to learn Twig in PHP to get some simple HTML. If working for an agency or whatever they call themselves who use Symfony, you are forced to learn the file structure that it requires because fuck that it HAS to be that way and don’t you dare to change that. You are forced to learn what Controllers are. I still didn’t get it. You are forced to think like a programmer, a thinking process you are definitely not used to if you did just code some simple and clean HTML and CSS before. Especially not when you’re more a Designer with Frontend skills. And maybe your brain can’t function like this. If you always had bad grades in math and physics you’re screwed. For me this is an unnecessary stress situation for my poor non-mathematical brain that doesn’t unterstand programming languages. Why does it have to be so complicated? You want HTML and CSS? Code HTML and CSS. Fear number two.

Coming back to the automation mentality: For me, everything I do on every website is handmade. I love what I do and I enjoy it every time. Every website should be unique and it’s okay if the code looks different than before, even if it does the same. That’s called improvement. Automation may make your job a little less stressful, faster or redundant. But there comes a point when automation takes away your work, it takes away your job. And here is Fear number three.

Being faster doesn’t mean it’s better. Making stuff automated doesn’t mean it’s always the right solution. Jumping on the new fancy train of trends doesn’t mean that it will help you to improve. Just because someone says “this is the new hot cool shit that will solve all your problems.” doesn’t mean that it really is. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. That’s what I think about that.

The fear of loosing the job you loved once

This whole evolution makes me question my job decision I did when I was a teenager. It feels like that nowadays you have to become a programmer to just code some simple code. I made a decision when I learned the job I’m doing: I don’t want to be a programmer. I still don’t want to be one and I will never be. Being forced to do all this stuff for a simple piece of code takes away the fun and the passion I had before. It makes me hate what I’m doing. I am actually afraid of this evolution going on right now.
Is this what this evolution leads to? That people (like me) start to hate what they loved and that programmes get more and more excited because they do all the work by themselves and everything is programming only? If so, I quit Frontend. If so, I have to quit Frontend. I am being forced to quit.


Reconsider, before you immediately jump on a train from which you don’t know where it’s heading

October 18th, 2016 by

Thank you for this, Anselm.

With new frameworks and libraries emerging, the tools we have at hand are constantly changing. But it’s not only our toolkit but also the way we write code that constantly evolves — new CSS conventions are developed all the time and the best practices to write JavaScript change at least every year.

But then again, we have to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t immediately jump to a new tool just because it’s available, to not rewrite the whole code of a project just because conventions have changed. No project will stop working because you’re using OOCSS instead of ITCSS or Backbone.js instead of React.js. – Volunteering, Streetart and great people

September 15th, 2016 by

This month on the 2nd I volunteered the first time at a conference.
It was the conference which is once a year in Cologne downtown Ehrenfeld on just one evening (6pm-10pm ish).

I helped putting stuff into the bathroom, placed some guideposts around, helped sponsors to build up their stands, drawed with chalk on the streets outside of the venue and did the registration together with @fredericmarx. That sounds lots of work for one day but it wasn’t really. The more hands, the less work for everyone. It was fun drawing on the streets.

Beyond Tellerrand Düsseldorf 2016

June 10th, 2016 by

Am 9. und 10.5. fand die Beyond Tellerrand 2016 in Düsseldorf statt. Ein verspäteter Bericht über vier ziemlich gute Talks, super leckeres Essen und liebe Menschen.

Nein, ich brauchte kein Visum, um nach Düsseldorf zu fahren. War tatsächlich ganz einfach da hin zu kommen, in die “verbotene Stadt”, aber ob ein bönnsches/kölsches Herz das unbedingt möchte, sei mal dahingestellt…
Auf nach Düsseldorf also.

Nachdem ich letztes Jahr im November in Berlin war und positiv berichtete, hatten wir die Tickets für Düsseldorf schon gekauft, als noch so gut wie gar keine Speaker feststanden… Ich kannte bisher keinen der Namen der Speaker, die dann announced wurden, abgesehen von Val Head und Jeremy Keith, den ich sehr gerne zu meinen Freunden zähle :).