• David DarnesDavid Darnes, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris!

    My question is fairly simple, how on earth do you fit everything in??

    You manage CSS-Tricks, work on CodePen, host ShopTalk, and a whole load of other things. Do you have a strict work schedule, or have you developed a tidy workflow that fits everything in?

    I personally feel as though I struggle to find spare time, yet still don't feel like I get enough done. How do you do it?

    23 points
    • Jim NielsenJim Nielsen, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

      ↑ This

      4 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Hey David!

      When I was 8, I was bitten by a radioactive keyboard. It made me an outcast to society, but in my technocave, I thrived and vowed to have my revenge.

      Uh yeah that got offtrack.

      I have no secrets whatsoever. I do work fairly hard, but certainly not harder than a plumber or middle school teacher or garbage man. I set in a chair for 8-ish hours a day and read and type.

      I once heard Cameron Moll give a talk where he was asked about work-life balance. He said he doesn't have it. But he does have priorities. Certain things come first. I like that.

      It may be that with my situation in life. as a privileged middle class white dude with very few big life obligations, I can throw more hours at what looks like productivity.

      31 points
      • David DarnesDavid Darnes, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

        Thanks Chris! Nice to know there isn't some magical secret to it. Although being bitten by a radioactive keyboard would explain everything a lot better ;).

        P.S. I'm sure you hear this all the time, but thank you for creating CSS-Tricks & CodePen. I use them every working day without fail.

        9 points
  • Kelly SuttonKelly Sutton, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for doing an AMA on Designer News today. A few questions:

    • What are the origin stories for CSS-Tricks and CodePen?
    • What web technologies are you currently most interested in? What do you think transcends the hype?
    6 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

      CSS-Tricks was a get-rich-quick scheme. Or at least an "I wonder if get enough traffic to a blog to make a little residual income" scheme. Turns out, if you write consistently for a bunch of years, it's possible.

      CodePen came much later. I had already worked at a startup called Wufoo and learned a lot about what startup life was like. Wufoo is a success story in that it sold for a good valuation to a company that still runs it to this day. Tim Sabat, Alex Vazquez and I all ex-Wufoo and ex-Survey Monkey - and we're friends and we knew we wanted to work on something together. I had a little idea to build a site in the vein of the other "code editor in the browser" type site to use for all the demos on CSS-Tricks, but it didn't take long for us to realize it could grow up into something bigger and it could be out stab at a startup.

      As far as tech, I'm really excited about WebRTC. Free, encrypted, video and audio connections between clients around the world powered by each other's bandwidth? That's awesome.

      10 points
  • Jim NielsenJim Nielsen, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris, two things:

    1) Thank you! For everything you do for the web community.

    2) I saw you in Austin in 2013 for the talk "Preprocessing is for Everyone". You had a pretty awesome shirt on that you supposedly bought in the hotel lobby? My question is: do you still own that? If so, do you wear it and for what occasions?

    Chris Coyier awesome shirt

    5 points
  • Ernest Ojeh, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris, Thanks for css-tricks.

    1. What's most important skill(s) or language(s) every front-end developer should know?

    2. What are your favorite mac apps for development?

    2 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago
      1. HTML - everybody ends up touching that, you might as well know it well. Plus, how many years has it been around now with almost no threats to its throne?

      2. I don't use that many native apps... Sublime Text for an editor and browsers with their respective DevTools. I've been liking Sketch too, for what little visual design I get to do.

      3 points
  • Petr TichyPetr Tichy, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris, thanks for your Tricks, Pen and Talk!

    As you know the learning never stops in our industry, so my question is what are you personally trying to learn these days?

    Also do you hate tomatoes?

    Cheers Petr @ihatetomatoes

    1 point
    • Ricardo NunesRicardo Nunes, 8 years ago

      Here is one thing I would like to see. Screencast/podcast of you and Chris.

      0 points
      • Petr TichyPetr Tichy, 8 years ago

        Haha that's a great idea. Any specific topics you would want us to cover?

        Btw check out the episode #2 of the new SVG Immersion podcast for a chat about my SVG Christmas project.

        0 points
        • Ricardo NunesRicardo Nunes, 8 years ago

          Your skills with greensock / skrollr / magic embeded with the svg course of Chris :)

          And yes, I've seen it, I'm subscribed to both of you.

          0 points
  • betul senger, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris,

    Do you have spotify list you listen to while working? and you are using the sublime text?

    Thanks for the reply

    1 point
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      I can't listen to music when I work. Or anything really. It's sad. I wish I could - it's just impossible for me to concentrate when I try.

      Yep, still likin' Sublime Text. It's fast. Does the trick. I'm not even sure what would compel me to switch. Probably some awesome feature I can't even picture.

      0 points
  • Jono HerringtonJono Herrington, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris -

    Everyone else is thanking you so instead I will say .... GOOD ON YOU MATE! A little weird ... a little strange? Just wanted to make you feel at home like you were starting off a show on Shop Talk :) #LoveShopTalk. But for real thank you for your contribution to our industry.

    My question is how did you get into doing web talks? I'm guessing it was a natural progression from CSS-Tricks but I might be wrong. I am interested in speaking myself but do not know the best way to get into doing it inside our industry. I know one could just do local meet up talks, but I am thinking more in terms of conferences. Thanks in advance!

    1 point
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Lots of conferences have calls for talk submissions. Like this. Definitely go for those when you see them.

      My general advice for tech speaking is to not bite off too much in one talk. Talk about something YOU think is interesting, scope it down to something you know you understand well, and frame it with something relatable.

      It doesn't hurt to kinda "be out there" in the community a bit as well. Maybe write blog posts about the topic you're interested in speaking about. That way you're known as the person who knows about THAT THING. You're chances of being asked to speak are a lot higher that way.

      1 point
  • cliff nowickicliff nowicki, 8 years ago

    I'm a designer. You are awesome. Shop Talk is the only dev related podcast I can tolerate listening too. That is all.

    1 point
  • Albert _Albert _, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris!

    Your AMA has made me come out of lurking to register & comment! Thanks for all your work, I'm constantly referencing and learning from your sites & the podcast - the CSS-Tricks almanac in particular has been a godsend!

    QUESTION: What is your favorite newly-discovered site right now and why? (for me it's echojs.com, helps me stay somewhat sane while trying to keep up with the javascripts)

    1 point
  • Lukas HostettlerLukas Hostettler, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris, love your work and glad you're doing an AMA!

    My question is do you think that web design is dying? Similarly to how you started css-tricks as a get rich quick scheme, I thought learning web design would allow me to make some easy money. 4 years after taking my first class in high school, and here I am still doing doing it, and not just for money, but because I enjoy it.

    However, it seems as though all these free, simple site builders and template based systems like wordpress are killing off the web design industry, at least smaller businesses. I feel like only the medium-large web design companies will continue to prosper, because smaller business sites will be made by things like squarespace.

    It's kinda scary because I don't know what this means for my future, and if I should even continue learning web design. What are your thoughts on this and what I should do?

    1 point
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      This is quite the hot topic these days.

      Dave has my favorite take on it so far: http://daverupert.com/2015/02/john-henry/

      Can you ignore these tools? No. Can they become YOUR tools? Yes.

      If you are an intelligent, helpful, strong communicator with problem solving skills, are you ever at risk for being obsoleted? No.

      3 points
      • Pete MillerPete Miller, 8 years ago

        Also, someone has to design those themes, and the components for the tools. That could be you...

        2 points
  • David BachmannDavid Bachmann, 8 years ago

    Thanks for doing this AMA, you are a huge inspiration. Being a front-end dev wouldn't be nearly as much fun without you or your work.

    Hit me up if you are visiting Iceland again. My workplace would love to book a front-end talk. You name the topic and price! :)

    1 point
  • Josh GreenJosh Green, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris, you're arguably the most famous front end dev on the planet and for sure one of the nicest, humble and polite person on the net. Does all the attention sometimes get to you? I know you've written about being an introvert and I was wondering if the attention ever bugged you.

    Huge fan of your work! You're awesome man

    1 point
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      "It's like being a famous dentist." as they say.

      Two times in my life has anyone ever noticed me outside of an industry event. So it's not a big problem, and of course it's super flattering and not weird at all. I've done more than my fair share of celeb-stalking myself. I once saw Garrison Keillor in the airport (he's crazy tall). I followed him for like 20 seconds trying to get a picture so people would believe me.

      I am definitely introverted as well, but that's distinct from being shy. Introversion is more about how you gain and lose social energy. Socializing is enjoyable for me, but costly. There is a limit before I'm just DONE - and retreating back to my laptop and couch is required to get that energy back. Or else I turn into a ball of pure anxiety and might vaporize a city block (I think that's how it works.)

      6 points
  • Joshua HibbertJoshua Hibbert, 8 years ago

    Hey, Chris :)

    Firstly, thanks for all your incredible contributions to the web!

    I'm curious to know what the thing that you're most proud of is?

    Cheers, Josh.

    0 points
  • Ahishek SachanAhishek Sachan, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris!

    You're the inspiration of so many young web developers. I'd like to ask: How did you get inspired to get into coding life?

    What would you like to suggest young web developers, especially teens who are willing to be leading part of the industry like you?

    Is it alright for a web developer who's also a school kid to give more time to coding than to school work?

    0 points
  • AHMAD OMARAHMAD OMAR, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris!

    Thank you so much for letting us mere mortals ask anything. Before I do, I'd like to say how it brings me much comfort it brings to see your name appear when i google some CSS mess I had to deal with!

    which leads me to my question. How do you ever keep up with the ever so many new things for CSS that keeps popping up left right center? I mean, how do you know what method to use when and where.


    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago


      I did a whole talk on staying up to date at one point that may be of interest. Mostly: I don't think it's all that important that you stay bleeding-edge up-to-date all the time.

      0 points
  • Ehsan PourhadiEhsan Pourhadi, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris! Thanks for doing AMA! love reading your comments! :) Making style guide is getting more popular now days but i find it hard to understand what a good style guide is and how do you make them usable through the whole project, Do you have some tools or guide? Which front-end tools do you currently use?

    0 points
  • Gianmarco SimoneGianmarco Simone, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris, my questions have already been asked by others, so just wanted to say thank you for your contribution to the growth of the community and thanks for Codepen <3

    0 points
  • Wassim BWassim B, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Hi Chris, huge fan here!

    I love CSS-Tricks and what you did with it so far. Got a couple of questions for you. How long did it take for your blog to take off? How is your revenue model (the lodge) doing? Does it pay for your time? Any advices for those who want to make a living from their blogs?


    0 points
  • jivan shrjivan shr, 8 years ago

    Hey chris if you saw heavy traffic at css-tricks in 2011 from nepal, that was me. I learned much of css from you. My question is :

    Do you have any plans to moving your career to ux world?

    Eat healthy, never stop :)

    0 points
  • Bhakti PasaribuBhakti Pasaribu, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris! It's great to have you here.

    How old were you when you started coding, I mean enter the web industry?

    I'm 19 years old front-end developer. Any suggestion how can I improve myself for working, skills, and communication?

    Thank you! Salam!

    0 points
  • Tom DurkinTom Durkin, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris,

    I've been a long standing reader of CSS Tricks and I'm a premium user on Codepen (Love using it for coding out quick layouts etc).

    My question is, what do you think the most exciting thing is around front-end development at the moment? Maybe its a tool or a new piece of tech. Would be interested to hear what you are looking forward to or enjoying!

    • Tom
    0 points
  • Owais FarooqiOwais Farooqi, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you so much for creating CSS-Tricks and Codepen.

    I learn a lot from both websites.

    Wish you best of luck for your future projects.


    0 points
  • Cole SchifferCole Schiffer, 8 years ago

    Yo Chris,

    First, thanks for all of your help and for doing this ama.

    What is your computer set up?(Mouse, Monitor, Computer)

    Thanks again!

    0 points
  • Eliot SlevinEliot Slevin, 8 years ago

    Not a question, just a thank you. You've taught me more about css than anybody else, without Css Tricks I doubt i'd be making websites.

    0 points
  • Deryck HensonDeryck Henson, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Hey Chris,

    Aside from prepping your code at times, other times not, and sometimes creating a slideshow, you seem to essentially improv everything in your videos which gives them a sort of genuine comfort. How much script (if any) do you have written for them?

    PS - when is #137 coming???


    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Zero script. Some people love it, some people hate it.

      Next one hopefully tonight! Sorry they have been so slow, but rest assured I have a stockpile of ideas.

      2 points
  • Charlie ChauvinCharlie Chauvin, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Chris, Thanks for being a nice guy but you need more fart jokes and sound effects on the shop talk show!

    Who are your heroes, web or otherwise, that you look to for inspiration?

    0 points
  • Suleiman Leadbitter, 8 years ago

    How's the banjo? ;)

    Do you make banjo chase music?

    0 points
  • muhammad usmanmuhammad usman, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris,

    I love css-tricks. From time to time, I find things I want to share that I think other front-end devs can benefit from, what are your tips for writing for an audience of developers? You make css-tricks so easy to understand! Any tips?

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Live demos are huge.

      Also, if you're having any trouble with content, feel free to do link posts. There isn't enough of that. I love a good links-with-commentary blog.

      0 points
  • Carlos SantiagoCarlos Santiago, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris!!! im dying to jump more into coding but i have no idea where to start!!!! Any thoughts?!?! like should i learn SASS first and then move on to CSS 3 transitions and animations? my coding skills are ok, i can fight my way thru it; i can follow a jQuery plugin and change the classes the plugin is calling out but idk how to write it. any leads would be awesome and i would love to switch to UI developer but idk what does that title differs from Front-End Dev. i dont know if im making sense here. thanks in advance and nice to meet you!!!

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Hey Carlos,

      Rather than trying to form a plan around what tech you should be learning, you form a plan on what websites you're going to work on next. It's real projects that really level you up.

      2 points
  • spencer syfrig, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris! Any good resources or tips for learning to play the banjo?

    0 points
  • Matt McDanielMatt McDaniel, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris - I'm a big fan of your work (CSS-Tricks, ShopTalk, Codepen).

    I check out CSS-Tricks often and have even sifted through all of the older posts. I draw inspiration from the flexibility of the site and its propensity towards talking about small, but important considerations - the "scroll-then-fix" comes to mind along with the flexbox navbar post.

    My question is, in building CSS-Tricks, what sites, if any, did you draw on for inspiration content-wise. What sites inspire you from a design standpoint?

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Content inspiration can come from anywhere. It could be a post here on Designer News. It could be through working on a site and solving a problem in a new way. It could be sitting at a conference and hearing something that triggers a spark.

      The trick is to try and write everything down as quickly as it comes to you. Write down what made that little idea seem interesting. A little bit more than just a title idea. Maybe a few sentences and some relevant links. That way when you revisit the idea (sleeping on it is a good first step to seeing if it will be a good blog post or not) hopefully you have enough to re-ignite that spark. If not, it's probably not that interesting.

      At the same time, don't discount an idea based on the scope. Here's an example of a blog post where there is absolutely nothing new about it and it's a tiny tiny idea that probably doesn't matter to most folks. But I just think it's interesting, and if I do, some other people probably do.

      And don't discount an idea based on difficulty or obviousness either. I hear a lot of folks say they don't blog because if they know something, chances are everyone else already does. Definitely not. The things everybody knows, even in this niche industry, are super varied. Definitely don't assume anyone knows anything. Because they either don't (thus will learn) or do (and appreciated being validated).

      1 point
  • Moaaz SidatMoaaz Sidat, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    As someone who uses Codepen & CSS-Tricks on a daily basis to test out snippets of code and to study existing front-end patterns, it suffices to say that I find both quite useful & resourceful.

    My questions:

    • With the wide array of front-end technologies, and its ever growing nature, what would you say is a good stepping stone beyond HTML, CSS and Javascript (along with basic knowledge libraries & frameworks) to get deeper into the world of front-end? • Which are the CSS preprocessor features would you like to see become part of the standard spec?

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago
      1. Gettin' comfy with build tools and processes.
      2. Extends will be the most useful. Everybody bitches about them in preprocessors, but only because emulating them with selectors sucks. A native implementation would be huge. It's being worked on, which is wonderful.
      1 point
  • Kris KimKris Kim, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris! I’m a huge fan of your site (it’s always number 1 or 2 when I search anything about css in google) and your podcast. So much input!

    I’m a designer and keep learning myself coding. While I really love what coding does on the web/app, it also always scares me. I’m fairly sufficient in HTML/CSS but I’m kind of got hung up with basic JS for long time. It’s like reading a book real hard and not being able to remember the story the next day. Maybe I’m not really smart enough or may I’m not trying enough… So my question is, have you ever felt confident with your coding skill? If yes, at what point made you feel that way?

    Thanks in advance!!

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      I know EXACTLY what you mean. I was at that point 3-4 years ago for sure. It was a book that made it click with me: Learning jQuery That was a while ago now, so I'm not sure if there is better ones or what, but it worked for me. I brought it on a flight and I remember getting off the flight and running to my hotel room so I could crack open the laptop and try stuff. I think it's stuff like this with jQuery that get the imagination flowing:

      $("#button").on("click", function() { $("#area").addClass("cool"); });

      When I click this button, add a class to this other element. Now CSS can do new stuff do it! Anything! Fun!

      I also have a whole class starting from scratch if you're so inclined.

      2 points
  • Adam KuhnAdam Kuhn, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris, thanks for everything. When you come back to St Pete will you bring some bottles from New Glarus and/or Central Waters for trade? But seriously, thanks for all you do for the community- that is all.

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago

      Beer trade! Good idea. New Glarus-anything is always a favorite of mine.

      I dunno if flying with cases of beer is smart though. I wonder if you can just order it online? Maybe not 'cause laws? WHY IS BUYING THE BEER YOU WANT SO HARD?

      1 point
  • Geoff YuenGeoff Yuen, 8 years ago

    Hey Chris! If you're familiar with graphic design tools (like InDesign and Illustrator) do you think we'll ever get tools like this for web design? My reasoning is that no-one writes stuff in raw Postscript, which is what InDesign and Illustrator essentially output. Will html/css ever "settle down" so that we can have editors that can handle what designers need?

    0 points
    • Chris Coyier, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )


      I think it's going to be harder on the web. Even if the web stops changing entirely today, its way more complicated than print. The web is fluid. You don't know anything about the device looking at your site. There is movement. There is interaction. There are BUGS! That's harder than print, where you largely control the final product.

      That said, there is incentive for better tooling. Users want it. Companies want to make money from it. Obviously Adobe very much wants to build the tool(s) we all use for web design. They are trying.

      But there are others that want to as well. I think of:


      and algorithmic stuff like

      https://thegrid.io/ and others I forget...

      and even just website builders like

      http://squarespace.com/http://virb.com/ and even WordPress and other hosted CMSs

      All these are part of this weird place we are in right now - where the tooling is anything but solved.

      1 point
  • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, 8 years ago

    Hi Chris!

    I just want to thank you for the HUGE work that you do for every web developer like me. Your site is a wonderful resource and I use it almost daily.

    Thank you!

    0 points