I had a conversation with my brother-from-another-mother, Zell, a couple days ago. Half catch-up and half discussion on the project we’re working on, which I’ll be honest, I have not been keeping up with very well. Project in question being a course called Essential CSS.

There are a still a couple chapters to be written. And the content is all in my head, but somehow, the process of getting the thoughts out into lesson form is proving more effort-ful than anticipated. Overall, since mid 2020, I’ve published a lot fewer blog posts and talks.

On much decreased output

Is there a good reason for this? Probably not unless you think “I just didn’t feel like it” is a good one. I did mention to Zell I had a hypothesis. That I actually have an invisible word output quota. Even though my public output seems sparse, it’s not like I’ve stopped writing altogether.

It’s just that a huge bulk of this output is for my day job. So apparently, it is not that publicly known that I joined Shopify in May 2020. Which means I’m coming up to the 2 year mark. I admittedly kept it on the down low because I was switching jobs during a time many people around me were losing the theirs.

Most of you have no idea how significant this milestone is because in my decade-long tax-paying work experience, I have never stayed at a company for longer than 2 years. I’m doing my best not to get fired before that happens. It’s a pretty nice place to work, to be honest.

But I happen to be on a team where I’m “out-of-timezone”, i.e. I’m in the APAC timezone while the all my other team members (except 1) is on the other side of the planet. To compensate for this, the 2 of us document extensively, because we do not have the luxury of real-time interactions with people other than ourselves.

So our Github issues are very detailed, our pull requests are annotated (Github comments are great for this), and we drop lengthy posts explaining the rationale behind our major technical decisions. That’s a lot of words during the course of the day.

By the time I knock off work, my word juice has been squeezed dry and I just want to become a consumer of content not a producer. Sometimes I do get flashes of “hey, let’s write a blog post” (like right now), so we’ll see how this goes. I will finish up the course as soon as I can though, that much is for certain.

On web things

Another reason I looked back at some of the blog posts I wrote in the past was because I just saw the Utopia project by James Gilyead and Trys Mudford. The project really resonated with me and the same thoughts and ideas that I had about the web from years ago are still relevant now.

My first public blog post on the web design process itself was informed by John Allsop’s A Dao of Web Design, written in 2000. I don’t know whether to be amazed by the timeless-ness of the piece or sad that it’s been more than 2 decades and we still have not moved the needle enough.

The talk that brought me around the world was based on the idea that we should embrace the fluidity of the web and in some sense, let go of absolute control over where things need to be. I’m very glad and reassured that folks at the CSS Working Group continue to push things forward with the help of browser engineers, giving web developers like us more and better tools to work with.

On the state of the world

I have not seen my parents in person since February 2020 since travelling home hasn’t been the easiest of options over the past 2 years. That might change soon, but travel policies flip back and forth like the wind, so who knows. Travel in general seems like a really foreign concept to me nowadays.

The last country I was in before the pandemic shut everything down was Ukraine. I was there in 2020 for JS fwdays and although all of the speakers who made it in person had to scramble to leave before the borders shut down, I think none of us would have imagined what is happening right now.

I had been beyond fortunate to have the chance to visit Ukraine multiple times over the years and have wonderful memories of Kyiv, and the people I met there. To see people having to up their entire lives and leave their homes or hide in shelters, streets and civilian buildings shelled and reduced to rubble is tragic and horrifying.

Vitaly wrote a heart-wrenching post on Smashing Magazine and in it there are various links on how we can help even if we are physically far away from Ukraine. I’ll highlight Real ways you can help Ukraine as a foreigner because it contains a globally crowdsourced list of links.

If you have the means to, please do what you can to show your support to Ukraine and their people.

Wrapping up

The past 2 years have been difficult for many people. And I can only hope that all of you hang in there, take care of yourselves and if you can, someone else around you as well. 🇺🇦❤️😷