10 Talks & Presentations on the Future of CSS


Every year it seems like there’s more web development and UX conferences. They include a bunch of speakers who share the latest industry happenings with frontend development, user experience and general web design.

Many of these conferences are private, but there are quite a few that release their presentations online. You can browse these keynotes on YouTube and find hours of information at your fingertips.

I’ve listed my personal favorites below. They cover modern CSS, Sass and the future of the language. Take a peek over this list and be sure to bookmark any videos that catch your eye.

1. The Future of CSS

Aptly named The Future of CSS, this talk was given by Guil Hernandez at the CSSconf Europe event in 2017. It paints a clear picture of where CSS is moving and what developers can expect in the coming years.

Topics include more advanced properties like color manipulation and even custom CSS properties. Nobody really knows when major advancements will be released. But there’s always a push for the web to move beyond its current state.

Developers need to keep up with these changes and adjust their typical workflows. The more you can work around modern CSS, the easier it’ll be to adapt.

2. Let’s Build a CSS Game

Here’s another fantastic talk given at CSSconf, this one by Una Kravets. She covers a CSS game process, where viewers can follow along and build a custom CSS game from scratch. Pretty cool!

It’s rare to find such interactive talks, but they do exist. This one is probably my favorite because it’s so new and fresh – not to mention the topic is superb. I’m a big fan of experimental CSS and this presentation takes the cake.

Note that this runs for about 30 minutes and does use Sass as a preprocessor. So it helps if you’re already familiar with the language before watching.

3. Houdini: Demystifying the Future of CSS

Developer Das Surma wrote a lengthy blog post on Houdini a few years back. This eventually led to his talk, Houdini: Demystifying the Future of CSS, given at the Google I/O conference in 2016.

The goal of Houdini is to create certain specs, called a set of drafts, which would expose parts of the CSS language to the developer.

It’s a huge undertaking with the combined power of Mozilla, Google, HP and many other tech companies.

I find the video easy to consume, but it’s not meant solely for beginners. This is a solid intro to the concepts of Houdini for CSS.

And if you’re hoping to learn more about this topic, have a look at these related links:

4. Make CSS Fun Again with Flexbox!

We all know about the magic of flexbox. It’s the newfangled way to structure pages, create grids and build responsive layouts without all those obnoxious breakpoint styles.

Make CSS Fun Again with Flexbox! is a talk from late 2016 given by Hubert Sablonnière. In this 30 minute presentation, Hubert covers some of the fundamental points of flexbox that make your job a lot easier.

You’ll learn how to vertically align content, how to organized fluid grids and generally what makes flexbox so awesome.

Yes, there are tons of videos already on this topic. But you can learn so much from this talk that presents flexbox in a unique light that I think it’s worth the watch.

5. Structuring and Organising SCSS Files

Sass feels like a gift from the developer gods. It makes coding a lot simpler and gives you so much control over your CSS files.

The trouble is that Sass files (SCSS) can get complicated. You’ll end up with tons of separate files, functions and so much clutter that it feels impossible to clean up. Thankfully Joel Pan has a solution with his talk, Structuring and Organising SCSS Files.

This comes from the Talk.CSS meetup event in Singapore, which is a pretty small gathering. This means the audience is pretty quiet and the video quality is great.

This makes for a nice watch for anyone who works with Sass and needs to do some spring cleaning.

6. The Power of CSS

Front-Trends 2017 is all about the power of frontend development. And The Power of CSS takes this idea to the next level with lots of little tips and demos built in pure CSS code.

The talk by Una Kravets uses a two-screen view: one from Una’s talk on stage and another screen displaying her slides along the way. You’ll learn about all the different @rules features, quick snippets for custom UI effects and some future ideas for CSS.

Ultimately, the goal is an accessible interface that looks great too. And Una knows how to walk that line perfectly.

7. A Modern Front-End Workflow

I’m all about productivity and finding a great workflow. This is how you get stuff done and move fast with new projects.

A Modern Front-End Workflow by Umar Hansa touches upon the major changes to frontend development in recent years. You’ll learn how newer tools like npm, Sass and Haml/Jade/Slim are changing the way we build websites.

This also covers debugging and solving problems with the newest tools at our disposal. The process of building websites has gotten a bit more complex – at least as a learning curve.

But once you get over that curve, you’ll have a powerhouse workflow that can’t be beat.

8. CSS Grid Layout

In this hour-long keynote, Rachel Andrew shares her thoughts on the newest CSS grid properties.

These are fairly new, but come with a good amount of browser support. And if you watch through the CSS Grid Layout presentation, you’ll get a strong primer from one of the industry’s most knowledgeable CSS developers.

I recommend this talk for semi-experienced devs who already know their way around CSS stylesheets. But if you feel comfortable pushing the limits of your knowledge, this is a great place to start.

9. Responsive Typography

Typography is just one aspect of responsive design – but it’s a big one. Your text needs to flow between mobile and desktop seamlessly with a brilliant experience the whole way through.

In Responsive Typography, speaker Zell Liew shares advice on structuring your pages for readability first. This goes beyond the basics like contrast and font choices to cover dynamic ideas like custom line heights, font pairings and margins between font sections.

Certainly worth a watch since it’s not a very long video and the ideas are quite forward-thinking.

10. Thinking Beyond “Scalable CSS”

At dotCSS 2014, Nicolas Gallagher gave a fantastic talk entitled Thinking Beyond “Scalable CSS”.

Nicolas is the original creator of the ever-popular Normalize.css, a powerful reset library that forces all browsers into the same defaults. He’s certainly a thought leader in the CSS space and this talk is worth a view.

He does mention Normalize, but the talk mostly discusses naming conventions and building stylesheets that can scale with your projects.

11. You Might Not Need A CSS Framework

Belen Albeza makes a compelling case for moving away from frameworks like Bootstrap. Yes, there’s a lot of great stuff you can use when building on a Bootstrap foundation.

But this 22-minute talk proves that there’s also plenty of reason to move away from that foundation. Not every project requires a bulky framework. And sometimes, it’s better to flex your CSS muscles by working from scratch.

All of these talks are worth checking out and they each bring something new to the table – including some great ideas.

Yet the only way to find out the future of CSS is to simply watch and wait.

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