I am Chris Coyier. Ask me anything.

Chris Coyier is the creator of CodePen and CSS-Tricks.com. He is a well known author, speaker and hosts the Shop Talk Show podcast. If you are a front end developer, you most likely use CodePen everyday. This is a great opportunity for you to get in touch with Chris and ask any questions you want him to answer.

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This might sound cliche, but are you a fan of CSS frameworks? What do you think of them?

Maybe a telling fact: I've never used one for a real project.

When I'm the CSS lead on a project (kinda my thing), I feel most comfortable when I'm intimately familiar with everything happening in the stylesheets. I get that intimacy by writing it (and reviewing what other people write). Not to mention I enjoy writing CSS.

I get squirmy when using any outside CSS at all.

But as usual, I'm of two minds. I'm also extremely impressed by some CSS frameworks. Bootstrap is kind of amazing and I feel like the "ugh, bootstrap is everywhere blah blah" sentiment is overblown and unnecessary. I'm super impressed by Foundation. I think it's approach is probably my favorite (I get good results applying it to raw semantic markup.) It's starting to get a little weird though recently with all the different varieties native apps and stuff.

For the teams out there that don't really have a CSS lead, or don't have one that is excited about that being their job, you can likely get a lot of productivity out of a framework.

There are also about 20 billion of them because of this weird thing that happens where people that have some success writing CSS from scratch want to turn their thinking into a framework for the rest of the world.

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Great to see you here! How do you maintain and manage both CodePen and CSS-Tricks?

A photo was recently taken of me proving that I actually have three hands.

Also a tiny monster forces me to code quickly.

But really, this is my favorite quote about productivity.

I just work on stuff and that's it. I don't even work particularly hard. I just checked my RescueTime and it's kind of embarrassing actually. It's not even 8 hours a day. I need to up my game there.

Also, if it's not clear, I'm a founder at both CSS-Tricks and CodePen, but many people work on both projects. Here's the CSS-Tricks Team and the CodePen Team. I also do ShopTalk Show with my friend and co-host Dave Rupert.

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What are your thoughts about Atomic CSS (acss.io)?

With the introduction of so many similar frameworks (like Tachyons), do you think the CSS industry is moving away from OOCSS and towards single purpose styling units like ACSS?

It weirds me out.

I'm not super compelled by it.

But, I know some very smart people that ARE compelled by it. I would use this kind of thinking:

  1. Can we be comfortable and productive with this thing?
  2. Does it seem like this thing will serve us well into the future?

If both of those questions get confident YES's, use the thing and ignore the nay-sayers.

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Thanks for hosting this AMA.

What, according to you, made CodePen a huge success? (given that the front-end world already had jsFiddle, Plunker etc)?

Thanks for having me! I'm digging this site.

Also thanks for considering CodePen a huge success. Time will tell, on that one, but I'm very confident!

It's true that tools like jsFiddle and JSBin predate CodePen, and CodePen was born in their shadow. We had this consideration: "What are the coolest demos people have made on jsFiddle, TODAY?" How do you find them? Who decides that?

Based on that, we decided to make the homepage of CodePen a showcase rather than the editor itself. We decided to have user accounts and make CodePen a social network in addition to a code editor. We decided we'll pick some of the best work on CodePen and show it to you. We decided we'll use algorithms to determine popular work, so you have a voice in what is popular as well. The community that came out of that is what makes CodePen different. Well, one of many things ;)

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Hi Chris:

1) As far as I know you are a self taught developer (the best one) how have you done that? I know it's a long journey to become an expert in one field but sometimes we we need guidance.

2) Could you please mention what tech/language/framework you're going to utilize in the next 6 months?

3) What's the tech stack of CodePen?

4) How many programming books do read per month?

One more thing, I started off my programming with CSSTricks :) Thanks for all the tricks you taught us :)

1) There might be a little too much mystique around "self taught". A guitar player might be deemed "self taught" because they didn't take lessons. But in actuality, they downloaded a bunch of tabs, watched YouTube videos, ask fellow musicians questions, listened to a huge variety of existing music. They had teachers, they just didn't call themselves teachers.

Development is the same thing. Even if you didn't go to school for it, you learned along the way through reading, googling, co-workers, whatever.

As for me, I'm absolutely not self-taught. In high-school I took programming courses and loved them and excelled at them. In college I took both programming, art, and design courses. I've taken online courses. I've read a ton of books on design and development. All that in addition to the normal course of learning through community and doing. I'm very much a product of teaching.

2) The biggest project going right now is Rails, but React/Redux inside of it, and SCSS/PostCSS.

3) We have a podcast called CodePen Radio that talks about this stuff a lot. It's that stuff above, plus some Node, MySQL, loads of AWS servers.

4) I probably skim at least one.

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