The last time I published a year-in-review post was in 2020, the year of covid-19. Lots have happened since then. This year was different on a lot of levels, so I decided to give it a shot and write my review for the year.
I wrote fewer articles this year due to client work and conferences. In total, I wrote 16 blogs on my blog compared to 33 in 2021. At first, I was a bit worried that my writing routine has changed, but the kind community just reminded me that it’s totally okay to pause and take a break.
Having published 3+ CSS articles per month for more than two years, I now feel bad about only publishing one article (too little time).— Ahmad Shadeed (@shadeed9) September 28, 2022
It's a little stressful. That's not normal, is it?
One month later, I celebrated the first month in 2.5 years without publishing an article. It was a good feeling!
Celebrating my first month without writing an article on https://t.co/tmF29BJDbn for the first time in 2.5 years. I’m taking a break to free up my mind 😊 🎉— Ahmad Shadeed (@shadeed9) October 31, 2022
Here are some of the valuable thoughts (and kind words):
It is normal. Sometimes you go with the flow and publish article after article, sometimes … you don’t. Take time off if you need it. And you’ve built up credit. If you fall silent for a month or two nobody will really notice. They’ll come back when you resume publication. - ppk.css
And this one:
You’ve published so many valuable articles & resources, plus you built up an incredible reputation within a short amount of time. You are a CSS rockstar now. Take all the time for whatever comes next! - Markus Seyfferth
Your posts are always so high quality so you’ve definitely built up enough of a repertoire to slow down and write at whatever pace you like – no one will mind at all! Do whatever works best for you, there will always be ups and downs activity and inspiration/desire to publish :) - Phil Wolstenholme
I’m a bit picky when it comes to working with clients. This year, I made a promise to not work with any client who shows any red flags from our initial communication. I can see that I succeeded with that, except for one client.
By red flags, I mean things like:
- Getting a feeling that the contact person is bossy, and doesn’t respect my opinion.
- Refusing to share crucial documents and files unless we start the project, even though an NDA is signed, and they play an important role in helping me estimate the work needed.
- ..and many more things that aren’t fit for this article.
Saying no to unnecessary meetings
I refuse to do a meeting if the matter can be solved via email. It just doesn’t make sense to waste an hour just to see a few feedback points. Email is useful!
I launched Defensive CSS, a strategy to write CSS that is future-proof. I’m proud that this little project got me to speak and travel 4 times this year. More details are in the speaking section below.
I was fortunate enough to speak 6 times this year. One of them was online, and the rest are in person.
Most of the talks are about my project Defensive CSS, except SydCSS meetup.
CSS Cafe, Online (Jun 2022)
Supermetrics: Helsinki, Finland (Aug 2022)
My first in-person talk ever. I traveled to Helsinki, Finland, and gave an in-house CSS talk about Defensive CSS.
What is special about this trip is that it’s my first time in Europe. I went on a photo walk around the city and then went solo to Suomenlinna, a historical fortress in Helsinki.
Paris Web: Paris, France (Oct 2022)
Bonjour! I was invited by the kind folks at Paris web to speak about a topic in CSS, and I picked Defensive CSS.
What I liked the most about this conference is that every talk has live captioning in addition to a sign language person. Accessibility at its best!
I met one of my favorite front-end developers, Manuel Matuzovic. We talked about lots of interesting things, including CSS, of course.
Xpand Conf: Dead Sea, Jordan (Oct 2022)
It was an honor to be invited to speak at this conference by Tabmi Jalouqa. Xpand conference hosted over 1000 attendees, most of them from Jordan. I believe it’s the first tech-focused conference in the middle east.
I got to meet Ahmad Alfy from Egypt. He is a solid engineering manager and I knew him for many years (because of the CSS community, of course).
SydCSS Meetup: Sydney, Australia (Nov 2022)
Two weeks before the conference, I was invited to do a talk on SydCSS meetup 9th birthday, and I said yes! Thank you so much, Fiona and David. I did a talk titled “Less Absolute Positioning with Modern CSS”.
The vibes at this meetup were really lovely! And it was my first ever attending a meetup that is focused only on CSS. No need to mention that it has the best pizza ever, seriously!
I asked the organizers if I can do a book giveaway to the best two questions, and they kindly confirmed that. Fun fact: one of the questions was: “Can I get a book?”, such a smart way to win.
Web Directions Summit: Sydney, Australia (Dec 2022)
It was my third time speaking at Web Directions, the first one was in Web Directions Code (Sep 2020, Online) about Debugging CSS, and the second one was in Web Directions Hover (April 2021, Online) on CSS Container Queries.
This time, I spoke about Defensive CSS. It was an honor to be here. When I think about it, it is just crazy that I traveled 14,140 kilometers from home to do a talk on the other side of the world. Such a privilege to be here along with my favorite web people.
Thanks to John, Jane, Rosemary, and the team for such a wonderful conference. Top-notch quality, and it’s definitely the highlight of the year for me.
John Allsopp, the conference organizer. I got the chance to meet him and of course, we took a selfie!
During our chat, I handed him a printed copy of my book, Debugging CSS. It means a lot to me that he wrote the book foreword.
On the same day, I met Bramus, a friend that I knew on Twitter for a few years. It was our first time meeting him in person. When I started my Debugging CSS book, Bramus was the first to offer his help and do a technical review of the book. Thank you again!
Finally, I got the chance to meet Thomas Steiner, a friend who I knew on Twitter for a few years.
Some nice words
Here are a few nice words from lovely people in the web community.
Addy Osmani used my popular container queries illustration to spread the news about the intent of shipping container queries support. I thanked him and got this reply.
Thank you for setting the quality bar so high for technical blog posts, Ahmad. I am constantly flabbergasted at how good each of your write-ups are; digestable, visual, memorable. Great stuff :) - Addy Osmani
Writing content takes a lot of time and effort. When I receive words like this one, I feel so happy.
Thanks - I’m a 1 person web team for a town, and without folks like you, I could never keep up with all this stuff! - A nice person who bought me a coffee
In the blog announcing the front-end track at Web Direction Summit, John described me as “an authority on developing with CSS”. It means so much to me!
Ahmad Shadeed has quickly become an authority on developing with CSS–and at Summit will present “Defensive CSS”, a concept he coined to describe CSS that is future-proof and defensive, and preventing CSS issues upfront. - John Allsopp
I wrote 17 articles on my blog ishadeed.com and it got over 1,400,000 page views. That’s a 16% increase over 2021, even though I wrote fewer articles in 2022.
17.9K followers at the time of publishing this article.
State of CSS
First, if you haven’t checked the State of CSS survey results for 2022, then I advise you to do so when you can.
One of the questions in the survey is about the people from the community. This is a free-form question, and I found that my name has been written 117 times along with my favorite people from the CSS community. Wow! So thankful.
That’s it for 2022. Happy new year!