500: Front-End Web Professionals Excited to Talk Front-End Web Design And All It’s High Dramatic Fashions

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We're celebrating episode 500 by looking back at the previous eras of ShopTalk Show including why we started the show, how it's changed over the years, and how the tech and our lives have changed as well.



Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert in silly sunglasses and a sign that says Shawp Tawlkk Shough DOT COM

Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert

This episode is with just Chris & Dave, ShopTalk Show's hosts. Chris is the co-founder of CodePen and creator of CSS-Tricks, and Dave is lead developer at Paravel.

Time Jump Links

  • 01:19 Welcome to episode 500
  • 03:17 Rolling back to 2009
  • 04:43 The first 100 episodes
  • 11:17 One of our first sponsors
  • 16:18 Sponsor: Notion
  • 17:58 100 - 200 era
  • 21:00 Getting hacked
  • 21:36 Early CodePen days
  • 22:58 We used to be funny
  • 24:05 Book and Magazine club episodes
  • 27:19 Keeping it easy to do
  • 30:05 Sponsor: Automattic
  • 31:55 200 - 300 (Dave goes Windows)
  • 38:29 300 - 400 Show series
  • 39:56 Talking to people in Javascript
  • 42:37 Jamstack and CSS and JS
  • 47:42 400 - 500 Pandemic life
  • 48:58 Did CSS 4 already happen?


Dave Rupert: All right. Hello and welcome to the very first inaugural episode of ShopTalk, a podcast about front-end Web design, development, and UX with your host Dave Rupert -- that's me -- and Chris Coyier. Say hello, Chris.

Chris Coyier: What's up, everybody?!

Dave: We each are front-end Web professionals, and we are excited to be here talking about front-end Web design and all of its wonderful, high dramatic fashions.

Chris: [Laughter] Good intro. Yeah, that's -- you know.

Dave: Is that good?

Chris: High dramatic fashions? Yes, absolutely. We're here to talk shop, people. We're here to talk about the Web in as nuts and bolts as we can.

I just wanted to say, since this is our first episode, that I just couldn't be more stoked to be doing a podcast. I've wanted to do one for a really long time, and now we're doing it!

[Banjo music]

MANTRA: Just Build Websites!

Dave: Hey there, Shop-o-maniacs. You're listening to Episode 500 of the ShopTalk Show, a podcast all about front-end Web design and development. I'm Dave -- in the shed -- Rupert and with me is Chris -- in the office -- Coyier. Hey, Chris. How are you doing on this fantastic, wonderful, celebratory day?

Chris: I love the excitement, man!

Dave: Oh--

Chris: Hell yeah. Episode 500, it's a big deal. Half of an M, you know.

Dave: Half a grand. This is great.

Chris: A G! Yeah, it's pretty cool. It's pretty cool. 500 and that's weeks because we never publish more than once a week. With 52 weeks a year, it's roughly a 10-year achievement we have done here.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I think we might even be over.

Dave: Yeah, I think we're officially over by like two or three weeks - or something.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: You know it's kind of wild to me because we've been doing this every week, showing up every week for the last ten years - or whatever.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: I think we've missed two shows - or something, like I had a kid or something like that. [Laughter] I don't think we've missed very many shows at all.

Chris: Out of a mistake, yeah, probably something like two, I think.

Dave: Some Christmases off, maybe, like holiday seasons off, but yeah.

Chris: Exactly. There was a little bit of that that happened. But mostly, we'd just show up and the do the show. Sometimes, we blog in or do some shows ahead of time.

Dave: A little bit. A little bit of pregaming.

Chris: Yeah. We've probably never even done a month, though, where the most we've ever been ahead is like three, I think.

Dave: Yeah. No because I think, for you and me, for a while there, at least, it was like you'd pick three episodes off. Boy, that's like ten JavaScript frameworks.


Chris: For real, yeah. You can get out of the swing of things pretty darn easily. It scares me a little bit, but let's not think too hard about that.

If we roll back the clock all the way, that takes us to January 9th, 2012. We did an array style, I guess, so show 000 where we just did a prequel.

Dave: That was the show, the prequel, because you have to have a feed to get on iTunes, so we had to--

Chris: Oh, that's right. You kind of cart before -- your horse before the cart - or something - so you put something there. Because the day you launch, it's nice if you can be like, "Click the link to get us on iTunes," and it's already there.

Dave: Yeah, because it's like a three-day turnaround or something to get on iTunes and all that crud. At least it was.


Chris: Yeah, there's probably some stuff we just are forgetting even there.

Episode 1, though, was with Jonathan Snook. It struck me, looking back through. If we attempt to chunk this out into blocks of 100 and then express to you, dear listener, kind of the vibe that was happening in those 100 show chunks.

Dave: Maybe you have been along the whole ride. That's impressive. [Laughter] But maybe you were in for 100 chunk, maybe out for--

Chris: I'd consider us literal friends if you-- [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah, you probably know more about me than my wife. [Laughter] No--

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: Or at least the work I do. But yeah, these big chunks. But I think, with any podcast listener, you're in and then you fade out. That's what I do for podcasts. I'm onboard for 100, 99 PIs, and then I'm out for 200 or something, which I think is just the ebb and flow of podcasting.

Chris: In looking at the first 100, I was like, "Wow! Look at who said yes to us in the early days of this."

We were both around anyway. Probably we were already speaking at conferences. It wasn't like we were complete nobodies, but pretty close to complete nobodies.

Dave: Well, you had a popular blog. But yeah.

Chris: But only in the early days of it.

Dave: Yeah, I don't think you were even--

Chris: It wasn't quite the same as it is now.

Dave: You maybe just started working at Wufoo at this point, maybe, like 2010.

Chris: Maybe. I can look that up. But then to reach out to Jonathan Snook, who is already a published and famous for Smacks and already had a good, luminary career in CSS, bouncing around, and bringing CSS architecture to places to be like, "Sure, I'll be on Episode 1 of your show."

Dave: Yeah. Kind of wild.

Chris: Paul Irish being Episode 2, and just a lot of people. It is interesting. This is true of the first 100, especially, but all the shows, of people who come on the show and then just are still very much a big part of the industry today and are successful. They might have pivoted a little bit, but a lot of people are just straight up good household name Web developers still today.

Dave: Yeah. No, it's kind of impressive. Then there are people you know, like a whole bunch of names you know.

I don't want to name everybody, but like Dan Cederholm, Nicole Sullivan, Jessica Hische, Ethan Marcotte, Mat Marquis, people who have no business saying--

Chris: We probably couldn't get them now, ironically.

Dave: Yeah. They'd be like, "I'm busy." [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah. Yeah.

Dave: Yeah.


Chris: Yeah. We got mostly yeses. I've always found this fascinating about tech podcasting is you can just ask anybody. Chances are, you're going to get a yes. Then you'll be like, "How's Tuesday at noon?" or whatever, and they're like, "Yeah, that's fine."


Chris: Cool, so you have a pretty loosey-goosey job.

Dave: Your boss doesn't care? [Laughter]

Chris: I wouldn't want to be in charge of booking - I don't know - first grade teachers or something. They'd be like, "I'm at work."

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah, it's kind of funny. We're all online anyway. Yeah, there's only been a couple episodes.

Chris: Think of Jessica Hische. She's so famous now doing kids' books and just crushing it in everything she does. Still probably pays attention and can build a solid website, but maybe pivoted a little bit away from that.

Dan Cederholm is now kind of retired from Dribbble land and making fonts and stuff. Pivoted away but still an influential figure.

Zeldman is at Automattic now, but still running An Event Apart and all that stuff.

People are Web adjacent and still just crushing it.

Nicole Sullivan, you mentioned, is at Google now influencing the future of the Web in huge ways.

Mullenweg is still on his quest to own the Internet and doing quite well at it, it seems like.


Dave: Yeah. Yeah, slowly but surely making everything a GitHub project or an open-source GPL project.

Chris: Really cool, so it was amazing who we were able to talk to. We should almost play a little of the theme song.


Chris: I'll tell you more about that later in the show, but for now, let's kick things off.

[Banjo music played]

Chris: Rock-n-roll, baby. You know?

Dave: A little more twisted. A little more -- yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Not to mention it was like a minute long - or whatever. [Laughter] You probably feel like we'd probably lose people to the length of it these days. That's fascinating.

We used to use literal gun noises for rapid fires, which started to come under scrutiny, and then there's no way we could do now.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: That was just a mistake, probably, in the early days to even have gone down that road, but we did. Whoops.

Dave: Yeah, well, and then I think people gave us feedback like, "Hey, please don't." We were kind of not even great. We were like, "Well, maybe you chill out." I don't know, but then we did eventually change it to more like a pew-pew-pew sound. But then with everything culturally in the United States, we said, "Yeah, we're done with guns."

Chris: Yeah. The most legitimate one, to me -- all of those concerns were legitimate -- the one where "I'm listening somewhat loudly in my car."

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: "I pull up next to somebody with my window down at the stoplight. That's not the kind of image I'm trying to put out there." Yeah, fair enough.

Okay, so wonderful. Rapid-fires, we did a lot of them, actually, and for a long time.

Dave: Yeah. I think we were doing a guest -- like you, me, and a guest -- and then it was kind of layering in. I think it was just the alternate format, kind of. Like, hey, we'll just do a bunch of--

Chris: Yeah. I think we called it meat and potatoes for a long time, and we still use that term a little bit because the whole point of the show is that you'd write in because the show was modeled after car talk, and such. We wanted to be very heavy on the "you write in and we talk about your question," in a way.

I always thought of Leo Laporte, too, or whatever.


Dave: Oh, that was the big thing at the time, and Dan Benjamin used to do kind of that too. But it was a lot of effort, man. We used to do live shows every week, like live recordings with broadcasts with RMPT - or whatever.

Chris: I forgot about live!

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: We did literal live. This whole period, we were live.

Dave: We were live before Twitch--

Chris: Wow! I forgot about that.

Dave: --and before you could just hit a button in OBS and go live. It was a nightmare to get going, but we--

Chris: It truly was, but you mostly dealt with that. Then we would wire up chatrooms that sometimes worked and sometimes weren't and sometimes had a weird delay.

Dave: And IRC, and then it got hacked. [Laughter]

Chris: Oh, I forgot all about that. That was the first 100. I'll also say that our first sponsor and one that (if you went back and listened to those shows or noticed) who just sponsored just everything all the time was Christopher and Arie from Environments for Humans. That's all we did was ads for Environments for Humans. They ran those, like, CSS Dev Conf, but just tons of other conferences as well. They would do these online ones way before COVID.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: They were kind of innovators in the online conference. Then they ran a lot of them. There must have been a dozen of them - or something. There's always a new one to talk about (accessibility focused and all that). They were real pioneers in that stuff.

Dave: Yeah, I mean looking back now, it seems quaint almost, right? They were doing six a year - or something: Accessibility Summit, CSS Summit - all these kind of six or seven conferences a year, and in-person ones. Then who would have known 2020 and 2021 would have happened and everything would be online and everyone would have to learn how to do that. Yeah.


Chris: Well, they made the mold and kind of made ShopTalk happen - in a way. I think if it was a total drought of sponsorship in those early days that I'm not sure we would have continued. I feel that strongly about it that I think they, in a way, Christopher and Arie, made ShopTalk happen and have the longevity.

Dave: Yeah, huge thank yous because it was -- there's something. I think I've said it before. It just triggers in my brain when you're doing something for nothing versus when you're doing something for money. You know? There's a trigger in my brain that's like, "Cool. Yeah. I've got to do it. I've got to show up for it. I've got to do it." You know?

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Whereas my open-source projects are just rotting on the vine because I don't. Anyway, that's a huge motivator. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Topic-wise, there was a lot of talk of responsive Web design, a lot of talk about CSS architecture stuff. That was probably it. Sass was a lot because it's fricken' still a big deal. But it was really a big deal because it was new.

Dave: Yeah, it was like, are you using Sass? Lots of people were like, "No." [Laughter] "It's too much."

Chris: Right.

Dave: But then--

Chris: That feels quaint now, too, like, "Why would I want this machine in front of my authoring?" [Laughter] Those days -- people still kind of say that, but the amount of actively worked on websites that run a build are definitely most of them.

Dave: Yeah. No, I mean I'm trying to think when was -- I mean Node, I think, was around, right? But it wasn't like use it in production at this point in the 2012. Maybe you were but React wasn't even out yet - stuff like that.

Chris: Oh, yeah. Not even out let alone out but not used. That was a whole other phase.

All right, and then the last thing I'll say about the first 100, we'll say, is that, amazingly to me, that was when me and you sat on a stage at Dan Denney's FEDC (Front-End Design Conference).

Dave: Front-End Design Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Chris: Yeah, and we held the microphone to the crowd and said, everybody say, "Just build websites," and we recorded it, and we use that soundbite a lot. Here it is.


MANTRA: Just Build Websites!

Chris: Oh, so good. I love it.

Dave: We have everybody's name on the website from that. [Laughter] We were like, "With special guest," everybody's name from the conference.

Chris: Yeah. We call it our mantra. I think it's up at /mantra at

Dave: That sounds right.

Chris: Ooh, no, it's not. Sorry. I'm live typing here. Yeah, it's there. I don't see the names anymore.

Dave: Oh--

Chris: We should put the names back up.

Dave: We should.

Chris: We used to have the names. I remember. But I feel like it's a mantra that I can hold to today. I think the point of it has always been that you learn by doing. You learn by doing something real. Websites are real. That's the point of this because there are so many questions about talking and learning and what do I learn, and yadda-yadda-yadda. The answer to all that has always been, "If you do the work, the learning just happens." That's the spirit of it.

Dave: Yeah. No, I think that still is it, for me even. It's like, "Oh, man. I overthink things a lot." If I was just building it, I'd be a lot further along. [Laughter] Yeah, pretty cool.


[Banjo music starts]

Chris: This episode of ShopTalk Show is brought to you in part by Notion. That's That's where you can go to get started for free with your team.

It's a collaborative tool. When I first got started working with Notion, this was kind of an unintended side effect of working. It wasn't even how it was necessarily marketed, really, but this is how it played out--and I'm very happy about it--is that it replaced a bunch of tools.

For example, we needed a tool at CodePen to work on shared tasks, like a Kanban board of who is working on what, who is talking. Where do I go to reference information about this task - and all that stuff? We do all that in Notion, meaning we don't need a separate tool for project planning kind of stuff because it works in Notion.

Then we have meetings. Where do we keep those meeting notes? Well, we probably use some third-party app, but we don't need to anymore. We do it right within Notion. Then it's better because you go to work on a task and be like, "Oh, what did we say when we worked on that last time? Last time we talked, where are the meeting notes for that? Who was commenting on it and giving extra context and information?" Well, it's all in Notion, which is great.

Then there's just general knowledge-based stuff that we need as well, like, "Who works for us? What's their phone number - or whatever - in case I need to call them? What's our policy on this? Where's some documentation about how we handle support requests for this?" It's all in Notion, whereas that would have been stored somewhere else before.

Sometimes, those things were rather awkward, like, "Oh, it's in this buried Dropbox folder - or something. You didn't know that?" No, now it's in Notion, and not just in Notion, but searchable and easily organized within Notion. That's one of the things I love about Notion.

Thanks for the sponsorship. That's

[Banjo music stops]


Chris: The next 100, from 100 to 200, I feel like the WordPress talk beefed up a little bit, not that WordPress didn't exist back in those early days. But I remember this was the era in which we had to put up an FAQ page, which we would occasionally respond to questions and be like, "Hey, sorry. We actually talked about that like 15 times, [laughter] and here are the episodes."

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Where we did because we just got the same questions a lot. A weirdly common one being, "How do you sync a WordPress live database and a local database," and there was a really clear answer to that. There are different ways these days, but it was always, "WD Migrate Pro," or whatever.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I think I got the acronym wrong there.

Dave: WP DP Migration Pro. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, and I don't know. I even forget now why you have to go Pro, but I think you have to if you want to just push a button and sync them. Otherwise, the free version, you would download an SQL file, which is also kind of fine, but it was more satisfying to let the Web browsers talk to each other.

Dave: Sorry. I'm digging back here. I'm like, "Why did we talk about WordPress so much?" [Laughter] This was around the time -- September 2014 -- the jump from WordPress 3 to WordPress 4, which if I recall was kind of a big jump, right? It was kind of the new UI.

Chris: I couldn't remember why.

Dave: It was kind of a big jump, and I think it just was a hot commodity back then. You know?

Chris: I feel like I've really dragged you into it because, sure, ShopTalk Show website is, but you don't do WordPress work, like, ever.

Dave: Not anymore. No. I mean we did, like the old podcast I did. ATX Web Show was WordPress. We'd cut WordPress for clients.

Chris: Did you ever do it through Paravel, though?

Dave: Yeah, we'd build WordPress client sites.

Chris: Okay. Okay. I feel less bad about it then.

Dave: Here and there, and it was super-good. It's like every tool, though. You build it, and then you get rushed, and then you build it, and then you look back on it. You're like, "Oh, that didn't come out good." [Laughter] Or, "That was rough."


Chris: Yeah. It's on my mind so much because CSS-Tricks runs on it, and I try to keep it up to date as best as I can. Kind of a seminal moment right now with the full site editing thing, which I just don't know. If I don't do that, am I behind?

Dave: Oh...

Chris: Or is that very optional? I like that it exists, but I also don't feel like it's right for me. But that's how a lot of people felt about the block editor, which I disagree with. Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

Okay, a lot of WordPress, weirdly. That's when we had the hacker show, which was just a big episode for us in that it was just widely listened to and a lot of people remember it and stuff. We did an update on that a couple of episodes back because we heard from old Earl Drudge. Nothing major to report there, so feel free to just go back and listen. It was no big deal.


Dave: Yeah, I think it was cool because you got hacked, and you got to talk to the person who hacked you. I mean that's super novel - still pretty novel. I don't know. It seems cool. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah. There just happened to be an open communication channel and we took it. It was also ShopTalk Show pre-dates CodePen just by a little. Even in the first 100, I think CodePen was still existing, but then it took a couple of years to decide to go big on Pro and to hire people and just take it more seriously. I think of this next block of shows as CodePen being a much bigger part of my life.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: There are shows with Tim and Alex and then we grab Rachel, who was working for us already. Then there's an early show with Dee, who wasn't working for us but ended up working for us. She was kind of part of the clan the whole time anyway. Early CodePen days, and that bled over into the show.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think it was a lot to talk about because you were kind of starting a big company, you know. You went from, I think it was -- am I right that you all kind of made it at Wufoo, or you were all working for Wufoo and then kind of made it as a demo thing, but then it was like, "Hey, we're going out," right?

Chris: Yeah. Well, there's a missing step in that we all met at Wufoo. CodePen didn't exist until Wufoo was bought by SurveyMonkey.

Dave: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Chris: We were all at SurveyMonkey, and then we broke off. Yeah, one little middle step there.

I really noted that A) it was hilarious that we got Paul Irish's mom on for a show. We used to be funny. That was awesome.

Dave: That was good and--

Chris: [Laughter]


Dave: --I relistened to that episode because I was like, "Why did we do this?" But it ended up being really cool because we got to see how somebody used the Web in a context that's not Web developer.

Chris: Right.

Dave: Like, what does the Web mean to somebody who is not a Web developer.

Chris: It wasn't meant to be a lark. It just was funny to be able to say we got Paul Irish's mom, but she worked in grief counseling and stuff. I met her in real life and it was great. Really, there was meant to be value in the show. It wasn't like--

Dave: Did we even tell Paul we did that or did he find out later? I forget.

Chris: I don't know. I definitely emailed her directly, so--

Dave: [Laughter]

Chris: I'm sure he was ultimately aware. How he feels about that, I don't know. Yeah. Tricky.

We did a book club. I remember really enjoying that you suggested we read The Cathedral and the Bazaar and that ended up as a good show, I think, that I looked back fondly on.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Early days.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: We didn't keep up the book club very well.

Dave: We can reboot it. We did. I don't know if it was this. I think I put it in the next block, but we did do the magazine corner where we bought--

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: --magazines at airports and talked about them. Yeah. Remember airports?

Chris: That was awesome.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: We had a bunch of prepper magazines. [Laughter]

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: I could have used those, but--

Chris: I think, at the time, I was always taken by the cheesy entrepreneurial ones.

Dave: Oh, yeah. You wanted to be on - whatever - Wealth, Inc. - or whatever. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. [Laughter] Yeah.

Dave: I bought ones that were just like how to buy a boat or baby yacht magazine - or whatever. Anyway--


Chris: Yeah, I remember. It was during this period. Aaron Dowd was our editor for a long time in the beginning, and then Chris Enns took over for him during this period, and Chris has now been with us much longer, so Chris is the official editor of the ShopTalk Show.

Dave: Official editor. His little podcast empire has been blowing up, so that's good.

Chris: Mm-hmm.

Dave: We started using Pham Transcription. Shout out to Tina Pham.

Chris: Yep, still use her to this day for those show transcriptions. Does a great job.

Dave: I think we started kind of, here and there, doing transcriptions. But eventually, we just kind of do bulk. We just say, "Put a block of five up," right? I think we do them all now - to my recollection. I think every episode.

Chris: Oh, transcribe them?

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, CodePen Radio, too. We just do them all now. Yeah, it used to be like we'd pick and choose because the money was a little dicier and stuff.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: That's just gotten better in that regard. Thanks for listening. [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. Thank you for listening and sponsoring.


Chris: We've lost a couple of people, which is weird to think about, but I guess that'll happen when you have so many shows. A little sad.

We had Alex King on the show. That was in the first 100, actually, though.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: R.I.P. Then Christopher Schmitt, too, who just was such a dear friend of the show. It sucks to say goodbye to Christopher.

Dave: Yeah. Even now, still at a loss for words of what to say. You know it's hard.

Chris: Just sucks.

Dave: Yeah. Big loss for our community.

Chris: Big time. I don't think we did anything for Episode 100. Generally, we didn't. Generally, we didn't even do anything this special. [Laughter] We just trucked on. Whatever.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: But we did -- at the end of 200, we did a special look back show. I didn't actually listen to it, but we did at 300, too, and then not at 400. Whatever. We're doing it again at 500.

Dave: Checks out. Checks out. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: It does because it's easier to just do a show. You know? I even mentioned about -- we were on Todd Libby's podcast the other day. I'm not even good at eating a donut for big milestones and achievements.

Dave: No.

Chris: Something about it checks out, but there is actually the easiness matters. It's another reason that ShopTalk Show exists to this day is because it's not that big of a burden.

Dave: Yeah, well, yeah. I think credit to us. [Laughter] We found a formula that we could do for 500 times in a row (on a weekly basis). That's magical, to be honest, because podcasts are hard work. Scheduling people, getting people lined up, doing all that, that's hard stuff, and sponsors, editors, and transcripts. It's a little bit of work to do for fun, you know, in your spare time (in addition to your day job).

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: The formula where you and I show up and talk helps it.

Chris: Yeah. I think there's been a hundred decisions along the way that have had to always kind of fall down on the side of, "Well, this is easier, actually, so we're going to do this." We're not going to do the live thing anymore. It's too hard.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Or we're going to have to pull in help on editing over here because it's too hard. We're going to ask more of our editor. They're going to do the WordPress part because it's just getting too much for us to pull off. We're going to use this tool to record the podcast because the other way is too hard. It's not always too hard. It's just a little tweak towards making it easier so that we don't burn out.

Dave: Don't burn out, because that's a big thing. But then if I could spill my secret sauce on podcasting, there are two things you have to do: quality and consistency. The show has to be out every Monday because if you publish on a Tuesday, people get all mixed up on when your show is actually showing up. It's so weird, but I feel like it's a thing.

But then quality, we're beaming directly into your ears. People don't want it to be bad. If it's in your car, you don't want to have to over juice the audio just to hear the podcast. You need good audio and you need a consistent publication schedule. For that, you may need to rope in other people to do that.

I remember I was doing the editing for the first part. I was putting six, eight hours into it. Then Aaron Dowd shows up, and he's like, "It sounds terrible. Let me help you." I was like, "Oh, okay. Yeah. Thanks, Aaron."

Chris: Yeah. Woo!

Dave: Yeah, I think, yeah, we kind of made some decisions. Hey, we'll pay you to do that because that makes it easier.

Chris: Heck yeah. Rather important, I think. I still find it highly important. Scalability, in a way.

Dave: Mm-hmm.


[Banjo music starts]

Chris: This episode of ShopTalk Show is brought to you in part by Somebody told me (not long ago -- and it stuck with me -- that there's this perception of where it's like, "Well, it's like WordPress on training wheels." [Laughter]

I think that sticks, to some degree, because there's a little bit of nugget of truth for it. It's really, really easy. It helps you get started on a WordPress site. That's kind of fine. In fact, I have some sites on it that are using it very much on purpose because of that because I want none of the work behind setting up a host, a deployment strategy, a Git repo for it, and all this stuff that I do want -- very much so -- on some bigger projects.

Sometimes I'm just like, "I just want to blog about something," or "I need a really simple storefront," or "I need a really simple brochure site," or whatever. excels at those things. But it does not have to stop there. It's not like there's some point where you have to be like, "Welp, gotta leave."

This is what I want you to know is that they have plans. Their plan, starting at the business, which is $25 a month, which puts it in the mid-tier hosting category anyway, as soon as you're on that plan or higher -- and there's only one higher plan anyway -- you get SFTP access and direct MySQL database access to that site. Meaning that you could have a site that is a lot like a WordPress host anywhere. You can work locally. You can spin up your WordPress locally, work on it, have a Git workflow, and set up a deployment strategy that sends the site up. Then is your host. You're still installing plugins, manipulating, and doing anything that really -- pretty much anything -- WordPress can do. It's just is your host for that site then.

I just didn't know. A lot of people don't know, I feel like, that it can just be your regular WordPress host as well. Thanks for the support,

[Banjo music stops]


Chris: The next block was 200 to 300. It's funny to think it was that long ago, but that's when you started your journey towards a full-blown switch to Windows, which is no joke because you were a Mac guy for so long. Have since come back, but not all the way and maybe not permanently. It was such a weird journey.

Dave: Yeah, I'm back, but it was very rushed back. I guess, flashing back, I think it was the summer.

We got a lot of questions into ShopTalk, and it was like, "Cool. How do I do--? I don't have the Compass app on Windows to compile my Sass via a GUI, so what do I do?" We were just like, "Well, buy a Mac." [Laughter] That's not a good answer if you live in a country where Mac is two months, five months of work. You know?

It just wasn't a good answer to the question, and so I just said, for the podcast's sake, I would like to do it. Rey Bango at Microsoft worked with me, and he's since moved on. But I got set up on an old Surface laptop and figured out Windows. It was hard.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Stuff was broken on Windows, and I was ready to give up. [Laughter] Then they launched WSL, so I stuck with it.

Chris: Yeah. What a road.

Dave: Then I was doing fine, and then, eventually, I just needed this one piece of software to work, and I couldn't get it to work on Windows. And so, I was very mad.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: But I did get it to work recently, so I could switch back. Uh-oh!

Chris: Yeah because I think that's just cool that you're fluent in two things, in a way. It's like knowing multiple languages and stuff or perhaps even more useful in this case.

Dave: Yeah. I mean I'm probably, just from a sunk cost perspective, on Mac for right now. Whatever.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: This is what I use for work. But I look at--

Chris: Is it sitting right next to you, though? Didn't you game on it for a minute?

Dave: Oh, yeah.

Chris: Wasn't that part of the fun?

Dave: I have a Mac on my left and a PC on my right. I have a little switch I can push to switch between them.

Chris: Oh, so you don't have to move chairs.

Dave: No!

Chris: Same monitor?

Dave: Hit a button.

Chris: That's cool.

Dave: I have to manually flip the monitors, but yeah. I've got a little setup. I game on it at night. I'll still use the PC and the new Windows 11 updates look pretty good, Chris. I don't know. Maybe I'll head back.

Chris: Hmm.

Dave: But you know. I have a little bit of PTSD, I guess you might say, from just fighting my software a little bit.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: But I think it's all better now. But I think I'm just like, I'm going to choose stability here, especially as I build a company and all that.

Chris: Yeah, fair enough.

Dave: I'm just choosing a smidge of stability.


Chris: You'd think -- it was just especially interesting for us, so focused on the Web, that you'd think -- and I know you're back-end, so the story was trickier. The software we use, but then of what we make, it doesn't matter. Websites don't care about Windows versus Mac. They care about the different browsers and the versions and stuff, but platform, there's no platform column on MDN. You know?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: It generally doesn't matter?

Dave: Well, 100% shouldn't matter, but it does. Just even the quality of websites. I used Edge. Chris, I used old Edge. Try it on Edge. Try it on flavored Edge, and stuff was broke. It was kind of wild. You couldn't log in to websites - or whatever.

Chris: It's a bummer that it does. There was a Brian Kardell post the other day that was about how different those ports are. It's almost a miracle that we don't think about platforms so much because they're literally different code.

Dave: Right! I mean because I think there's something like Edge on Linux now, but not every browser is on Linux. Not every Chrome port - or something - is on Linus. It's that difficult enough to get to Linux.

Chris: Oh... Yeah, and then it feels like -- stuff like that always feels like it's hanging on by a threat, to me, then, because it's like why would the company continue to invest in this thing with so few users on it.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Is it just mercy?

Dave: Yeah. [Laughter] I don't know. Sysadmins somewhere? [Laughter]


Chris: Life stuff seeped into this period as well. I was writing an SVG book at the time.

Dave: Yeah!

Chris: That ultimately gets published, but that, of course, manifests on the show as, like, let's talk to my publisher and other publishers and other people that are writing books. Then once the book comes out, I'll do a show about my book.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Chris: That kind of stuff. That's fine. We closed rapid fires out. We don't do them. We still do in the sense of we just do a show about topics, and then we put the topics in the title. [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. We still do questions and answers, but it's not the classic, you know, gun-riddled rapid fire. We used to experiment with that formula, like five minutes of questions - or whatever. Anyway, that was fun.

Chris: Your oldest kid isn't ten yet, right?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Your kids all happened during the lifespan of ShopTalk Show.

Dave: Yep. Yep.

Chris: But it wasn't until this mid-level that I was a dad. Both your kids are older than my kid.

Dave: Right.

Chris: I think--

Dave: Just a hair. Yeah.

Chris: Then we both became dads, so that seeped into the show a little bit.

Dave: Yeah. We had 8 o'clock bedtimes. It's great. It's great.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: [Laughter] You make it to 8:00? Gees.

Dave: Well, if I'm lucky. Yeah.

Chris: [Laughter] Then we hit 300 - all great. Then now we're in the 300 to 400 territory. We start to think about series. I was doing a talk thing at the time that I was trying to put together but feel like it was well researched.

Dave: Mm-hmm.

Chris: I called it "How to think like a front-end developer," and then used this show as a place to do some of that research and had kind of a static set of questions I would ask people. Then when I went around giving that talk, I could say this isn't just me thinking about this. Let's listen to Monica and Peggy and Brad and Trent and Sam and all these people. I put audio clips in the post, and it just made for kind of a better talk, I think.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: That was a good example of using crossover stuff, like these make good blog posts. I have a series of posts on CSS-Tricks about this, and a series of podcasts, and a talk at conferences.

Dave: Oh, the full 360--

Chris: It's like to leverage--

Dave: --full 360 branded experience. [Laughter]

Chris: Yeah. Damn right. All those blog posts have Pens in them.

Dave: We can do YouTubes about it now, too. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Gol' dang right.

We were like, "A series is cool." Those still exist on the ShopTalk Show. It was only this version of the site that really embraces the fact that we did series at all, so that's there. You can browse those shows together, grouped, if you want to. Just click the "Series" button ShopTalk Show.

Then it was kind of your idea to talk to people in the world of JavaScript, and we executed that as well.


Dave: Yeah. "How to think like a front-end developer," was pretty awesome because I think that's where Brad was like front of the front-end and back of the front-end. That turned into a huge concept, I think. Then even your "Great Divide" post was, I guess, informed or built right around the same time, which I think is a seminal piece of Web development blogging.

But then, yeah, it was kind of like, "What's up with JavaScript?" We talked to a bunch of JS maintainers like Henry Zhu from Babel and Lori Voss was at NPM at the time, Jason Miller from PReact. Rich Harris had just launched a thing called Svelte. [Laughter] Evan You was on talking about Vue and Vue 3. Guillermo Rauch from Next.js, you might remember that.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: But yeah, it's just very interesting to see. I felt like it was a big year for JavaScript and a big year to kind of catch up on everything because that would have been -- let's see. I should know. I should have the series right here. The year is 2019, was the series. Yeah, so 2019. I mean JavaScript, this is kind of peak JavaScript, but it was good.

Chris: I think so. Yeah, and then again you had the idea to just do it all over again later. That was in the 400 to 500.

Dave: Yeah. We did it again in 2021.

Chris: Maybe we'll do it again.

Dave: But just because it was like, has it changed? I think what was interesting about that -- kind of skipping ahead -- we're in a new area, and ESM has really unlocked this whole era of tooling.

Chris: I know it's so funny to think about, but it really has. It's like, "Really? The imports and export statements changed JavaScript?" It's like, yeah, they did.

Dave: Yeah, and now we can write little Rust applications. Rust didn't exist when we started the show. [Laughter]

Chris: No.

Dave: We can write Rust applications that just chew this stuff up. It's kind of incredible.


Chris: They do. Those were great. Those were great series. We started talking about Jamstack a whole bunch because that became a little paradigm shift to talk about. We started talking about CSS and JS because now we get more questions about that then we do WordPress, even though WordPress is just as big. For whatever reason, it's not in the dev zeitgeist as much. I don't know why. I still live in that world a bunch, but you know how it is.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah. No, that was a big shift. I mean React kind of broke the paradigm of, like, "Let's put everything in JavaScript, like templates." Then people were like, "Let's put the CSS in the JavaScript." Then there was a huge backlash.

It's kind of interesting to see how it's all shaken out now. [Laughter] But yeah, CSS and JS is kind of a thing. Web components basically use it. But I think the shape of it is still changing.

It kind of went all client-side and then it went kind of all pre-generated style sheets, Webpack-ified. Yeah, it's probably fair to call this the era of Webpack. It's like, we were just putting everything in JavaScript and Webpack was chewing it all up. Kind of an interesting situation there.

Chris: It was the same. It was during that time I published "The Great Divide" on CSS-Tricks. It's not our highest traffic page, but it's definitely our highest trafficked essay and just feel like a lot of people still reference it and think about it in that way.

All it was, it was kind of a callback to how to think like a front-end developer and people feeling this proliferation of JavaScript, this new era of JavaScript, and how many developers are so deep in that world and kind of calling out the idea that it feels like if you go really deep there, it's sometimes at the cost of other front-end fundamentals.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Sometimes that causes tension. It doesn't have to, but it can. It's not even necessarily a bad thing. It's just that there's so much to learn about that ecosystem that that's where your specializations are. The tension comes in, well, if the final product is not reflective -- if the people that work on the project are only people that never got around to learning accessibility and all that, that the final product of websites can suffer and, hence, the tension.

But there wasn't as much understanding about it at the time, I feel like. That's my regret about it is that I painted it as this battle or something. I don't think that's quite what the post says, but that's how it was taken, perhaps.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: That it's this divide that cannot be solved. I don't like painting politics like that either because that feels very sad and inevitable to me. I don't like that feeling, and I don't want to contribute to it. That's the one regret there.


Dave: Well, what's interesting is, when we started this podcast, front-end developer wasn't a term. I think there are shows where, hey, there's this new word out, "front-end developer." What do you think? [Laughter]

Chris: It wasn't.

Dave: It wasn't a word when we started. Now, it's very much a word, and I think this post was kind of like, "Hey, there's this thing called front-end development. It's a big bucket. It means a lot of very different things to a lot of people."

I think some people might have, yeah, kind of reacted like, "Oh, there's a divide. Good." [Laughter] Or "Oh, there's a divide. Bad." I'm sure there are both sides of that camp, like, "There should be a divide, a bigger divide." Yeah, I don't know.

Every time I hear Brad Frost's Front of the Front, I'm like that's a great way to put it. Still, I think there's some language.

Mina had a really nice quote. I'll try to find it. Her thing was like front-end developer, it's anything that touches - that goes to the user. Is that it?

Chris: Yeah, Mina Markham's quote. Yeah, that was basically it. It's anything that a user sees.

Dave: Anything a user sees is the domain, and I thought that was really cool perspective that we're all responsible for that. I think, if we center around that, there are a lot of good principles that can come out of that.

It's got to be fast. It's got to be performant. It's got to be secure. It's got to be accessible.

There's some common ground we can build up there.


Chris: Absolutely. Oh... and then the final - the final phase, the last couple of years, I mean you can't avoid the freakin' pandemic. It's been with us for years now, so plenty of talk about that and how it's shifted all the online work, online conferences, all that.

Dave: Online conferences. We kind of even shifted our show. I think I said a couple of episodes ago, we could have just had people on, I guess, and we did have people on. But I think, for us, it was even like, "Let's just settle into some rapid fires. That's probably the easiest effort, you know, path of least resistance." We did a lot of that, but we got guests kind of coming on again, so that's good.

Chris: Yeah.

Dave: But that JS series, JS 2021 series was kind of cool just because it was like, "Hey, wow. The tooling has super changed, so get ready." Even CSS is super changed. These last two years of CSS land with container queries and all that stuff is huge.

Chris: Oh, it's just revving up, too, so plenty of content for the future for us in that way.

Dave: Yeah, so it's kind of catching fire. I think that's something I'm excited about.

Chris: That's good. Let's end with I'll just list some of that out. We'll end with not reflecting but looking forward, right?

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: I published this post, which some learned about CSS if they last boned up during CSS 3, which I've heard a bunch. That's kind of the thrust of Jen Simmons. There should be CSS 4 and CSS 5 because CSS 3 so -- even though CSS 3 was meaningful spec-wise in an interesting way, and CSS 4 wouldn't be, it doesn't mean that we can't steal it marketing-wise--

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: --to say this chunk of stuff is CSS 4 and, thus, you should learn it because it's kind of a thing. That has already happened, and we're headed into CSS 5.

Dave: Kind of, yeah. CSS 4 happened while we were sleeping, and now we're going into CSS 5.

Chris: Which is Grid and Flexbox, custom properties, preference queries, some new color stuff, variable fonts, clipping paths, masks, filters. All that stuff did not exist in CSS 3.

Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Chris: That's a big chunk of stuff. I don't know where you put all the Web component stuff. Maybe that's in there too.

Dave: Yeah. Yeah.

Chris: Then what's coming in CSS 5 would be container queries, container units, independent transforms.

Dave: Scroll timeline.

Chris: Nesting, scroll timeline, the has selector, the new school viewport units that aren't messed up, cascade layers, @when, scoping. Holy crap! [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. No, I mean--

Chris: Those are not all up in my brain entirely yet. You know? I know what they all are, but I do not know the quirks and the muscle memory and all that.

Dave: Yeah, muscle memory for reaching for it because I'm so used to just doing it the old way I know. Yeah, that's really interesting to think about, like, CSS 4 already happened and we are actually going into CSS 5. We skipped a number.

Chris: Yeah, maybe we should get Jen to talk about that. That would be good. I like that framing. Okay. Well, thanks, Dave. What a journey. Let's get a milkshake later.

Dave: Yeah. I may even head up to Sonic and get a grape nerd slush. You know what I mean?

Chris: Woo!

Dave: Did you know? Did you know Sonic had a Kevin Durant slushy?

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: It had fruit in it, and I think that's what made it sports. But I like to think, after the big sports game, Kevin Durant is like, "I'm going to roll up to Sonic, park my Bentley, and order this nerd slush with fruit." [Laughter]

Chris: Oh, dude. I love that, like seeing Michael Jordan just have a two-liter of Coke that he's just squishing into his mouth. You're like, "That was the first and last day you ever did that."

Dave: Yeah. Yeah. Zero body fat.

Chris: [Laughter]

Dave: Elite athlete. Yeah. Just drenching himself in Coca-Cola Classic. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. Leave that to us chairbound Web developers, please.

Dave: [Laughter]


Chris: I think the next section of shows is we're going to get that barbeque sponsor.

Dave: Oh, I'll do that. I met Kevin -- or I met Franklin, Aaron Franklin once. His kid and my kid were playing, and I was like [stumbling words]. [Laughter]

Chris: Let's hang out next weekend too! You know? [Laughter]

Dave: Yeah. You want to be my best friend? [Laughter] Anyway, we'll get the barbeque sponsorship worked out.

Chris: They've got to pay for it, though. You know? I don't want a handout here. Then we've earned it. You know what I mean?

Dave: Yeah, that's true. I would like -- pay is good. A brisket delivered. Airdropped would be better.

Chris: Oh sure.

Dave: That's all. Yeah.

Chris: There's trade.

Dave: Yeah.

Chris: Trade would be good.

Dave: I'll do trades. All right, well, cool. [Laughter] I guess we'll wrap it up, Episode 500. Thanks, everyone, for joining us along the way. I mean, again, y'all make it happen. You're the listeners. We appreciate that. We love your questions. We love trying to answer them. Yeah, again, we love that y'all have tuned it for however long - the whole time, a little bit, whatever. We really appreciate that.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for downloading this in your podcatcher of choice. Star, heart, favorite it up. Follow us on Twitter, @ShopTalkShow, for 16 tweets a month. Join us over on the D-d-d-d-discord, We have YouTube now. That's a new invention in the last 100 episodes.

Chris: Oh, yeah! Heck yeah, it is.

Dave: Go check those out.

Chris: Just published one this morning as we record.

Dave: Pretty hot video right there. Yeah, so join us over there. Chris, do you got anything else you'd like to say?

Chris: [Deep breath]