OOCSS for JavaScript Pirates

A few weeks back I had the awesome opportunity to speak at the jQuery Conference in Boston. A colleague, Boaz Sender, encouraged me to propose a topic, but I couldn’t help wondering, “What could a dojo enthusiast possibly speak about at a jQuery conference?”

Speak about dojo? Uh, no way. That wouldn’t fly.

How about something about pure JavaScript? Maybe I could extract a feature of cujo.js and turn it into a jQuery plugin! … Nah, that’ll take too long. No time.

Wait! OOCSS! It’s applicable to all JavaScript development!

I knew that topic was the best chance I had — if a dojo guy had a chance at all — to speak at a jQuery conference. But how to sell the idea to jQuery developers? Most of the JavaScript coders I know either don’t understand CSS or don’t care to understand it. Well, to be fair, that description fits most of the dojo coders I know. Lots of jQuery devs come from a design background, so they know CSS. But still… how to let the conference attendees know that this talk won’t simply be about the same old CSS concepts?

I’ll have to just tell them it’s for advanced coders! This is CSS for JavaScript Pirates!!!

There were only a few days left before I had to submit the proposal for the talk, so I did what every over-worked coder does: I waited until the night the proposal was due.

I did two revisions before calling it good enough. (I usually like to wait a few days between revisions because it makes it easier for me to judge the content objectively, but that almost never happens.)

At the bottom of my proposal, I added some additional notes:

Note to reviewer: It’s no secret that I’m a dojo contributor working on a dojo-based MVC framework (cujo.js). Let it be known that I’ve also worked on my share of jQuery projects! (Who hasn’t?) This talk is about OOCSS and JavaScript, not cujo.js or dojo. I will be showing jQuery code snippets and will explain techniques that jQuery devs can use in their current projects.

That oughta alleviate any doubters. I hope.

There was still one major problem, though. I needed a demo. I could show some code snippets on the screen, but without a real demo, it just wouldn’t have the same impact. I thought I’d have to write one. But I knew I’d never make the time and would end up rushing both the presentation and the demo. That’d just make for a sucky experience — and a sucky, stressful week.

Then it dawned on me. My buddy, Brian, had an awesome demo already! His CSS3 Digital Clock app would be perfect!

First, let’s see if I even get picked.

Two days later I got the email with the subject line: “Your jQuery Boston Conference 2010 talk is accepted!”


A couple of emails, chat conversations, and phone calls later Brian was on the speaker list, too!

This is gonna be EPIC!

And it was. I got a bit nervous in the middle and forgot half of what I wanted to say, but I think I got the major points across. Brian did an amazing demo, and several dozens of people came up to us later and thanked us for the talk. I guess that means it was a success.

Kudos to the jQuery team, to the conference organizers, and to the other speakers. The whole conference was a huge success, imho. I am quite honored to have been able to participate in such an awesome event.

For more about the presentation and OOCSS, check out some of these links:

Brian debuted the exploding mod of the digital clock at the show. (Very cool.)

Brian’s write-up after the event.

Brian, looking more like a GQ model, than a pirate.

Me, looking rather stressed. I think I was saying “yarrrrrrrr”.

Another link to the slides.

Rate me and Brian if you attended the talk!

The github repo for OOCSS.

3 thoughts on “OOCSS for JavaScript Pirates

  1. I remember you tweeting about this when you first gave the talk; nice to have a little postmortem about it for those of us that weren’t there.

    I really like the OOCSS concept, but I find that I’ve got a lot of old CSS habits to unlearn in order to truly capitalize on it.

  2. Pingback: OOCSS for JavaScript Pirates | unscriptable.com - EtondeGroup Blog of Web Applications | EtondeGroup Blog of Web Applications

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