Decoupling the Frontend through Modular CSS with Julie Cameron

Lightning Talk:

Vera Reynolds: Know Your Objects


CSS is hard. It’s a simple language, but getting it right and avoiding specificity hell can be a challenge if you don’t have the right framework to back you up.  Especially in large scaling projects, you might start adding ID selectors here and !important properties there and the next thing you know you’ve backed yourself into a corner where even the smallest of UI changes will take hours to work out. Ew.

Or how about this? Ever jump into a project and find that even the slightest markup change results in broken JavaScript AND sometimes even broken backend feature tests?! WTF. Ew.

This talk will look at how taking a modular, object-oriented approach to CSS can turn frontend woes into frontend wins. We’ll examine modern CSS approaches like OOCSS, SMACSS, and BEM and demonstrate how they will help to not only decouple your CSS styles and reduce specificity conflicts, but how they will also help to decouple your CSS and HTML from your JavaScript and feature specs.


Julie Cameron is a frontend developer for Articulate working in remotely from Ypsilanti.  She is co-founder of the Ann Arbor chapter of Girl Develop It and instructor at Girl Develop It Detroit.  Julie is a fan of Sassy CSS and modular architecture, responsive web design, and is a student of JavaScript and self-improvement.

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  • john h.

    Thanks! Great talk.

    2 · November 13

  • Julie C.

    Hey all! Huge thanks for coming out last night! I had a blast spreading the CSS love to the JS crowd :) And huge thanks to Brian, Dennis, and John for having me!

    Here's a link to the slides:

    3 · November 11

    • Gerard K.

      Sorry to have missed this. Thanks for linking the slides.

      November 11

    • Justin N.

      Thanks for the slides. Airport pickup duty was horribly timed but maybe the plane won't be delayed next time...

      November 11

  • Angel T.

    I learned a lot

    1 · November 11

  • Mike B

    This was great, it finally closed the gap for me on how to handle abstracting common styled elements across modules (i.e. header titles). Thanks again!

    1 · November 11

    • Julie C.

      Thanks, Mike! Glad to hear you got a lot out of it!

      November 11

  • Roland C.

    Awesome talks. I've been wanting to know more about modular CSS for a while, thanks for a great presentation. Where can we find Vera and Julie's slides?

    November 11

  • Karen D.

    Julie, this presentation was a great followup to your Sass workshop!

    2 · November 11

    • Julie C.

      Thanks, Karen! So glad to hear you've really been able to take the knowledge learned and apply it!

      November 11

  • Miguel C.

    Awesome material and killer presentation skillz

    1 · November 11

  • Matthew M.

    Thanks also to Vera for the lightning talk-- made me want to break out the console and dig in!

    1 · November 11

  • Christopher S.

    Great presentation, and thorough coverage of the different approaches to modularize CSS.

    2 · November 11

  • Matthew M.

    Nice job Julie! My head is full.

    3 · November 10

  • Bob A.

    Erg! Had to miss as much as I wanted to be there. But ....
    Nov 15th (this Sat): Global Day of Code Retreat
    Less that a week remains and only 6 seats are left. Register at If you've never been to a code retreat, this is the one not to miss. It's free, you code all day with awesome stranglers, we feed you both breakfast and lunch. What more do you need to know? Still want more? Check out the Code Craftsman Saturdays website.

    November 10

  • Justin N.

    I'll be dropping by for as long as possible until I pull airport pickup duty. Great talk last time, David.

    November 10

  • David J.

    Wish I could be there! Can't wait to check out the video!

    1 · November 10

  • zane

    I cant wait to attend. The Internet is RAD! lol

    1 · November 7

  • A former member
    A former member

    This already assumes a bit if CSS familiarity and coding experiences?

    October 13

    • Suby R.

      The CodeAcademy course will probably give you a decent foundation into using CSS.


      October 17

    • Julie C.

      Sorry, Jay, just now saw this. I agree, Code Academy would be a great way to establish familiarity and understanding. But actually styling a "real" site will help solidify that foundation.

      1 · October 29

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great resource Chris! I've got homework. Thanks.

    1 · October 17

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