Talk.CSS #29

Yesterday was Talk.CSS #29. Although I’m still recovering from what happened last Saturday, I’ve been doing much better, so I was happy to head on down. If you haven’t already, feel free to check out my recap of and thoughts on my first time there!

As I mentioned previously, the venue is different each month. This month, the meetup was hosted by Carousell. I’d not been to their office before, so it was pretty exciting to check it out for the first time. There didn’t appear to be a convenient way there from the nearest train station, EW15 Tanjong Pagar, but fortunately I was able to hop on a 20-minute bus at a stop close to EW11 Lavender (which happens to be the same train station I stop at to go to church) that took me right there.

I was half an hour early to Talk.CSS, and ended up being the first to check in. I wish I could show you a photo of the guest list, but it didn’t feel appropriate to take one.

I took the elevator up to the twelfth floor, and found myself at the door to Carousell. I was let in, and immediately found myself surrounded (sparsely) by Carousell employees. I have to admit… it felt a little strange at first. Me, a guest, in the office of a startup surrounded by employees hard at work, be it on their product or on getting everything ready for us.

There was free food. I’m not a food person by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand that most people are, so there you go. There was free food. I did eat, but as I was still recovering from last Saturday, I ate very, very lightly. And I was OK. By this time there were about a half-dozen of us early birds, and there was still plenty of time so everyone decided to grab a bite before kicking things off.

First off, announcements. The named color of the month is lightsteelblue. HJ Chen was back in person but I forgot to introduce myself to her — d’oh! — but it was during these announcements that I found out that CSS UI level 3 had become a W3C Recommendation this month. I still remember when the spec was still a bit of a mess and features were still being moved in and out. Nice to see it finalized with highly interoperable implementations now.

There were three talks today. Thankfully, by the time I’m writing this there is video footage courtesy of Engineers.SG, so I’ll just embed the videos here! And, uh, share my quick thoughts below each video, too.

First, Benjamin Richardson from MoneySmart covered the perilous world of HTML emails. Lotus Notes was mentioned; I’m not sure how many in the audience knew what it was, but I did, although I was fortunate enough to never have the opportunity to use it.1

We were introduced to MJML, a React-based markup language that aims to streamline the design and implementation of responsive HTML emails, and PutsMail, a free testing tool that’s now owned and maintained by Litmus. I’ve personally not had to deal with authoring HTML email templates myself, but I’m well aware of how much of a pain it can be, so it’s great to know that such tools exist.

Oh and this was when HJ Chen also began exploring her prospects as a microphone holder:

Next, Yishu See, a software engineer from none other than Carousell itself shared her experiences at a CarouHack (an original name for the Carousell-branded hackathons) putting together a new, animated SVG version of the 404 owl. The results were pretty impressive. She says we can expect it to be rolled out soon, once they’ve gotten some issues ironed out.

The only annoying thing about developing and implementing a new 404 page, of course, is all the deliberate HTTP 404 requests you’ll have to sift through should you need to check your logs…

Lastly, a bonus talk by Chris on what it’s like to inherit a failing project — no source control, code that doesn’t run, lack of optimization, lack of consolidation of common elements, oh my! — and how, if you must leave, you can leave the project better than it was handed to you.

This was a pretty short Talk.CSS, lasting only about an hour. I wish I could stay longer, but I’m not big on networking just yet, so I called it an evening and headed home.

Next month’s meetup will tentatively be held at Rakuten Viki Singapore. A place I’ve never heard of, so wish me luck in making the trip!


  1. I used another Lotus product, the spreadsheet program 1-2-3. Maybe you did too. 

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