Building a Better Web
June 11–12, 2018: Training
June 12–14, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
San Jose, CA

It's not dark magic: Pulling back the curtains from your stylesheets

Aimee Knight (Built Technologies)
9:00am–9:40am Thursday, June 14, 2018
Secondary topics:  Best practice, Developer Experience Track: Tools, Platforms, and Techniques, Technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 4 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Frontend developers, web developers, and software engineers of any level

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

What you'll learn

  • Explore browser internals to learn how your CSS actually works under the hood


Chances are if you’re a web developer, you’re going to have to write some CSS from time to time. When you first looked at CSS, it probably seemed like a breeze. You added a border here, changed some colors there. JavaScript was the hard part of frontend development. Somewhere during your progression as a frontend developer, this changed, even as many developers in the frontend community simply dismiss CSS as a toy language. The truth is that many of us don’t actually understand what our CSS is doing under the hood.

We all like to make jokes about it, but how many of us have actually taken the time to try and understand the CSS we’re writing. How many of us have actually reasonably debugged an issue to the next lowest abstraction layer when we hit a wall? All too often, we settle for the first Stack Overflow answer or hack or just let the issue go entirely.

Take a step back and stop mindlessly throwing darts at the dartboard. Join Aimee Knight for a deep dive into browser internals to learn how your styles are parsed and rendered and explore the most common issues developers face, such as z-index, the cascade, and positioning. Sure, you may still not have an eye for design, but you might just walk away a CSS guru.

Photo of Aimee Knight

Aimee Knight

Built Technologies

Aimee Knight is a Nashville-based full stack software engineer at Built Technologies. Currently, she specializes in JavaScript, React, and CSS but has worked extensively in Angular, Node.js, and Ruby on Rails as well. As a former professional figure skater, she has a tremendous amount of energy and grit. Outside of work, Aimee is a Google Developer Expert in web technologies, a panelist on the JavaScript Jabber podcast, and an international keynote speaker. She has been a weekly panelist on the Angular Air podcast, a co-organizer for CharmCityJS, and a mentor for Baltimore NodeSchool and Rails Bridge.