Decoupling the Frontend through Modular CSS


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.

Food and drinks provided courtesy of Atomic Object!

Julie has played various roles in the web development industry for over a decade and is currently working remotely in Ypsilanti, Michigan as a Tech Lead and Frontend Developer for Articulate. She is co-founder of the Ann Arbor chapter of Girl Develop It, and an experienced speaker and teacher, having presented at several national conferences and local Meetup groups. She is passionate about CSS, Sass, and modular frontend architecture; is an advocate for women in tech and life; she’s a yogi, a beer & wine consumer, a pet lover, a Beyoncé fan, and a self-improvement practitioner.

QUESTIONS? We’re here to help! If you have additional questions or would like to talk further before signing up for a class, please contact us at [masked]

At Atomic Object (, our passion is to build great software and find better ways of doing it. We were early pioneers and continue to innovate with agile software development practices such as pair programming and test-driven, iterative development. We are at the forefront of integrating user experience (UX) design with the agile development process.

All attendees are expected to abide by the Girl Develop It Code of Conduct (

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