Exposing Our Roots

After chatting with Chris and Sam on the Non-breaking Space Show a few days ago I’ve been thinking about how new folks to the industry learn about web design. A lot of us learned what we know by putting in some serious hours viewing source and combing through other people’s code.

Things have changed a lot in recent years, and there are certainly much better options out there right now for learning about web design than even just a few years ago. But there’s something about viewing the source of a site that’s lost when the CSS is preprocessed and minified. Even with the powerful inspectors browsers have today it’s not quite the same.

Dan Cederholm touched on this briefly in his CSS Summit interview where he mentioned that Dribbble links to the source .scss file in their main CSS file. I love when sites do this! I’ve always been a fan of including a reference to un-minified versions in your CSS or JS files for others to learn from. Referencing your .scss (or other pre-preprocessor files) seems like a fitting addition to that.

Based on these recent chats, I’m making it a point to link to un-minified code and source .scss file(s) on live projects from now on whenever possible. And maybe you’ll want to do it too? I like the idea of sharing these unprocessed source files. Expose your coding style. Expose the quirks, little tricks and other things that seeing the code actually written by a person can reveal. It’s like a little link back to the more human side of building the web. There’s so much for someone to learn from that!