7 Things I Learned at SassConf 2015

This fall I attended SassConf in Austin, Texas. It was a 3-day event filled with attendees with all kinds of backgrounds: front-end, back-end, and designers. I've been writing Sass for over 2 years now, and felt as though this would be an awesome way for me to meet other Sass developers and level-up my Sass skills.

Here are some quick takeaways from my time in Austin:

1. Sass Maps (@get-maps)

Before attending Sass Conf, I thought Sass maps and sourcemaps where the same thing.

Basically, Sass maps are a data-type that give developers a way to structure data, similar to JSON with key/value pairings. Una Kravets has a excellent article what Sass maps are and some use cases for them.

Slide decks for both talks on Sass maps:

  1. Chris Suave's deck
  2. Lourdes Montano's deck

2. For Loops (@for)

As a WordPress developer, I'm super familiar with how loops work, so getting exposed to them in a Sass perspective was't too difficult for me. In fact, having programmatic concepts like loops on the CSS side of things blew me away.

I attended Eva Ferreira's Looping For Animation workshop. We did all kinds of neat things with animations, SVGs and loops. Turns out, animation is an awesome use-case for loops.

Check out the CodePen demo on a simple animation loop she had us do. Super cool.

See the Pen Sass Conf Loop animation by Jacob Arriola (@jacobarriola) on CodePen.

3. SCSS Linting

Scss linting allows developers to create style rules for Sass. A style rule can be something like "Don't indent more than 3 levels deep" or "No IDs". This can be really cool for teams or open-source projects. Check out the project files for more info.

4. Using VIM

Even though VIM isn't directly associated with Sass, as developers it's a tool we can use in our day-to-day. During the unconf portion of the conference (which is pretty much a day where everyone meets at a place to discuss their projects and share knowledge), one of the attendees decided to show us VIM and how he uses it.

It's super rad and a major time saver. I'm using the Atom VIM wrapper for my projects, and so far it's helping.

5. How to contribute to open source projects

During unconf, I joined Una who shared her CSSgram open-source project. The biggest takeaway was how easy it is to contribute to a project. Given that a project has some clear instructions on how to contribute, Una made contributing seem very approachable and welcomed by open-source contributors.

Throughout the conference, there were other workshops and talks on open-source and contributing, so there was definitely a good vibe of contributing during the conference.

6. Contributing to the Sass project isn't that difficult to do

I initially felt that there wasn't anything I could do to contribute to the community since I'm not a Ruby or C developer. However, I met Jina, who maintains the Sass website, and I realized that I could contribute in other ways that match my skill set such as documentation, design and front-end work.

7. Take advantage of the Sass functions out there

Roy Tomeij gave a super-informative talk on built-in Sass functions. In fact, he went of all 80 functions in his talk - a super lighting talk indeed. All kidding aside, Sass comes with a lot of functions that make our lives as developers much easier. Check out the docs and get going!