Meet Glen Maddern

Portrait of Glen Maddern

Glen is an independent web developer from Melbourne, Australia where he organizes CSSConf AU and does rad web stuff.

Glen’s talk, ​Interoperable CSS​, will introduce you to a new low-level interchange format for CSS that is already supported by default in loaders like Webpack & JSPM. It enables CSS Modules and it hopes to do for CSS what CommonJS did for JavaScript.

We approached Glen to ask him about work, CSS, and speaking at conferences:

Hi Glen! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Besides being busy speaking at and organizing conferences, what are you up to at the moment? Well, the popularity of CSS Modules really took us all by surprise, so there’s a bunch of new people coming to the project & asking questions. It’s really awesome to see, but this is the biggest open-source project I’ve been involved in, and it’s surprising just how much time it takes to keep on top of.

What does a Glen Maddern work day look like? I’m a freelancer, so my “usual work day” depends on the client. For the last few months that’s been fully remote — I’m working for a government team up in Sydney, building a WebRTC application for remote health consultations. I’ve set up an awesome space in Melbourne with some other remote web people, so day-to-day we’re all in there just like in a normal office, except none of us work on anything together. One day I’m going to blog about why I think that beats normal co-working spaces, just as soon as I get a free moment...

An upcoming CSS feature you can’t wait to see widely supported by browsers is... 👏 V 👏 A 👏 R 👏 I 👏 A 👏 B 👏 L 👏 E 👏 S 👏

When I first read the spec, I was kinda confused by the syntax and some of the runtime behaviour. But since starting on CSS Modules I’ve realised just how powerful this can be. Since it can’t really be polyfilled, it’s the best thing that CSS has, but that nobody can use.

What’s do you like most about your job? Before I did CSS, before I did anything front-end, I did back-end Rails stuff. Databases, dev-ops, that sort of thing. Before that I didn’t even work on the web. I was building mathematical modelling software for transport planning. I kept moving because I was frustrated that my work wasn’t directly affecting people — I was too far removed from the end users & their experience. Now the experience, the interactions, the design, that’s all I want to work on. It took me 10 years to get here, but I love it.

What do you like most about giving talks at conferences? I’ve seen some incredible talks in my time. Talks that have totally convinced me of something, have opened my eyes to a new way of thinking, have revealed to me a depth to a topic I’d been glossing over, have shown me that a technology could do something I’d never imagined. You get 30 minutes of standing in front of all these knowledgeable people and trying to leave them with something. It’s daunting, but addictive.

Do you have any tips for newcomers who want to get into speaking? My biggest tip is that nobody is a natural speaker. Well, maybe some are, but very few of the speakers you see on stage are any more comfortable than you would be. Each talk is terrifying, the slides are always less prepared than you’d like, the whole experience is exhausting. But it’s also terrific fun, so don’t let nerves stop you!


We're really excited to have Glen here, he's in fact already in Berlin and we hope he's having a great time! Be sure to follow him on Twitter, see what he's working on on GitHub. You can also read Glen's recent articles on his website.

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