CSSconf EU Blog

Meet Michael Mifsud

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Portrait of Michael Mifsud

Michael is a front end engineer at 99designs where he focuses on performance and tooling. He is a core contributor to LibSass and the Node-Sass project lead. He also started the MelbCSS Meetup and is an organizer of CSSConf AU.

Michael’s talk, It’s All Just Functions And Variables, will tell the story of how weeks of being taunted by nonsensical compiler errors and a supportive community turned him, a “lowly” front end developer, into a core contributor to LibSass - a large C/C++ project. He will unravel the stigma that “front end developers aren’t real programmers” which propagates throughout the industry and into the hearts and minds of fellow developers.

Michael will convince you that regardless of whether you write CSS, JavaScript or COBOL, you are as much a programmer as anyone on your team or the intenet, and that it’s not our languages that define us but our willingness to learn to master our domain.

We approached Michael to ask him about CSS, programming, pizza, and more:

Hi Michael! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Besides being busy speaking at conferences, what are you working on at the moment? A delicious pizza. The rest of my time is spent on my open source work with LibSass and Node-Sass, and with my friends organising our local CSS meetup and CSSConf AU.

Talking about CSS, is there a feature that you can’t wait to see widely supported by browsers? I’m a performance nut, so I’d love to see support for webp, woff2, unicode-range and http/2 land everywhere!

Do you have a favorite CSS property, and if so, what is it? *zoom: 1 You know why…

The CSS quirk that has cost you the most nerves is… Easily attr().

“The attr() function can be used with any CSS property, but support for properties other than content is experimental.” -

If you didn’t work on the web, what would your profession be? World-travelling professional poker player and semi-professional pizza eater.

Have you been to Berlin before? What are you looking forward to the most? No I haven’t. It’s been on the top of my list for a long time, so I’m super excited. I’m psyched for the beer and sausages. I also have some internet friends in town I’ll finally get to meet up with in person.

What do you like most about giving talks at conferences and what’s the one thing that you wish everyone in the audience would take away from your talk? I love meeting new people. It’s also great to see how the silly things I work on inspire people, some of whom have also inspired me. I’d like to convince everyone that even if all you do all day is write Sass/JavaScript and Google stackoverflow, you’re still as much of a programmer as anyone else on your team. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

What’s something you want to improve about yourself, perhaps something you’re working on at the moment or are planning to work on in the future? Since becoming responsible for LibSass and Node Sass I’ve been really trying to upskill my C/C++ know-how. It’s a struggle because there is very little good material to get you started.

If you could, what’s one thing you’d like to change in our industry? I’d promote more acceptance. There is too much ego and fear in our industry. I feel like it holds us back as whole.

We’re really excited to have Michael join us on stage and we hope he’ll have a great time here in Berlin! Until then, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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