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Q&A with David Leuliette

Designer, front-end developer, opensource evangelist

My name is David and i am a french front-end developer & design hacker based in the north of France.

I'm a programmer with extensive experience in coding, designer by passion, intellectually curious, and in life I give the best of myself for one thing:

Solve real problems for end users

I like to build web applications, push code every day, and make my design adaptable and quick to use.

Convinced for years by the importance of standards compliance, accessibility constraints, the free software movement, I alway choose sustainable technologies to respect the vision of Tim berners Lee "The web should be accessible from any type of device that can connect to the Internet".

I believe in the power of collective intelligence, with the free software movement, & I contribute to projects on GitHub. When I am not coding feature to make the web a better place, I involve in conference & meetups to follow my nindo : learn something new every day.

In a past life i was facilitator in holiday center, and know i play with web technologies and share my knowledge during workshops. I also write articles on my blog about front-end developement with ruby.

My last side project is another interesting creative process: sketchnoting during events.

You understood, my greatest satisfaction is that users, running awareness is nothing beside enriching encounters I causes by participating in numerous locals meetups organized by the community. You are welcome to see us, Lille is a nice city, easily accessible from London, Paris & Bruxelles.

How did you get started in front-end? What is your background?

I discovered the internet in 1998 at the time of Caramail and Lycos. I nothing missed since then, with an effective monitoring system (a mix of newsletter, rss feed, and twitter), my perseverance and passion.

I started learn front-end in books! My parents live in the campaign and during my years of studies, my only connection was 56k with the famous AOL offer : 50h of internet! I remember that I went to friends who have an illimited connection with ADSL.

Expertise in front-end technologie became really complex since the raise of nodeJS. My advice to learn things is pretty simple. Buy serious books about it and leave your computer and internet access. I have noticed one thing. There are so many noise on the web. We scan pages and we don't take time to assimilate concepts. After that, read the doc can help you. The Mozilla developer network is a great place for that.

My workflow of design is based on science. Development, like science, is a messy endeavor. It’s near impossible to control all the variables.

I work with technologies such as:

  • Git
  • Ruby
  • HTML
  • Sass
  • CoffeeScript

I use middleman for almost everything. If you like ruby you can try foundation-boilerplate to speed up the developement of your next styleguide.

What software and hardware do you use for your work?


The best software to make serious front-end dev is the terminal. That's it! That's all!

Of course, it's not the only one I daily use. I have build a small list of MacOS software for front-end and i use the same kind of things when I work on Linux. Sublime Text is a weapon of choice when you are working in the jungle of the web.


During years i used a multiple screen workstation. Now to avoid multitasking i prefer work with a single 27" screen.

What is your ideal work environment?

I am a traveller, I can work in almost all environment, during a train travel with a nexus 7 tablet and a bluetooth keyboard, in an open space with a 27 inches iMac, in a caf? with a linux-based laptop. Or simply with a paper and pen. But there is a common point without which I can't work : some music to be focus. I am writing this lines with the OST of inception by Hans Zimmer.

If i had the choice, i will take a MacBook Pro retina 13", the original openDesk, and a big white board.

Top-3 your favorite books about front-end

  1. Jump start responsive web design is a great introduction to building websites for the multi devices world. Sitepoint books are great!
  2. According to me Smashing magazine books, are the best even if they are not specialized in fron-end. They allow you to open your mind about our industry.
  3. The sketchnote handbook is another great resource if you like paper and pen work.

Who are the developers you admire most?

Through the years, I have learnt from many people. Internet has brought a huge benefit for our generation because you can choose your mentors.

Lea Verou

Before building my own CSS and JavaScript tools, I have long used those Lea. I continued to follow that person's for her compliance with web standards.

Brad Frost

For years, I work according to the principles of atomic design. Brad Frost simply put a name and a methodology for this type of development.

Chris Coyier

Almost every front-end developer of the planet already know Chris, or have visited his website about CSS. I really think Chris contribute to change the world with his project codepen. "Demo or it didn't happen." is a great baseline and it's my way of working too. Build something, test-it, ask feedback, build something, ...

Paul Rouget

If you work with a browser you need to understand how it works, between page load and page close. A lot of thing appends during this time! Layout reflows, Dom painting, JavaScript event loop, ...

Forget about the magic. Understand the runtine. Paul Rouget