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Q&A with Sara Soueidan

Front-end web developer, writer and speaker

My name is Sara Soueidan. I'm a freelance front-end web developer, writer and speaker from Lebanon. I wrote the Codrops CSS Reference and am a contributing author to the Smashing Book #5.

I work with companies across the globe, as well as work as an outsourcing partner to various web and design agencies, focusing on HTML5, SVG, CSS3, and JavaScript. Oh and I am not a designer!

How did you get started in front-end?

I created my first ever website in 2000 using a lot of <table>s! :) I took my first HTML course when I was in 8th grade, and fell in love with it. Writing HTML felt extremely intuitive and natural to me. I also loved the idea of writing some code and then seeing a functional web page in the browser. I stopped a few months later, until I got to college.

I studied Computer Sciences and got a Bachelor's degree. I took a front-end development course that included very basic HTML, CSS, and a JavaScript class which I never even attended. I never thought I'd ever be a web developer! :)

But a couple of years after graduating, one of my friends suggested that I look into web development, considering that I have a BS in CS and knowing how much I liked HTML back when I was young. I was intrigued. So, shortly after that, I started reading about HTML5 and CSS3. I found them very interesting, so I started a Twitter account to follow a few people whose work I admired, I created a Codepen account and started trying out different CSS properties, and less than a year later I started a blog and wrote my first blog post. Early 2012, I got my first freelance gig, and I have been doing it ever since.

What software and hardware do you use for your work? 

My primary work machine is a 15" macbook pro.

Favourite software? Hmm. The apps and tools I find myself using every day include:

  • Sublime Text, Brackets (editors)
  • Github App for Mac, CodeKit (GUIs)
  • Chrome and Firefox (browsers) Of course, I do test on other browsers, but these are my development favourites.
  • Sketch (design) I'm not a designer, but working with SVG I do need a vector editor, and Sketch is my current choice. I do love the options that Ai offers, but not budget-wise.
  • iA Writer and Brackets for writing blog posts.
  • And I use Jekyll for generating my static website.

Your ideal work environment

A quiet one.

Your favorite books about front-end

There are too many to list, but my favourite books include:

- Responsive Web Design (Book) by Ethan Marcotte
- Responsible Responsive Design (Book) by Scott Jehl
- Seductive Interaction Design (Book) by Stephen P. Anderson — You can get an overview of this book in this blog post.
- Design Is A Job (Book) by Mike Monteiro
- Stop Stealing Sheep & find out how type works (Book) by Erik Spiekermann

Who are the developers you admire most?

Again, there are too many to list here! You can check my Twitter account and check out whom I follow, if that helps. :)