Flatiron School Learn.co CSS Consulting
Helping Flatiron’s development team thrive with flexible, modular CSS

A user learning to code on Learn.co

We consulted with the Flatiron team to create a bespoke CSS framework to support their rapid growth.

Flatiron School (a WeWork company) is the leader in programming education. They take “technically curious” individuals from all walks of life and empower them with the 21st century tech skills necessary to succeed in a booming tech world. Learn.co is their online campus, where students from around the world study and collaborate.

The concept was taking off, and the Flatiron team was hard at work creating amazing new features for their students. But their stylesheets were growing linearly with every new feature written, and becoming more and more complex over time. They needed a reset. We consulted with Flatiron to create a new custom CSS framework for the product that would make their developers lives easier while improving performance for students.

Very similar to the Rails boilerplate setup, we had one stylesheet per view, with styles namespaced under a top level ID. This approach is fine when you’re starting out, but over time, it can get out of hand.

Kate Travers, Developer, Flatiron School

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Our primary CSS methodology at the time was “object-oriented” CSS (OOCSS), a style pioneered by the brilliant Nicole Sullivan of Yahoo. This philosophy allows for extensive code re-use, to the point where new pages can be created without writing any new CSS at all. We wanted Flatiron’s team to be able to build complex new features without touching the CSS. They needed a methodology, not just code.

We saw impressive UX gains. Paring down our code gave us faster pageloads, a more consistent UI, and greater parity with our product mocks. We also enjoyed some nice developer gains. This plug-and-play system allows our team to ship faster. Now we can build new views without writing any new CSS… most impressive our all were our performance gains… we were able to reduce our payload by 10X.

Kate Travers, Developer, Flatiron School

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Client: Flatiron School
Team:
  • Ty Fujimura
  • Andrew Heins
  • Chris Pau
Year launched: 2016
Roles:
  • Development
  • Consulting

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