A very !important interview

I recently found out about this podcast, focused on front end web development.  They usually pick a website and deconstruct it, explaining step by step how it works behind the scenes, on the front end side (HTML, CSS, Javascript).

The episodes are extremely informative and a great resource for anyone learning or polishing their webdev skills. Of course, I wanted to share it with you, but thought it would be more interesting to learn more about the people behind the show than just pasting a link to their videos… so I DM them and asked for an interview, which they graciously accepted.  


!important // dropbox.com [preview] from !important on Vimeo.


Here’s their mantra:

This is important. The show that talks about web development by exploring live websites, elegant designs and solutions to common problems. Every episode, we will explore a new design, problem or website. Along with the occasional special guest. Join us for the exploration of a new frontier, the wild wild web!


So here is the conversation we had with them:

1. Tell us a little bit about who is behind !important?

My name is Franz Ressel, I am a web developer and entrepreneur. Currently I work as the COO at a start up I cofounded called XOTV. Which in short is YouTube without the bad stuff! At XOTV part of my job is designing and implementing the frontend of our website.


2. How long have you been working on web design / development and what’s your specialization?

I’ve been in the web development scene for about 4 years! I wouldn’t say I specialize in any particular area of web development, but I do enjoy working with CSS and JavaScript the most.


3. How did you came up with the idea of the podcast?

The original idea for !important came out of a conversation I had with a friend of mine where we were talking about how different websites implemented certain features. At first, the series was actually going to talk about all the things a website was doing incorrectly and how to avoid doing that. But after recording an episode using that format, we decided we had gone about the series the wrong way.

We then changed the format to what it is today. Focusing on the beauty of the features we as web developers spend so much time working on.

!important is a show celebrating all that is good on the web and shining light on people and features that usually don’t get talked about.

Also, if you are curious about who my friend is, you can hear him in the first episode of !important.  😉


!important is a show celebrating all that is good on the web and shining light on people and features that usually don’t get talked about.


4. I see a heavy use of Firefox Web Dev Tools in your videos. Do you prefer Firefox to develop and test your sites?

Definitely! I love Firefox, it is my go to tool whenever I’m doing any web development. But I still test my websites across every browser I can get my hands on. I will also occasionally switch to Chrome for a specific tool that Firefox doesn’t quite yet have.


5. Can you describe your “must have” tools that you regularly use for web development?

Well, Vim is a must have in my development set up. I use it for almost all programming but I will sometimes use VSCode.

iTerm2 is my terminal of choice and because I’m running macOS a good package manager is a must. For that, I use Homebrew.



Obviously Firefox is also a must have of mine when it comes to browsers.

DuckDuckGo is my go to search engine and an invaluable tool in my web development toolbox. Web development without a good search engine is like writing compiled code without a debugger!



6. Do you have any preference on a CSS Framework?

There are a lot of CSS framework options to choose from now in the web development space! At XOTV we currently use Foundation but we are planning on moving away from that soon.

In general, I try to use the best tool for the job and most of the time I find myself not needing a CSS framework because they usually have so much overhead.

I also often find them very restricting, so when I can, I opt out of them.

But in the end, it’s what works best for your development style!



7. What is your point of view regarding the rising popularity of Javascripts frameworks?

I think they can be extremely useful when used correctly! But it’s really important 🙂 to understand that you don’t HAVE to use a JavaScript framework for everything.

For instance, at XOTV we started off without using any JavaScript frameworks. But now, as we want to add more functionality we are implementing Vue.js to help with creating those features in a robust and time efficient way.



8. What would be your advise for a beginner, starting to learn how to code websites by themselves?

Use DevTools! One of the most amazing parts of the web in my opinion is the ability to see how a website is working. If you see something you think is cool, try to figure out how it was implemented using DevTools.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know something. I think it’s really easy to think you will never be able to break into the web development scene because there is so much to learn. Constantly reminding yourself that even the best web developers in the world have to look things up is extremely helpful.

Which brings up the fact that you shouldn’t ever be afraid to search up the answer to a problem you are having or how a particular HTML, CSS or JavaScript feature works. That’s part of web development!

Try copying your favorite websites. I don’t mean publishing other’s work as your own. But instead finding a website you really like and try to recreate it locally. This can be extremely helpful when trying to figure out all the different areas of web development.


Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know something


9. How do you see the web evolving the next 10 years?

My guess is you won’t see a difference between native applications and web applications. Web users will have significantly more control over their data. A decentralized web will co-exist with a centralized web. AR will be used across many websites and overlay advertisements will be dead. On the web development side, many tools will be created to make web development easier allowing for more expressive designs and complex interactions with websites.

I also predict Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter will be replaced by new services.

Oh, and everyone will be using Firefox… 😉


10. Do you have any plans for the future?

I have a lot of plans for the future of !important. I don’t ever plan on moving to YouTube, but I do have plans for an audio only version of the show! I am always trying to come up with new and interesting ways to talk about and learn web design and development.



If you find all of these topics interesting, I highly recommend you take your time and start watching their show:

Go watch their videos!


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