Last week I was at CSS Dev Conf in Hawaii - the first of an annual series of conferences. Not only was I there, I actually gave a talk!

I gave an overview of the tools and techniques available for automated CSS testing. I didn't mention it much here or on twitter because, well, I was kinda nervous and didn't want to jinx it. In my daily job, I organise Tech Talks and give pointers to people on how to make their presentations exciting and full of awsm but I tend to avoid actually standing up at the front of the room myself. Beyond introducing the speakers, that is. This is probably why I used to help organise gigs more than play them.

I won't repeat the content of the talk here. For that, you should start out by checking out the slides. The main point I finished on, however, is that the web dev community has fantastic tools for testing every aspect of web development except CSS and that it appears that every developer interested in the subject has started from scratch and built a tool that does what they need it to do. I'm hoping that I can turn into a community-driven site where people can share best-practices, techniques, tools and terminology around CSS testing. That way, we can create some sturdy processes around testing our CSS and not reinvent the wheel every few months.

The conference

Firstly, the trip to Hawaii: it was fantastic. I spent the weekend before the conference staying in a backpackers hostel on Waikiki beach. If you ever need somewhere to stay for a fraction of the price of a hotel on Waikiki, I totally recommend the 'Waikiki Backpackers Hostel'. Backpackers' hostels are the same everywhere - there are the people who hang around reception that may or may not work there, you can't quite tell; there's the Australian guy who comes down drunk for breakfast, smokes half-a-dozen cigarettes quickly then goes back to bed until the afternoon; there's the guy in his mid 70s who looks like a cross between everybody's favourite grandad and a stereotypical acid-casualty.

I swam with turtles in Hanauma Bay, climbed up Diamonhead Ridge, took a bus to the far side of downtown then spent 4 hours walking back via Iolani Palace. Like I say, it was a fantastic trip, even for someone who doesn't like the sun that much.

On the Tuesday, I moved into the Outrigger Reef on the Beach hotel for the conference. Ooh, posh. I could practically step out of my room into the elevator then step out of the elevator onto the beach. I then got to spend my remaining time in Hawaii hanging out with a huge bunch of cool, clever people (Rachel Nabors put together a Twitter list of the speakers), all of whom know an awful lot about web development.

With any multi-track conference there are always going to be a few sessions you have to miss but with CSS Dev Conf being four-track and having such a high level of quality, I kinda worry that I missed out on about three-quarters of what I wanted to see. Fortunately, everybody's been sharing their slides so I can at least get the gist of what they were talking about.

The journey

All in all, I'd totally recommend keeping an eye open for the announcement of next year's CSS Dev Conf. It might not be held in Honolulu again but, from my point of view, that's a good thing. It really is a fantastic place to spend time (seriously: turtles!) but getting there from Berlin is not the easiest thing. In fact, if you use the 'Earth Sandwich' lab on, you can see how close Hawaii is to being the Exact Opposite Side of the World from Berlin. On the way out there, it didn't seem too bad as I left on Friday morning (Berlin time) and landed on Friday evening (Hawaii time) but on the way back, I left on Thursday and landed on Saturday. That was quite a journey.