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Vision, Plans, and Contribution: Interview with Yehonatan Daniv, W3C’s CSS Working Group Member

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

W3C CSS Working Group

We sat down with Yehonatan Daniv for a short and insightful interview. Together, we explored his journey as a web developer and member of the W3C CSS Working Group. We discussed the importance of volunteering, View Transitions, Scroll-Animations, the future of CSS, and the power of collaboration in shaping the web:

Q: Hi Yehonatan, please tell us a bit about you and your professional background

A: My professional work on the web started with a student position doing SEO for a software company in the beginning of 2006. In 2007, my role was changed to Web Developer. During that time, I specialized in doing front-end development, as well as back-end.

In 2014, I founded a startup that was doing real-time gaming in the sports industry. I was leading the R&D side together with a friend. During 2017, I joined Wix as a developer on the WOW team - a team dedicated to doing visual innovation at Wix, and in charge of creating high-end design tools for the Editors, graphics and motion related products for websites.

Q: As this interview will cover your contribution activities in W3C - can you please shed more light on this organization?

The W3C is an organization that is made out of groups that work on standardizing how the web platform should work and behave, so that implementers (those who create the browsers) would have a unified, canonical specification of what to implement, and how it should behave.

If you think about it - W3C actually has a huge impact on the tech industry and the global community…

The groups working in the W3C - some are closed, like the working groups, and some are open, like the community groups - strive to work transparently with the community and answer to the needs and wishes of web developers and users.

This, in turn, goes hand-in-hand with feedback from the engineers who are actually building the browsers.

Yehonatan Daniv

Yehonatan Daniv

Q: From all of W3C’s different working groups - why is it that you choose the CSS?

I went over the list of all the groups. Some were more interesting than others. I marked the top ones, and dug deeper into the list of specs each of these groups are responsible for. Out of these, the CSS groups seemed the most interesting, mostly because it resonated more than others with the features I work with on a daily basis.

I've especially found animations and transitions the most interesting for me, and where I felt I can contribute more to the group’s work and impact.

The CSS WG is quite a large group, with a long history, and a very large number of members who are experts in their fields, so you might say it could be quite intimidating for a newcomer. Luckily, people in the group have been very helpful throughout my first year there.

Q: What is the most exciting topic you handle as part of the CSS working group?

Currently, I think I’m most involved with the specs of Scroll-Animations and View-Transitions.

Scroll-Animations was recently re-imagined by Elika Etemad, Miriam Suzanne, Robert Flack and Bramus Van Damme, and is being rewritten now.

View-Transitions (formerly known as Shared Element Transitions) is a long-time work of Jake Archibald and his friends at Google. Recently it was adopted as a public working draft by the CSS working group and is being worked on quite extensively.

I find these features very exciting, especially in what they add to the web’s expression capabilities and to the users’ experience. Features that required downloading extra libraries before, can now be solved with a few lines of CSS.

By migrating the solution from user-written JavaScript to C++ running directly in the browser, we can achieve significant benefits in terms of both performance and accessibility, which ultimately contribute to a better user experience. So, once these features land inside browsers and developers use them more and more, we’ll all gradually see and feel the web becoming more enjoyable.

Q: What is the CSS vision for the next 10 years?

The way I see it, more and more code will be moved from being written in JS and downloaded into C++ that is shipped inside the browser, and declaratively used via CSS.

CSS will become a way to configure the browser to make your site present and behave the way you want it to without needing to resort to adding JS code, for at least 80% of the use-cases. You’ll be able to configure the presentation, optimize its rendering performance, define simple interactions and presentational logic, and reach effects and animations.

So, there will be CSS-specialized developers that know how to properly configure the browser for whatever purpose they have, from large apps, to simple static websites.

Q: Being part of the W3C working group is voluntary. Can you share your take on why it is important for developers to be involved?

Being involved for the past year with specification work done in a W3C working group has really opened my eyes to so many projects that are being worked on around us by people (both in the industry, and also by the wider community) that help evolve the web, making it a better tool/medium. And just by following any of these projects, even without any active involvement, you can learn so much about how the web is being built and improved.

When you start following the activities in these projects you learn a lot about how the web is being designed and developed. How the processes of these projects work. For example, how are new features for CSS being designed? Or for new HTML elements? Or new DOM APIs? This in turn helps you design better for what you build on top of the web platform.

Needless to say, when you join actively in the work done in these projects, or in a W3C working/community group, you have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced individuals who are dedicated to building the web platform. Working alongside these professionals can be invaluable and greatly improve your skills and knowledge.

Thank you, Yehonatan!


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