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:wave: Hey hey, I'm Michael Lee and this is my site about being a developer, being a dad and making side projects.

Beyond CodePen

Written on October 1, 2014

In my very first blog post on CodePen, I had shared 4 things that makes CodePen awesome. Right off the bat, I mentioned that community was one of the factors that keeps me around CodePen.

The founders of CodePen are made up of great gents and the community that has formed around CodePen have been nothing but great. One of the members of CodePen that I have befriended is the designer/developer extraordinaire, Hornebom.

Many of his awesome pens have graced the front page of CodePen. If you’ve never seen them, here are a few of my favorites:

See the Pen CSS Slime Attack by Hornebom (@Hornebom) on CodePen.

See the Pen lamp by Hornebom (@Hornebom) on CodePen.

See the Pen Wanderer by Hornebom (@Hornebom) on CodePen.

See the Pen Rooster by Hornebom (@Hornebom) on CodePen.

See the Pen Catch Me! by Hornebom (@Hornebom) on CodePen.

My interactions with Hornebom have always been via Codepen, Twitter or email. All those mediums are great but I only got bits and pieces of who Hornebom really was. Our interactions were at times fragmented because Hornebom is in the future — he’s in Germany, which is 6 hours ahead of me, I’m in the US on the east coast — so there would be a delay in our communication.

Then earlier this year, my family and I decided to take a trip to Germany to visit family in September. Coincidentally, Hornebom lives in the city, where my wife attended University and that was one of the stops on our trip. So I reached out to Hornebom and asked to meet up in person.

I thought it’d be cool to throw up some CodePen swag when we did meet in person for a selfie, so before my trip over, I reached out to Chris Coyier to see if I could buy some CodePen stickers. Did I mention the gents at CodePen are awesome? Chris not only hooked it up with some awesome stickers but he also sent over some CodePen shirts.

So September finally rolled around and after swapping some Tweets on when and where to meet, we met.

It was a Friday afternoon, there was a slight overcast and we met at a cafe. We chatted about CodePen and what attracted us to the site. We shared about our backgrounds and current jobs. We also shared about our hopes and aspirations.

It was a refreshing two hour meet where I got to connect with a real person who was like me — but with a rad German accent and taller.

During our conversation, I learned something about Hornebom that actually surprised me. While I was giving him props for some of the awesome pens that he’s posted up on CodePen, he mentioned to me that all the pens he’s posted were simply him playing with code. This was a great reminder to me that learning is best done through play.

When you’re playing, learning isn’t so painful, you see things outside of the box and you’re able to iterate quickly instead of fixating on a problem. Playing is also great because you’re not approaching something linearly, the possibilities are only limited to your imagination. Have a look at Hornebom’s Pens; nearly all of his Pens are interactive without the use of Javascript. That’s creative.

Thanks Mr. Hornebom for this reminder, for your hospitality during our meet and just being an awesome person.

Here are some photos Hornebom and I snapped together:

Thumbs up for CodePen

Europeans are so tall…

CodePen’s first official meetup is coming up in November in Texas. If you’re reading this and you live in Texas, I can’t recommend enough going out there. In-person human interaction is pretty cool and you might learn a thing or two about a CodePen-er. Not to mention there’s going to be some sweet CodePen swag…I’m jelly.

See the Pen CodePen Meetup Pen by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.

And if you’re not in Texas, don’t be bummed! Why not reach out to a fellow CodePen member in your state or city? Grab a coffee or a coke or both and chat it up.

Go beyond CodePen.

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