Cats, Pizza and Magic Wands at Emakina CodePen Meetup

Author: Luc Malcorps

Emakina proudly hosted an enthusiastic CodePen meeting at its Brussels office. CodePen is an online community for testing and showcasing user-created HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets. Our event invited front-end developers to discover projects and network with their peers.

+50 talents in one room

The get-together was not only interesting, it also united a total of 50 friendly and creative minds and talents. All were fascinated by clever coding and all shared the same positive vibe.

Mélanie welcomes the CodePen community at the Emakina office

Pizza time

Of course, there was time for chips, pizza and a chat, but at the same time, the presentations were focused and industry-leading. Emakina’s Mélanie Nicolas was one of the organizers (together with Louis Hoebregts, Maël Brunet and Jeroen Meeus).

Mélanie’s take on the event:
‘I was impressed by the creative ways people in different domains are using the web for their specific challenges. And in the process, they improve their work, drive innovation, and work together in dynamic interaction.’

The CodePen event gave us a chance to get to know like-minded people, pick up interesting ideas, and get back in touch with some old coding buddies. But most of all, it was a good time had by all.

HTML2Print can be a coder’s colorful playground

Open source publishing

Stéphanie Vilayphiou is a young designer investigating how software questions the fixity of the printed page and the whole defensive and historically consolidated copyright practices. Her presentation on open-source publishing was a perfect example of how you can code for specific needs. Using free software, her team develops new ways to print with code. They improve how you insert footnotes, use fonts and design elements. The results work both in print and online, as her fresh survey example on alcohol use shows.


HTML2Print is quite an impressive domain – no pun intended. Stéphanie showed a wiki for complex collaborative text editing for web, print and slide creation. A group of users shared their Etherpad-Lite notes taken during conferences in the wiki. In a sprint with editors and designers in one room, they turned the bulk of the material into a smart book, an online version with more searchable content and conference videos.

You move a ball and yarn and the cat responds immediately

Interactive animations with Javascript

Another highlight was Karim Maaloul’s ‘Epic’ presentation on interactive animations using JavaScript and a series of frameworks. As Creative Director at Epic, he is also known as Yakudoo and contributes to the CodePen community with his funny WebGL animals. His animated visuals don’t just look good, they interact with your mouse movements and clicks. So, the cat not only looks at your movement around the screen, it follows it, interacts with it, makes it fun and brings it to life.

Controlled random numbers and patterns

Louis Hoebregts is a front-end developer at Base Design, who teaches Generative Design at the Haute École Albert Jacquard. He went on to answer the question… ‘Can you make it less random?’ .. showing intelligent ways to adapt animations to make them more interesting and relevant. He went into controlled random numbers and patterns, and JavaScript Math.Random().

Have you ever felt the mild irritation of seeing the same animation appear every time you visit a web page? Louis (@Mamboleoo) showed how you can develop a series of variations to make the animation fresh and fun every time. And, avoid the risk of becoming absurd or simply produce rubbish. So ‘random’ is fine-tuned to become ‘pseudo-random’ and create relevance and originality.

Who is Lottie?

Simon Ajzenman, Anthony Du Pont and Pauline Stichelbaut also shared some of their more recent coding experiences, from a new way to use Viewport width as unity for font sizes,  fancy hover- and mouse-effects, to React Native Animations (Who is Lottie and what’s up with her puppet tool problems!?).

It was a joy to bring together 50 passionate, friendly people: some ex-Emakinians, some former and future interns, some new faces who felt right at home among people on the same wavelength.

We’ll let Emakina’s Jeroen Meeus sum it up:
‘It was nice to see how ex-Emakinians like Karim and Louis have spread their wings and made their mark in the digital work. One lesson I learned: there is a lot to explore, there is always more you can learn! Coding has so many interesting applications, it is simply mind blowing. And as a back-end developer, even if you know a lot, there is more to discover.’

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