How I Work:
Sara Soueidan

How I Work:<br /> Sara Soueidan
Sara is a Lebanese freelance front-end web developer, writer and speaker, focusing on HTML5, SVG, CSS and JavaScript. She is mostly known on the web for her outstanding articles on SVG and cutting-edge CSS features. Sara is the author of the Codrops CSS Reference and co-author of the newly published Smashing Book #5. She has been nominated for the net Awards under two categories: Developer of the Year and Outstanding Contribution. Here is how she works…

1. Where did you graduate? What is your current job title?

I graduated from the Lebanese University, Faculty Of Sciences in Beirut, with a B.S. Degree in Computer Sciences. I am currently a self-employed front-end web developer, writer and speaker.

2. What apps and softwares you use most passionately? Why?

Apps I use the most are my code editor and browser(s), namely Sublime Text and Chrome—it is my dev browser of choice. I test on other browsers, of course, too. I love Sublime because of its flexibility and long list of available plugins that allows me to customize it to my needs and turn it into a dev power tool.

I also use the Github app for Mac almost every day, and, occasionally, Codekit (great for quickly starting new simple projects). I’m not a designer so I don’t use many design tools but I do use Sketch and Adobe Illustrator sparingly for some SVG work. Sketch is focused on UI design while Ai is more powerful and comes with a set of nice SVG export options as well. Plus, to be quite honest, many SVG resources online are only available as Ai files, so I use Ai to open and edit such files as well.

3. Do you prefer a tidy environment or a messy one? How do you organize your home and work desks? Any souvenirs? (Small toys, cards etc.)

Definitely tidy. I used to draw a lot when I was younger, so there is a part artist in me which tends to turn my desk into an [artistic] mess sometimes, but I usually tidy it up before the end of the day, every day.

My desk only has my laptop and work tools (mouse, microphone, mobile, etc.), a mug and some dev books on it. I don’t like it cluttered. I do, however, have my IE developer toolkit on it too, as well as my Web Platform award, for inspiration.

4. What is your curent mobile device, computer setup and OS? Why?

I used to be a Windows user until I switched to OS X at the end of 2014, so my primary work machine today is a 15” Macbook Pro. I do prefer OS X over Windows for work—I feel much more productive with the wide range of apps available for OS X, and, to be honest, OS X is far more intuitive to use than Windows, in my opinion. This is subjective, though, so don’t take my word for it.

I have both an Android and iOS mobile device—a Samsung galaxy Note 3 and an iPhone 6. I don’t like owning more than one machine or mobile device, but I keep the Note for testing purposes (I also love the S Pen for taking screenshots!), but the iPhone is my primary mobile device. I found iOS more intuitive and simpler than Android; but then again, that is also subjective.

5. Are you a gamer? If so, which games do you play on mobile / computer / gaming devices?

Not a gamer, no. I played games as a kid, for sure. The only game I played as a teenager was Tomb Raider, and that was also the last one I played. I don’t have a single game installed on my laptop or mobile device.

6. Is there any device you can’t live without, besides your cellphone and computer?

A pen! Not sure if it counts as a “device”, but I’ve never been able to go anywhere without a pen in my bag. Other than that, I try not to be dependent on electronic devices, so I prefer and choose old-fashioned tools any day (pen and paper, printed paper books, etc.).

7. What sports or daily activites you do better than most people?

The “better than most people” part is a tough filter to apply. As I mentioned before, I used to draw a lot. I don’t judge my own work so I’ll leave that to you to do. You can check my drawings out on my [very old] DeviantArt account here.

8. Are you an introvert, or an extravert?

I’m 90:10 of introvert:extrovert. I use the 10% extroversion when I travel for conferencing, but I definitely need my solitude and “recharge” time, especially at night time, that’s why I don’t usually go out or do any outdoor activities after sunset.

9. What time do you sleep and how long on average?

That’s a hard question. I don’t have a regular sleeping pattern—which is definitely something I’m not happy about. I need nine hours of sleep to be fully energized during the day, but I usually get somewhere between six and nine hours. I don’t have a specific sleeping time but it’s rarely ever after midnight.

10. Tea or coffee? To keep you awake or as a pleasure? (Turks are in love with tea. So this is a hard comparison for us.)

Tea! Tea and coffee are both common in Lebanon, but I prefer tea. I’ve never even tasted coffee. Ever. I do drink a lot of tea, but only green tea, not black. I’m also picky about the green tea I drink and prefer fruit-flavored ones. My fave flavor is strawberry and mango (the combination) green tea by Twinnings, in case you’re wondering. I drink it for its health benefits and, of course, delicious fruity flavours.

11. Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to our readers?

I’m a bird person, not very fond of cats. I think this explains the “no activity after sunset” part since birds tend to be inactive after sunset too? 🙂 Other than that, people sometimes seem interested when I tell them stuff about our traditions and culture, so here is one: I don’t shake hands with men; this comes as part of wearing a Hijab. Other than that, I’m just an old-fashioned, non-gaming, tea-drinking web developer. 🙂


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