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Visionary is hosting Des Moines' first-ever CodePen meetup

If you're a JavaScript junkie, CSS buff, HTML schemer, or are just curious about the CodePen world, you’re going to want to check out Des Moines’ first-ever CodePen meetup on July 27 here at Visionary headquarters.

What is CodePen?

For those who don’t know, CodePen is part social media platform and part code portfolio. It’s a place you can write JavaScript, CSS and HTML – the three main building blocks of the web – and show off what you build.

Users create a “pen,” which is a unique page divided into four windows – three code windows for writing JavaScript, CSS and HTML and a fourth live preview window to see what you’ve made, updated in real time.

You don’t need a computer science degree to build a pen, though. CodePen is the perfect place for beginners to experiment without feeling like they’ll break the internet. It’s also a great tool for teams to quickly wireframe, prototype, and demo a concept for feedback.

See the Pen A Simple CodePen Example (feat. HTML, CSS, & JavaScript) by Ryan Young (@rcyou) on CodePen.

It’s free, too! You can use it whether or not have an account, though you won’t be able to save what you make without one.

CodePen also offers different paid, “Pro” levels, which grant you access to a variety of exclusive features like private pens and asset hosting, as well as “Collab” or “Professor” modes for working in groups or teaching workshops.

Why a CodePen meetup?

For being approximately 4 years old, CodePen has a relatively big user base. As of this publish date, CodePen boasts more than 648,000 users who have made more than 8 million unique pens.

That community is extremely passionate about what they do. CodePen has been touting meetups since 2014 when it hosted its very first and after that, users have wanted to host their own in their city.

Des Moines is full of brilliant designers and developers. But while groups like Des Moines Web Geeks, DSM JS, Experiencing UX, and a slew of others help bring them together each month, those groups are associated with just one particular aspect of the web.

CodePen connects all those disciplines, and the hope is that this meetup will serve as a mini celebration of what it means to work on the web today.

What will happen at the meetup?

After a brief intro, we’ll demonstrate the power of CodePen by making components of a modern website directly in the app. We’ll show off the cool CSS flexbox property, the importance of semantic HTML for accessibility, and using the Babel compiler to use new (ES2015) JavaScript features.

After that, it’s time for a quiz – pub style! Attendees will get a chance to win some awesome swag by testing their HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge by completing small coding challenges in CodePen.

Finally, we’ll show and tell. Anyone is welcome to come up and talk about something cool they’ve made with CodePen (or create something on the spot).

How can I RSVP?

Interested? You can RSVP on our nvite event page:

Due to the limited space in our office, we have limited the number of seats to 30. When the cap is met, registration will be disabled.

If registration has closed, but you absolutely want to attend, please email me at

A special thanks to Josh Larson, front end engineer at Vox Media, and Justin Lobaito, digital creative lead at Sandbox Advertising, for helping make this event possible.

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