Steven Lambert is a lead web developer and accessibility advocate at FamilySearch.org. He has over 7 years of industry experience and specializes in design systems, performance, and accessibility. On the side, he is a hobbyist game developer and freelance web developer.
Web components are an amazing new feature of the web, allowing developers to define their own custom HTML elements. When combined with a style guide, web components can create a component API, which allows developers to stop copying and pasting code snippets and instead just use a DOM element.
By using the shadow DOM, we can encapsulate the web component and not have to worry about specificity wars with any other style sheet on the page. However, web components and style guides currently seem to be at odds with each other.
Living style guides are an important tool for web development today, especially in large, complex web applications. They help document styles and patterns, keep designers and developers in sync, and greatly help to organize and distill complex interfaces. Indeed, living style guides remain one of the best ways to communicate design standards to an organization.
Recently, our company went through the process of creating a living style guide. This is the story of how we developed our living style guide, the mistakes we made along the way, and why the current landscape of style guide generators did not suit our needs.