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Monday, August 23, 2021

Don't use codepen

Let's talk about websites you shouldn't use  - specifically codepen.

Back in the pre-pandemic days when I was helping people learn frontend programming, I used it a lot for showing various things. So I have 177 such "pens" there, where project is basically three files (HTML+CSS+JS).

Anyway, the why you shouldn't use it part. Codepen deliberately decided to block any way to export your data. Even getting list of your pens is not really possible without logging to Chrome and doing some console script loop. All automated access is deliberately blocked.

The only way to export is to go to 177 pens and click on a lot of buttons to get each individual zip file, and they did their best to block any way to automate this process.

The only way you can get your data - which they don't advertise in any way - is to send them GDPR data export request.

It comes in a fairly annoying format of one big csv file. I wrote a script to convert that data into a more usable form.

Being able to export your data is basic human right on the Internet, and deliberately making it difficult is a reason why you should not use websites like codepen.