My Web Design and Development Heros

During my daily duties of scouring Twitter, I caught a post from User Agent Man titled “A Developer I Admire – Walter Zorn”. It was tweeted by Paul Irish who posted “Developers We Admire, where he called out to the web development community to blog about the developers they found important and inspirational. After reading both posts I’ve been inspired and feel it’s time to share my experiences with my Heros and also give thanks back for their support.


Photo © Marvel Comics

Hero One

I’m sure everybody puts Paul Irish down for their hero, but I’d like to share my unique experience with the giant himself. One lonesome day I was scouring twitter (big surprise!) and noticed a tweet by Paul asking a Lazy Web Request for what is now known as mothereffinganimatedgif. The request was simple; create a project in 24 hours that builds animated gifs in the browser. Paul’s request inspired me to offer my experience writing the cache manifest and scripting (something I was studying at the time) based on what a “Web App” should possess; offline capabilities (heavily based on the functionality of spritecow.com). At the time I had minimal street cred– if any at all – but Paul trusted me to offer something to the project and that meant a lot plus the main reason you see the H5BP organization badge that I possess on Github. You see, to me that’s not just a silly badge to show on your account for Github, but a badge of trust and respect. I learned a ton from that experience on how to work with a team for Github repo projects ( of course I made some mistakes along the way ). Paul even tweeted my article on “Conditional Resource Loading” which lead to this little mention from Web Design Weekly. He gave me a chance and trusted me to follow through. A truly humble, kind and generous fellow. Thanks Paul! You Rock!

Hero Two

Whether he knows it or not, Chris Coyier has to be my CSS Yoda. I’ve probably bugged this guy many, many times just like the rest of the bazillion followers he has (especially submitting my oddball questions for what seems like weekly into Shop Talk Show), but he’s given me the time of day a few times which means a great deal to me. He’s said my business name on shop talk (which he didn’t have to do), he’s followed me on Dribbble, he co–authored “Digging Into WordPress” to which I reference daily (it’s also kept updated for life at no charge…friggin’ cool!), but the most important one of all is he’s just damn good at what he does. Every time I hear his podcast I’m energized and renewed to the sound of his enthusiastic tone plus his strong presence giving back to the community with awesome resources and tools like CSS–TRICKS, Codepen, Shop Talk Show – need I say more? Chris also inspired me to write this article where he actually lent a hand in the creation with his mention of a looping technique I wasn’t aware of using Sass. If you’re out there Chris and you read this…Mucho, Mucho thanks for all that you do in the community 🙂

Hero Three

Grids, typography, a publishing company and a jaw dropping informational video series is Mark’s calling card. He’s the guy that makes grids do what he wants at will plus he does it in a browser…wow! When I began designing for the web I was not that familiar with grid systems and how they were applied technically. I mean, I knew they existed, but I didn’t fully understand the potential they have and how they can be used (although I’m still learning this every day with no end in site.). Mark is my grid muse and has indirectly assisted me in making better grids and layout structure in my own projects due to his amazing knowledge on the subject. I should also mention his outstanding work with Gridset. A tool for Web Designers to rapidly build HTML prototypes by adding simple classes to the HTML markup. I highly suggest checking out anything Mr. Boulton is involved with. You should also listen to this great interview with Mark on The Web Ahead w/Jen Simmons. I almost forgot to mention that my hero retweeted the redesign of this blog you’re reading right now! I love everything you do Mark Boulton!

Hero Four

A soundboard whiz and the bee to my honey. He’s always there when I have a question on Twitter, a PR on github or a question on Shop Talk Show. Dave is a real funny, down to earth fellow that gives back to the community. I’m sure you’ve heard of fitvids.js? Better–Art–Direction? FitText? Just a few things you may want to look up. I use these items daily in my work and couldn’t imagine a world without them. Whackah, Whackah Dave!

Hero Five

This gentle soul needs no introduction. The godfather of grunge and just damn good at typography. Trent and I have never had a direct line of communication; with the exceptions of a few tweets here and there, but I still admire his work nonetheless. He wrote about Fluid Type and helps to make the web better with anything he touches. Check out Paravel inc. for a better idea of his style – you won’t regret it. Thanks for making type look good on the web Trent!

Hero Six

The master of squishy Websites and the number one reason I’ve never made a fixed width site to this very day. I discovered Ethan’s article FLUID IMAGES which of course led me to his most famous article Responsive Web Design. Ethan helped to bring the whole “Responsive Web Design” idea to a larger audience allowing the work of others like Richard Rutter to be discussed more in depth. He helped to develop The Boston Globe and also took the liberty to write about the process. Because of Ethan, I will forever mumble in my sleep; target / context = result.

Dennis Gaebel

Design Technologist passionate for Open Source, SVG, Typography, Web Animation, Interaction Development & Pattern Based Design. http://droidpinkman.io.
  1. Awesome.

    1. Thanks T!

  2. […] We've left out some of the bigger names in this list, so hopefully we can all discover someone new who covers a relevant field extremely well. This is our list, but feel free to leave a comment with anyone you'd put on yours. Or better yet, blog it yourself and link up your list here. 2012.08.27: Heartwarming: @zoltandulac's writeup of the inspirational frontend developer Walter Zorn 2012.08.29: Gray Ghost Visuals wrote about his heroes […]

  3. […] das liegt? An den Helden der Webentwicklung? Guckt man sich die bekannten Webentwickler und deren Arbeitsumgebung an, sieht man meist Mac […]

  4. ❧ Tom O. shouted:
    2012/09/03 • 5:38 pm

    What is it about becoming a minor front-end celebrity that makes you gush about a few kilobytes of CSS? Does it really take a team of “rockstars” to maintain HTML5 Boilerplate ? It’s not like it’s a 3D rendering engine or something, it’s just a few snippets of CSS and JavaScript. They remove a few comments and split up a few files and declare a new MAJOR release. Is there something I’m missing, or is it just some wierd cult?

  5. Really great write up! I found this blog through the link on Paul Irish’s article. Paul, Chris Coyier and Ethan Marcotte are definitely on my top 5 as well. I really love the culture of these front-end web gurus and their willingness to teach and share.

  6. You are really a lucky one who was being able to get knowledge with experts. And i also like to appreciate all experts as they are really free to share their knowledge. Also in my opinion they are your real heroes 🙂

  7. […] writeup of the inspirational frontend developer Walter Zorn 2012.08.29: Gray Ghost Visuals wrote about his heroes Source: Paul […]

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  1. John Doe shouted this comment preview:
    2012/08/29