Wanted: CSS Luminary

Published 14 years, 3 months ago

Recently, I had a conversation with an editor at a relatively well-known and respected publisher about a CSS book concept they’re pursuing.  I don’t want to give too much away about the book itself, since it’s their idea and not mine, but I will say that the concept more or less requires that the book’s author be a recognized name in the CSS and Web design community.

For various reasons, I’m not able to take on the project myself, so we were bouncing around various names of other people who might be a good fit.  I shared some of my ideas, but I felt like I was struggling, and after we hung up I felt like I hadn’t really been a big help.  That bothered me, so I’m going to put this to you, dear readers: tell me who would automatically make you take a CSS book seriously and consider buying it just on the strength of the name alone.  (Remember, I’m not able to take this project, so don’t say, “Why, yours, Eric!” unless you want to be derided as a pointless suck-up.)  You should probably list a couple of names, just in case you all pick one person as your primary and he or she isn’t available to do the book, either.  After a week or so I’ll pass the results on to the publisher.  Even if someone else has already named your top choice(s), list them again.  The most commonly-listed names will be the ones who are at the top of the list.

So the floor is open.  Let’s hear some names!


  1. […] Eric Meyer is looking for a CSS guru to write a book which he himself had to turn down. Head on over to Eric’s blog and submit names of well respected Web De […]

  2. […] CSS? Where are the women of CSS? As a recent thread on Eric Meyer’s site, “Wanted: CSS Luminary” demonstrates, there are only two women even men […]

  3. […] Permanent Link: Yes, where are the women”>Yes, where are the women Eric Meyer had a recent request for CSS gurus for a potential book. I was getting down to th […]

  4. […] -considered CSS gurus? Just check out the names in the comments of this Eric Meyer post. Eric’s Archived Thoughts: Wanted: CSS Luminary I%u2019m going to put […]

  5. Looks like Tantek might be freeing up some time right now…

  6. H

  7. Dave Shea (I do hope he was one of the guys you initially mentioned!). Patrick Lauke (aka redux) – his stuff is very impressive.

  8. Dan Cederholm, perhaps a somewhat obvious choice, but his site is invaluable (and as soon as amazon care to deliver it – his book will be too, I’m sure). Andy Budd is another who I think is very knowledgeable as well as always being clear and sensible. Hope this helps.

  9. Shea or Bowman. Andy Budd too.

    Paul O’Brien definitely knows his stuff too, although you wouldn’t know it from his site.

  10. Forgetting time-issues on all authors, I’d say:

    Dan Cederholm – simplebits.com;
    Dave Shea – mezzoblue.com;
    Jeffrey Zeldman – zeldman.com;
    Douglas Bowman – stopdesign.com;
    Andy Budd – andybudd.com;
    D. Keith Robinson – 7nights.com/asterisk;
    Andrei Herasimchuk – designbyfire.com

    A book by one of them would certainly interest me far more than a book by someone NOT one of them (excluding yourself, Eric – does that count as being a suck-up? ;))

  11. Yet another book about CSS ? I wouldn’t let the designers speak, at least no upfront. Something that goes more to the core, as an extension to The definiteve Guide ? Something like, what is possible now, what can be done, but need a little help for IE… Project lead by Tantek Çelick, with some input from Dave Hyatt (Safari), Ian ‘hixie’ Hickson; add Simon Willison or Patrick Griffiths for that little help for IE (js).

  12. Dave Shea, Douglas Bowman and Jeffrey Zeldman are the 3 that come to mind other than you.

  13. Tantek Çelik
    Bert Bos
    Ian Hixie
    Dave Shea
    • Me. :p

  14. Some of these people might not be CSS Guru’s as such, but given that i read them regularly via their blogs, I would defintly buy anything released by them

    Doug Bowman
    D Keith Robinson
    Dave Shea
    Dan Cederholm
    Cameron Moll
    Mike Davidson

    Presumably someone at 37 Signals does CSS – i’d buy anything by them

  15. I’m biased, but I would suggest Christopher Schmitt. ;-)

  16. Dave Shea, Jeffrey Zeldman & Andy Budd.

  17. All of the above, plus Petr Stanicek (Pixy) and John Allsopp.

  18. I’ll second John and Holly.

  19. Shea, Bowman, Herasimchuk, Zeldman

  20. Andy Budd
    Jeremy Keith
    D Keith Robinson

  21. How about a group effort, perhaps a pack of young and hungry Brits (about time stuff like this crossed the atlantic ;) )…

    My vote goes to Andy Budd, Simon Collison, Jon Hicks, Dunstan Orchard and Jeremy Keith.

  22. How about a pack of young-and-hungry Brits in a group effort?

    My vote goes to Andy Budd, Simon Collison, Jon Hicks, Dunstan Orchard and Jeremy Keith.

    About time some of this stuff crossed the Atlantic ;)

  23. Shea, John and Holly…

  24. H

  25. 1. Douglas Bowman
    2. D. Keith Robinson
    3. Dave Shea

  26. Zeldman, Shea, Cederholm, Budd, Bowman

  27. I second Paul O’Brien.

  28. I’m pretty new to CSS. I really enjoyed Molly Holzschlag’s book “Cascading Style Sheets, The Designer’s Edge”…being the book I bought before I discovered Eric!

  29. Dan Cederholm
    Andrei Herasimchuk
    D. Keith Robinson
    Dave Shea

  30. My vote is for Molly Holzschlag. Ive struggled with a bunch of books on this topic and found her writing, organization and style to be the best. And I have two of your books to compare, but please take no offense.

  31. Patrick Griffiths – htmldog.com – another Brit.

  32. Dave Shea, Dave Shea, and, ah, Dave Shea.

  33. Tantek, Hixie, Zeldman… Need I say more?

  34. no one said Russ Weakley ???????

  35. My votes would be for:

    D. Keith Robinson

    D. Keith Robinson

    D. Keith Robinson

    D. Keith Robinson

    D. Keith Robinson

    and maybe D. Keith Robinson or D. Keith Robinson and D. Keith Robinson, but not D. Keith Robinson
    .

  36. Layout with fixed ‘width’? …I prefer the fluid and proportional layouts, where all columns have an elastic ‘width’. In my opinion, Cameron Adams is the best web designer of the moment, despite one of the columns has always a fixed ‘width’. I see his site very well under WinXP with Gecko, Opera and IE 6: with this browser, the 1 pixel border of Meyerweb.com between the content-layer and the menu is quite *wrong*. I would suggest Eric to bring the cellular phone and give Cameron Adams a ring… :-)

  37. 1. Zeldman
    2. Holly and John
    3. Cederholm

  38. I think I would probably nominate Big John (John Gallant) at Positioniseverything.net. He has a great understanding of CSS and most important he participates on most of the CSS discussion groups and is very focused on making things work.

    I might also recommend Peter Gifford at Universal Head. He’s very talented and his work ethic is awesome. He’s very much in demand so time might be an issue.

    Andy Budd would be a good choice as well.

    I might have suggested all the big guns (Dave Shea, Zeldman, Boweman etc ) but these guys are all very busy and I don’t know if they would have time to do a book right now.

  39. I would have to say Dave Shea. I find both his writing and design skills second to none, and would definatley buy his book.

    It will be interesting to find out what the concept for the book is — it’s a shame you couldn’t give us more information. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  40. Depends on the project:

    If it is more of technical biais, ie converting the reader’s or other designs to CSS – Big John and Holly.

    If it has a more creative biais, taking a concept and creating a good CSS based design from that concept – Patrick Griffiths, Cameron Moll or Dave Shea.

  41. My vote is for Stu Nicholls. You can view his excellent CSS site called Cutting Edge CSS”. If you haven’t already viewed his site, then you should have a look as it is well worth the effort.

  42. Cederholm, Shea, Storey, Zeldman

  43. H

  44. It would depend on the thrust of the book. For an advanced book about pushing the limits, I’d vote for Doug Bowman. Dave Shea and Dan Cederholm would be close seconds in that category. For nuts and bolts “how to deal with this stuff”, I think Holly and John would be great. For a holistic “using CSS in the process of building a great web site”, I’d go with D. Keith.

  45. If its about the ins and outs of CSS then I’d say Simon Willison, Patrick Griffiths, Russ Weakley, John Allsopp or maybe Ann van Kesteren. If it’s more about creating stunning designs then just look through the Zen Garden for names (Mike Pick, Jon Hicks, Shaun Inman and (obviously) Doug Bowman jump to mind).

  46. John and Holly for the skillful explanations… Andy Budd comes to my mind too.

  47. Dave Shea, Cameron Adams, Dan Cederholm, Doug Bowman, Andrei Herasimchuk, Didier Hilhorst, Egor Kloos, Jon Hicks, Andy Budd, Jeremy Keith, Kevin Davis, Russ Weakley, Holly Bergevin

  48. I think I should be considered to write the book! :P

  49. Dave Shea or, stay with me now, Danny Goodman.

  50. Doug Bowman, Dave Shea, or Dan Cederholm

  51. Dave Shea gets my vote.

    Also Jeffrey Zeldman and Douglas Bowman.

  52. I’d say Dave Shea or Tantek. Howzabout me? :P

  53. hmm… no one mentioned Mike Davidson? Or is he being blacklisted for his anti-validation badge… :)

  54. Dave Shea, Doug Bowman, Christopher Schmitt

  55. I’m all for a collective Zen Garden-esque approach. I suppose that isn’t the brief, but it’s a book I’d like to see. It’d be interesting to see how a group pool their ideas in print – and yes Malarkey, maybe us Brits could meet the task – Clarke, Orchard, J Keith, Hicks, Budd Rutter and, erm…me.

    If not, then Bowman gets my vote. This is all a bit speculative without knowing the gist of the idea though…

  56. Dave Shea or Dave Shea or Doug Bowman

  57. Aaron Gustafson’s done some great corporate and educational work (Bertucci’s Restaurants, Mystic Aquarium’s Immerison Project, ride4ever.org, and Liberty Bank).

  58. Molly, surely. I’m surprised more people have not mentioned her.

  59. Tantek Celik or Jeffrey Zeldman

  60. You know what would be interesting would be a book of seperate chapters – each written by a different person, each reflecting that particular guru’s speciality. Perhaps one could get 10-12 CSS Luminaries to each write about a pet project that illustrates the varying uses of CSS and the troubles that had to be overcome.

    Just a thought.

  61. For the standard, heavy-hitters:
    Zeldman, Bowman and Shea get my vote.

    New folks, for me at least:
    Andy Clarke, Richard Rutter and Cameron Adams might also work…

  62. Blake Scarbrough

  63. Dave Shea

  64. I’ll add my vote for Molly Holzschlag too. She has an uncanny knack of explaining things in a manner that makes it easy to digest, and she has helped a lot of people with countless books over the years. She would be well-suited for this kind of project.

  65. MOLLY!! She is the best ever.

  66. It’s true, we really do need more information. There are a lot of CSS authorities with specific expertise from whom to choose, and many of my favourites have not been listed above (and seem to be unknown to typical standardistas).

    Plus, since we are talking about writing a book, talent is an asset.

  67. 1. Dan Cederholm (SimpleBits)
    2. Cameron Moll (Authentic Boredom)
    3. Dave Shea (Mezzoblue, CSS Zen Garden)
    4. Jeremy Hedley (Antipixel)
    5. [Not Eric Meyer]

    And numerous others, but those are my top five.

  68. Thanks Matt, but no books for me. Major time commitment!

  69. David Shea is the most recognizable name to me. I am a novice, so I only buy books from the most recognizable names, like you & David.

  70. “…who would automatically make you take a CSS book seriously and consider buying it just on the strength of the name alone.” … first thought: Dave Shea.

  71. As Dan Cederholm and Jeffrey Zeldman have already written books, I think that perhaps Tantek Celik, David Shea, or Douglas Bowman should step up to the plate.

    Not that I’d say no to a third Eric Meyer book, though.

  72. christopher schmitt
    surprised no one listed him

  73. I say John Kerry; if not him, maybe George W. There you go. Serious!

  74. Big John and Holly

  75. Wow, thanks to the folks who mentioned me! A CSS book though? Me? Nah. Not unless it’s titled “Learn CSS Through Trial and Error!” ;)

    In my mind Shea, Tantek or Bowman jump to the front when we’re talking about CSS. Maybe Cederholm could do another, I just started “Web Standard Solutions” and it’s great. I also like the idea of a group book…those are always fun reads.

  76. I’d buy anything written by Todd Fahrner or Owen Briggs.

  77. I’d recommend Dave Shea, the guy is a legend. I’m not sure of Derek Powazek’s CSS knowledge specifically but his thinking would surely be of help, and his book “Design for community” is one of the best I’ve read in that field.

  78. dave shea. no doubt.

  79. Dave Shea or Jeffrey Zeldman. But i’d be surprised if they could tell me anything that isnt already in your books. Unless it’s a book about getting standards to play ball on all browsers.

    *glares balefully at IE and Safari*

  80. David Shea, Andy Budd or Jeffrey Zeldman

  81. Big John! Over a year ago, I begged Big John to write a eBook similar to what http://www.projectseven.com has done, but focusing soley on all the hacks needed today. Details how and when to implement them, in step by step fashion. The info is out there, but it’s all over the place. I want a convient reference guide, as I stumble through webdesign trying to make my site look right in any flavor!

  82. I am refering to Big John from http://www.positioniseverything.net, who is active and exceptionally helpfull on the CSS-discuss forum.

  83. Aaron Gustafson, outstanding work!

  84. Dave Shea, absolutely.

  85. My vote would go to either Dan Cederholm or Douglas Bowman. Both have a very good writing style.

  86. Dave Shea, Dan Cederholm or Douglas Bowman.
    I know I go one right :)

  87. Dave Shea or Jeffrey Zeldman.

  88. I second Russ Weakly. Those -tutorial series in Max Design have been the most thorough, approachable, and easiest to understand writings on the web. He splits every section into managable chunks with diagrams!Russ

  89. I also recommend Molly. I would like to add Meryl Evans, Meg from Mandarin Design, and Makiko Ito, just off the top of my head.

  90. My vote goes to Sue Sims and Jeffrey Zeldman

  91. Tantek Celik is the only person I’d really be interested in as the author of another CSS book. There are plenty of “light” CSS books out there which are really design books with an emphasis on CSS. I’d like to have something more along the lines of a “comprehensive reference” available, and the only person I’d trust with that task is Tantek (or Molly, but she’s already written a book, no?). Not to say all the other folks listed aren’t great, mind you…

  92. Dave Shea or Douglas Bowman

  93. Hixie

  94. Eric Costello

  95. Here is my list: some people that, as far as I know, have never written a book (though they should):

    * Patrick Griffiths
    * Russ Weakley
    Because of their ability (above all Russ) to write the most clear, comprehensive and in depth articles.

    * Dave Shea
    * Simon Willison
    * Peter-Paul Koch
    Do they need any presentation?

    * Ian Hickson
    * Tantek Çelik
    Same as above (do they need any presentation?), furthermore an insight from the W3C CSS Working Groups

    * Holly Bergevin
    * John Gallant
    These guys should be a must for any serious CSS book, because of their deep knowledge of CSS, bugs and bugfix: real world CSS guaranteed!

    * Literary Moose (don’t know his name)
    * Seamus Leahy
    Pushing CSS to their limits. A touch of their examples is best showcase of CSS power

  96. Christopher Schmitt, for many reasons one of which being he has the coolest t-shirts.

  97. Molly‘s Cascading Style Sheets – The Designer’s Edge is the most accessible CSS introduction out there. If you want a complex subject explained so that it suddenly clicks with the reader, she’s the one to do it!

  98. Didier Hilhorst, of course!

  99. After reading “Web Standards Solutions”, I would definately reccomend Dan Cederholm. I happen to like his approach to CSS. I think, honestly, that it is a lot more real world than some of the other people I have read (I think he respects its place as a tool in the real world of design rather than the be all end all you’re stupid if you’re not using it attitude that some might take), and I think that makes him ideal for an author in the real world of CSS useage.

  100. Bill Gates. It might just force him to “get it”.

  101. A book by Tantek would be great, and I’d say Zeldman, although he already published a nice piece of work already.

  102. Best at CSS
    Well ‘the List’ is floating around the net and I might as well chime in.
    But really, how the hell would I know? If I consider the question carefully I realise