Pick Of The Pack 2005

This year has been a great year

What a great time to work on the web! What great people to know and what a fantastic year! Here is my Pick Of The Pack for 2005.

Pick Of The Blogs 2005

There has been so much fantastic blog content published this year, from both newcomers and older hands, that picking out one site is very difficult.

From Mark Boulton for his Five simple steps to designing grid systems series to the ever informative Dave Shea, from Molly and her sublime Web Standards and The New Professionalism to Fergus (Oxton) Webber and his ridiculous How to handle a web deisgner, the choice was a hard one.

But the out-and-out Pick Of The Blogs 2005 for me has got to be Roger Johansson's 456 Berea Street. Possibly the coolest Swede since Benny, Bjorn or the Swedish Chef, Roger has worked tirelessly on compiling one of the most informative web standards and accessibility resources on the web. Not only are his own articles wonderfully researched and well written but his comment-enabled Quicklinks are essential reading and help make 456 Berea Street stand apart from the crowd.

Pick Of The Designs 2005

I've been a little disappointed with many designs this year. I had expected that with more designers implementing their work with standards than ever before, older browsers taking a back seat and Firefox swallowing more of Internet Exporer's market share, that designs would be more daring. I hope that in 2006 we will see more designers seeing not only the accessibility and business benefits of standards, but also making the most of the creative opportunities which standards give over old-fashioned methods.

That said, there were great designs in 2005. A List Apart was a major talking point and a creative and technical marvel. But my Pick Of The Designs 2005 goes to Disney Store UK Markus Stefan's folietto for all the reasons that made it feature so highly on the Web Standards Awards and StyleGala.

Pick Of The Books 2005

With so much great content now published on blogs, it's becoming harder and harder to be excited about the printed page. And yet there is still something very special about opening a new book and I think that books will continue to be valuable as resources and inspiration for a long time to come. Next year will see even more well-known bloggers having their names appear on Amazon, our own Andy Budd and Ian Lloyd among them.

Many books stood tall this year including Jeremy Keith's Web Design with JavaScript and the DOM, but one stands tallest of all, Dave Shea's and Molly's The ZEN of CSS Design. I only hope that one day I might write something to make me as proud as Dave and Molly must be of this book.

Special Achievement Award 2005

Every awards ceremony has one, and my Pick Of The Pack 2005 would not be complete without a Special Achievement Award, given (in a plain brown wrapper) to someone who I feel has consistently given our industry the best of themselves over many years. There are of course many contenders including Jeffrey Zeldman (for among other things that orange book), Eric Meyer (for not only talking about, but doing great work such as A List Apart) and hack finder (and lover of the Matrix ) Tantek Celik. But I feel that one person deserves special recognition above everyone else.

If all I was to quote were these few words, Coined one of the greatest digerati from her bio, I'm sure that most readers would already know to whom this award was going. Since before the first graphical browser she was working on the web. When there was Internet Explorer 3, she was working with CSS at MSN. She's steered WaSP, written 34 books and spoken at just about every web conference there is. She is of course, Molly Holzschlag.

This year has been a great year in the web standards community thanks largely to Molly. With that book, her first inspirational keynote speech at WE05 and some wonderfully powerful writing on WaSP, Molly has pushed the progress of standards to the next level. You need only read An Open Letter to Disney Store UK or No Mr. Ballmer, Microsoft Will not Win the Web to feel the passion which Molly has for her subject. Nevermind that she is deemed as one of the most influential women on the Web, I would go as far as to say that today she is the most influential woman and that she deserves a very special thanks for everything that she has done and will do in the future.

As the curtain closes

So before I take off my tux, I just want to say the biggest thank-you to everyone for coming to this site over the last year, to the new friends I've met either in person or over that internet and to everyone for making this a great time to be working on the web.


#1 On December 12, 2005 11:29 PM Eric Meyer said

Really, it's an honor just to be nominated. No, honestly, I mean it, I didn't even care if I won. To be in such wonderful company, it's practically like I won the award anyway.


#2 On December 13, 2005 12:08 AM Steve Williams said

Great choices, couldn't agree more! 456, folietto, Molly and Zen - they have been my bibles, teachers, inspiration and bathroom reading in what has been my first year as a web designer/developer.

Hmmm, not sure the bathroom comment reads much like a compliment, but it is :)

#3 On December 13, 2005 12:25 AM Andrew Krespanis said

You forgot to mention the incredibly infectious energy and enthusiasm that sweeps any geekish gathering that Molly attends :)

I hate the B.S. hype and marketing terms in this industry; but Molly's keynote at WE'05 *almost* had me shouting 'Ajax'.

Almost ;)

#4 On December 13, 2005 12:37 AM Sean Fraser said

I would've had it a dead heat for Pick of the Blogs between Roger and you.

#5 On December 13, 2005 12:50 AM Drew McLellan said

Well said that man Malarkey!

I very much agree that Roger Johansson's blog has been one of the better reads this year. So much so, I asked him to be today's guest author over at 24 ways. How's that for coincidence?

#6 On December 13, 2005 01:08 AM Matt Robin said

As you call out the nominees, I'm probably with a rowdy crowd in the far corner of the room (maybe including that man Oxton!)...slightly drunk and clapping loudly to every bit you just said...err....typed! :D

I agree - 2005 has been outstanding....but it's only raising the bar higher - 2006 will eclipse 2005 by June/July! (maybe?)
Web Standards, thanks in large part to your efforts and Molly's (among others) has really started to gain momentum in 2005 and personally I'm going to do my best to help push it even harder in 2006. For code-discussed content - I agree: Roger's site is a fantastic piece of work...(but statistically - I've visited this site even more this year than Roger's!) - he might be cool, and Swedish...but it's been quite 'dry' reading at times across the year (whereas I can't pinpoint a single moment this year when your site has lost your good natured humour even when you conveyed the ways of calculating specificity! Did I spell that right? #Laughs#).

I think 'folietto' is a great piece of design...but I'm going to disagree with you slightly here - as I think 'Avalonstar' by Bryan Veloso is not only my pick of the year...but simply one of the best designs I've ever seen on the web (I was rather surprised by it!)

Molly rightly deserves the special achievement award (and after all that flying about the globe - she needs a holiday too - or there will be a burnt-out Molly for 2006! Which is no good because we need her strong for the launch of IE7!!!)

Great selection of nominees/winners Andy...nice one! :)

#7 On December 13, 2005 09:33 AM Susan said

Nice selection. Good choice

#8 On December 13, 2005 09:55 AM trovster said

Good review of the year there Andy. Rogers blog is immense with so much content going up so often. From the informative articles to the punchy yet eye-opening quicklinks, it helps categorise the best of the web-development web.

With respect to the books, I have both Jeremys and Daves. However, I've only read DOM Scripting from front to back and enjoyed it.

Haha, why didn't the Disney Store UK win best design...?

#9 On December 13, 2005 12:03 PM bruce said

Molly who?

#10 On December 13, 2005 05:01 PM Jonathan Snook said

Next year, I vow to take down Roger! That man has stolen my thunder for too long! I'll club him in the knee if I have to!

#11 On December 13, 2005 06:19 PM Roger Johansson said

Wow Andy, I'm really honoured by this. Thank you! And thanks everybody for reading what I write.

Jonathan, no need to club me in the knee. I'm sure we can work something out ;-).

#12 On December 13, 2005 06:52 PM fergus webber said

I am the greatest and it is an honour for you.

#13 On December 13, 2005 10:07 PM Mike WS said

Re: Pick Of The Designs 2005

Yet another designer who does not test what happens when the user changes font size. folietto breaks down sooner than most and then looks terrible.

#14 On December 14, 2005 02:55 PM Molly Holzschlag said

I'm honored to the point of almost being speechless. How often does that happen?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. There is nothing so wonderful as being honored by peers for the hard work that goes into what we do. I honestly couldn't sustain the passion for so many years (well over a decade now) if I didn't have so much support and love and encouragement.

So thank you Andy, and thank you everyone.

#15 On December 15, 2005 03:19 AM Jill Lenz said

I second the nomination for Molly for Special Achievement Award 2005 and her and Dave's book for Pick Of The Books 2005! I have it, love it and refer to it often.

I am so fortunate to have had the wonderful opportunity to meet Molly in person this October on a Website Wave Geek Cruise. I found it funny that I had ripped out one of Molly's columns from the now defunct Web Techniques magazine way back in 1999 and tucked it into my "inspiration" folder at work. I didn't realize this until I returned from the cruise and looked through the folder. Molly had inspired me even way back then!

Before the cruise I Googled all the instructors b/c I was not familiar with most of them. Molly had the most info online (surprise) and I started reading her blog faithfully. As you know her blog is a mix of web development work and personal thoughts. I thought, how intriguing to lay it all out on the table, your personal thoughts on the World Wide Web for all to see . . . something I could never do online. I do love my work, but I'm the opposite, the type who tries to keep a distinct line between work and personal life. I admire her openess, intellect and passion for the cause of web standards that came through from her site. I was very intrigued to meet her.

After I met Molly, she was everything I expected and more. She was so willing to share her knowledge. She even sat down with me one-on-one to rework a table-based navigation banner into CSS-P. She gave me all kinds of tips (review the server logs to know if you need to hack for some or not, check out S5, join this discussion list, visit these other blogs to read, like Malarkey, join Flickr, etc.) That time with her meant the world to me! She was so genuinely warm and down-to-earth when helping me. It was certainly one of the highlights of my year. I'm still telling the story to anyone who will listen (or read). Oh, and Molly's loads of fun after hours, too! Who said geeks were boring? I had a blast with her. And I agree, this is a great time to be working on the web.

Cheers to Molly's Special Achievement Award 2005, you deserve it!

And All That Malarkey

From the archives

Loose talk
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