Tuesday 13 December 2005

Molly’s Unabashedly Biased Picks 2005: Blogs, Design, Books and Achievements

ALL OF MY PICKS for the best Web Design and Development contributions of 2005 are completely biased, based solely on the people who have mentored, motivated and inspired me personally this year. So yes, they are all my friends.

Since that definition includes so many, I’m going to follow the leader of the pack and limit my picks to four categories: Blog, Design, Book, and Special Achievement.

Let me find my sparkly wrap and we’re off . . .

Pick of Blogs 2005

Contenders include Douglas Bowman for his thoughtfulness, Tantek Çelik because of his focus on problem-solving with real solutions, Andy Clarke for his wit and willingness to learn openly, Dean Edwards because he’s very, very clever; Dave Shea as he’s precise and broad in his interests, and Roger Johansson because he’s so generous with his knowledge.

My pick for best blog, however, must go to Eric Meyer. Eric shares his skills, his perceptions and his life with grace, honesty and his own brand of cynical humor. I’ve followed and been part of his career, been made a member of his family and he has never, ever let me down. I follow Eric’s blog because no matter the content, he always teaches me so much.

Best Blog: meyerweb

Pick of Design 2005

Choosing a standout design isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to matching great design with great markup and CSS. I’ve been drawn to many designers within the CSS Zen Garden, largely because I’ve focused on that site as a great example when I write and teach.

My pick for best design goes to Andy Clarke’s own blog site, And All that Malarkey. The blog’s design is fresh, unique and doesn’t fall into the fixed and centered trends and traps we saw all year. The multiple IE / MOSe versions make the design all the more compelling. It’s been extraordinarily useful as a showcase for progressive enhancement. Clarke’s blog design showcases the rich content of the site and while it draws from many aspects of magazine style publishing, it works well for the Web, too.

Andy warrants best design because he gets “it” – the essence of making standards-based design look delicious, communicate a clear message, and function well. He is the quintessential Web designer. He is visual, smart with markup and CSS, experimental, and he’s a passionate advocate, consummate professional and full of love and respect for everyone with whom he interacts.

Best Design: Andy Clarke.

Pick of Books 2005

I’ve enjoyed reading a few good web design and development books this year, and two authors that stand out are Stuart Langridge and Jeremy Keith . I still know very little about JavaScript, mostly because I’ve never had to really apply it in my work. I hope to learn more in 2006.

I am confident that Rachel Andrew writes books that far more people should read. I would give her best book but I’m going to be very selfish and nominate one of my own instead.

That book would have to be The Zen of CSS Design. I’m not nominating this because of me, really. Zen succeeds because it is a beautiful book, an honest book, and a book that captures the passion of 2005. That beauty would never have been possible without the vision and hard work of Dave Shea.

It’s because of Zen, the positive experience of working as co-author with Dave and getting to know many of the designers involved that I was most inspired in everything I worked on for the remainder of 2005.

Best Book: Zen of CSS Design

Special Achievement Award

In this category there are thousands. It’s every individual who makes up the communities based in and extended from the social aspects of the Web. For me, it’s always about the discussion, the relationships, and the growth.

So for me, the Achievement Award must broadly acknowledge every single person who is participating in moving the Web forward with passion, pride and positive thought.

My Special Achievement Award goes to you.

Got Picks?

Trackback your picks or comment if you’ve got ’em.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:51 | Comments (35)

Comments (35)

  1. Aww, thanks Molly.

    PS – I will be filling your mind with lots of JS in ’06.

  2. I think I’d pick a different blog for 2005, although I do have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Meyer (who doesn’t?).

    Every year should be a recurring award for Kevin Cornell ( He is a talented, eccentric individual who provides all of us with joy and laughter, smothered in cynicism. He is where I turn to lighten my stress and workload of the day.

    Best blog: Bearskinrug

  3. I agree with Zen being the best book, its one of the few “academic” books that I flick through just for fun!

  4. Awww! Cheers m’dear!

  5. Thanks Molly, great article for bringing my RSS feed subscriptions up to date – some great material there.
    Also, I love the Zen Garden book too so dont feel guilty about giving the award to yourself!
    I’m with Ed on – its a great site.

  6. At least we know your crowd. Next year I’ll shoot to be on the list 😉

  7. Well even if you are bias I dont think it matters one bit since your picks are right on. My favorite one is Tantek Çeliks blog.B ut one I did notice was not mentioned was Jeffery Zeldmans blog which has my number two pick.

  8. M, while I totally understand those pics –they have all made outstanding achievements to the community– but aren’t they all just a *wee* obvious? How about the work of some really good, although not-within-two-degrees-of-a-member-of-WaSP?

  9. I think 456 Berea Street would take out my top this year but you’re in the top five Molly, maybe even the top three?!

    Of course I do need to get out more ha ha so its probably not that authoratitive. Ha. Which reminds me I haven’t been to Bearskinrug for many months. How did THAT happen??

  10. Well done on the book Molly. It’s an excellent book, one which I found it hard to put down and still go back to.

    I have to agree with the nomination of Kevin Cornell’s Bearskinrug. It has become a daily retreat from reality.

  11. CM: As the title of this post clearly states, this is all my bias, my personal experience, who and what influenced me the most this year.

    There are plenty of folks farther out of my own small circle that definitely do an awesome job and that’s why I acknowledge the community at large.

    It’d be nice to see other folks pick up the discussion on their blogs, and write their own picks. That’d get things going!

  12. Oh my gosh! You link me! You really link me!

  13. Molly,

    what’s your pick for conference of the year :-)


  14. I think Dan Cederholm’s Bullet Proof CSS would have been my top book.

    Stuart’s DHTML book is pretty amazing, too, and I have a hard time right now not repeating most of what he wrote in my book for Apress :-)

    I think a special notion should go to Opera software for finally making their browser free and include a great “small screen” simulator which helped me in a lot of client discussions so far.
    “See, this is how a busy high-income business man would see your page in a flexibe CSS layout, and this is how it displays now”.

    Roger’s 456Bereastreet rules my blog-check, I agree with another comment on this one.

  15. @Molly: It’d be nice to see other folks pick up the discussion on their blogs, and write their own picks. That’d get things going!

    True, true. It’s all good.

    You’re idea of running with the idea is a good one, and I do hope people follow up with it. I should take some time to make an “honourable mention” post, as there really have been some kickass works in 2005.

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  17. Thanks for the mention Molly. That’s some stunning company you’ve put me in! I’m both flattered and honoured.

  18. Well, at least you admit to being totally bias ;).

    Your choices are all very good, it’s hard to fault them really.

  19. Pingback: post-next -Ted Drake’s standards-based web development » CSS, Accessibility, and DOM for fun and profit

  20. Pingback: People I admire * jonathanish

  21. Pingback: Confessions of an Undercover Geek » My Biased Best of the Web in 2005

  22. Pingback: Jim’s Blog » Thanks to 456 Berea Street

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  24. I bought Spring Into HTML and CSS and the Zen of CSS design from a local bookstore here in Singapore. And I’m loving it. I’m not a web designer but I enjoy your books so much.Now I enjoy your website.:-)

  25. website address corrected.

  26. hi everyone makes fun of my name they call me jolly,folly,polly.wolly bye

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