Checking in With Eric Meyer
Last week, I was lucky enough to be granted a short email interview with Eric Meyer. Some of you might have noticed that his name came up a few times last week; well now you know why! In this interview, Eric talks about where he sees CSS moving as well as his work life after having another baby girl. If you have any additional questions, leave a comment and - just maybe - Eric might respond. No promises!
Who Is This Guy?
Sure. There might be three or four of you out there. In a few sentences, Eric is a world-renowned expert on CSS and HTML. Having written a half dozen books on the subject, he frequently speaks at conferences across the world. Currently, he lives in Cleveland, Ohio where he serves as the principal consultant for "Complex Spiral Consulting".
What projects are you currently working on?
An Event Apart is the biggest project, since it's
always evolving and new challenges come up all the time. Some of which we impose on ourselves,
of course! Also, I was recently quite deeply involved in the organization of
href="http://alistapart.com/articles/survey2008">the second annual A List Apart Survey
href="http://alistapart.com/articles/survey2008">the second annual A List Apart Survey,
which everyone in the field should take without delay.
I've been working on a
proposal to expand linking capabilities in HTML 5, complete with
href="http://meyerweb.com/eric/html-xhtml/html5-linking-demo.html">demo file; and I have a
few WordPress plugins that could use
more attention, most especially "Adminimize". Writing-wise, I have a pretty strong idea for a
mini-book that I'm hoping to finally tackle one of these months, and I'm laying the groundwork
for a fourth edition of "CSS: The Definitive
Guide" that I expect will add quite a bit of material. How much gets added will largely be
up to how much and in what ways browsers advance over the next year or so.
Considering the fact that it is 2008, and we've only recently
begun to see support for rounded corners, do you think that CSS may
become obsolete in the next several years?
Not really, no. I've no doubt it will be replaced some day, but nothing seems to be even
jockeying for that position right now, let alone mounting a serious challenge. And before
someone says either "Silverlight" or "Air", I believe those will be about as successful at
replacing CSS+HTML as were Flash and PDF, and for the same reasons. I'm more concerned that CSS
may, along with HTML, become utterly stagnant-- nay, ossified-- in the next few years. I hope
not, but the concern is there.
Is there any new technology that you're excited about?
Aren't I required to say something about the 3G iPhone here? I think that's a law now.
In a sort of theoretical way, what fires me up the most these days is the proliferation of web
service APIs and how they let us connect data sources and information streams together to do
interesting things. I say "theoretical" because I'm not a very good programmer, so doing that
kind of stuff is really hard for me. I'll keep trying, though.
I'm pretty excited about eInk devices, too. Whatever one thinks of the Kindle, the display
technology is pretty awesome from power-conservation, persistence, and legibility points of
Then there are self-organizing ad-hoc sensor networks, which I find utterly fascinating and
somewhat disturbing. If I get out of the web field, I might take a swing at that area. And
have you seen the BigDog
How has the addition of another baby in your household affected
Since I work from home, it's made it harder to find long stretches of time in which to work,
so I've started to develop a more atomic approach to everything. Any task of medium to long
duration has to be broken down into small components that I can take individually. This is a
good thing, since one of my long-running weaknesses has been a problem with breaking big tasks
down into small ones.
If you could offer only one bit of advice to an up and comer,
what would it be?
Learn the craft, by which I mean the languages that underlie the whole shootin' match; and
practice 'til your fingers are ready to fall off. There's no substitute for experience.
Thanks again to Eric for granting us this interview! Being self taught, Eric was one of my very
first "teachers" - via his book, "Eric Meyer On CSS". Since then, I've kept up with his career to the best of my ability. Be sure to follow him on Twitter if you aren't already. To learn a bit more, you can visit his website and/or purchase one of his successful books on web development.