Home > front-end development > Moving The Web Forward

Moving The Web Forward

December 3rd, 2011

This Wednesday, me and a ragtag team of like-minded developers launched Move the Web Forward, an initiative to direct people's passions into productive efforts that assist not only the web community but the entire web platform. People often feel the need to "give back", but when it comes to contributing it's a challenge to find the right place. This is something I've seen happen firsthand in the jQuery and HTML5 Boilerplate communities.

The MWF effort was inspired by a tweet by WebKit extraordinaire Dimitri Glazkov. Me and Divya started brainstorming on an etherpad. We rounded up some folks on Google+ and IRC and started collecting a lot of excellent resources. Soon after a design was in the making and we started working in an open repo on github…

At this point, I want to call out Mat Marquis aka @wilto, in particular, for really taking early ownership of this project and spearheading the design and frontend development. His efforts really made the site communicate its content effectively.

Naturally the site is on github if you'd like to contribute. We have a few issues open that we'll be improving the site with. (Also, let me just say for projects like this, a cron job to pull latest from Github makes for such a relaxing workflow.)

We launched the site on the fifth annual Blue Beanie Day as a means of extending the celebration of standards and offering calls to action beyond keeping your head warm. :) It was a shame that Zeldman didn’t seem interested in giving the initiative much attention, if any at all, even though he so eagerly promoted Blue Beanie Day itself. Instead of sharing the site with his audience, he preferred them to purchase some merchandise.

Thanks to Divya, Mat, Aaron Forsander, Connor Montgomery, Stephanie Rewis (great writeup!), Nicolas Gallagher, Addy, and all these awesome folk. Truly a socially developed site; everyone collaborating on IRC, etherpad and github (with as many having commit rights as possible). Fun project to work on and I hope to see everyone find the right place for them to get more involved in actively making the web as awesome as you want it to be.

2011.12.02: #movingwebforward in action!

Beyond all the people who signed up (with the avatars) on the site to commit to things.. We've seen some moves in the community already:

\o\ \o/ /o/

Paul Irish front-end development

  1. December 4th, 2011 at 01:10 #1

    LUV IT. This is just what I was after. <3

  2. Mike
    December 4th, 2011 at 11:27 #2

    Paul, I love you.

    Just a reminder: "me and a ragtag team of like-minded developers launched" should be "a ragtag team of like-minded developers and I launched".

    Easy way to remember:

    1) Put others before yourself. Examples: "the team and I", not "I and the team"; "Bob and I", not "I and Bob".
    2) Put the noun and verb together and see how it feels. For example, you wouldn't say "me launched".

  3. December 4th, 2011 at 12:02 #3

    Hallo Paul,

    Congrats on a great idea. I love all the information at movethewebforward.org

    As a tech writer, I have to give huge kudos to Colin for committing to better docs. ;)

    Cheers, Sarah

  4. December 4th, 2011 at 13:22 #4

    lol. I knew it was wrong but putting "like-minded" before the subject they are minded alike to was awkward. :)
    English is hard.

  5. Carlos Eduardo
    December 6th, 2011 at 05:15 #5

    Just two words: god bless you! Hehehe :)
    I need to confess, I admire you a lot!

    Thank you for your numerous efforts to make our work better and better :)

  6. December 6th, 2011 at 17:20 #6

    Also, Louis Remi just chimed in and is offering feedback on CORS and has a proposal:

  7. December 7th, 2011 at 10:59 #7

    It was a shame that Zeldman didn’t seem interested in giving the initiative much attention, if any at all, even though he so eagerly promoted Blue Beanie Day itself. Instead of sharing the site with his audience, he preferred them to purchase some merchandise.

    Hi, Paul. Actually, I tweeted about "Move the Web Forward" on Blue Beanie Day the moment I saw it, and I linked to it from Facebook and Google+, but carry on with the character assassination.

    I tweeted about it without knowing who was behind it (doesn't matter), and without being *entirely* clear what it was about (you have some copy problems I would have been glad to help with).

    I was pleased to discover this blog post as I thought, "Ah, now I can reach out to the people behind that site and help them publicize it more" but then, a few paragraphs in, I saw your shitty little whiney character assassination of me (quoted above) and thought, oh, well.

    Why do you do this to yourself? Why do you create something nice and then shit on someone else? What kind of behavior is that?

    You did the same thing when you complained about A List Apart even though we've reached out to you for *three years* asking you for content and input. Calling something on the web crap is always a childish move, particularly when that thing is open and your feedback and content have been solicited for it many times.

    I gather you have some unexplained grudge against me.

    Or against the young dude in Ireland who created some web standards buttons for fun. If you think my help of his project is how I earn my living, you need to get out of the cubicle more.

    I'm usually polite to everyone, even very rude people, but you're being both whiney *and* a dick, which is a hard combo most people to pull off (fortunately most people don't try).

    Your project looks cool and could benefit from outside help, but I won't be helping because you are an asshole. You are, I think, the only asshole I've met in 20 years of doing web work. Fuck off.


  8. Catskill Girl
    December 7th, 2011 at 11:15 #8

    Boy, watch out to anyone who you might want to publicly support what you're doing and: 1. doesn't owe you anything, 2. might be too busy, 2. might have other priorities, 3. may have some personal thing you have going on that you know nothing about.

    Guess what, slagging someone off in public with a nasty, sneering remark for not jumping to your personal agenda is really stupid.

    The only good thing about it is that smart people will stay well away from you.

  9. December 7th, 2011 at 11:23 #9

    This looks interesting stuff … followed a tweet from zeldman "Moving the web forward and politeness backward. I finally met a web developer I don't like." Which means that in fact he does like you … I think

  10. Jonathan Neal
    December 7th, 2011 at 11:24 #10

    Drama is not part of web standards.

  11. December 7th, 2011 at 11:27 #11


    Wow, although I can understand your anger over being mentioned negatively, your full comment would probably fall into the category of "angry letters that people write and then leave in a drawer for a week before deciding to send."

    That said, hope you two mend your fences. A shame to have two great dev minds working against each other.

    And negative comments aside, thanks for making MTWF Paul. Love it!

  12. December 7th, 2011 at 11:27 #12

    Jonathan Neal: You know what else is not part of web standards? Falsely attacking a person for not supporting your project enough and implying that that person was too busy making a fortune off ten dollars worth of knick-knacks to dirty his fingers helping the web community. I do a lot for this community, always have. I supported Paul's project on the day it launched, without even knowing (or caring) it was his. I've discussed it with a few folks because it has messaging problems and I was eager to help. Then I came here and saw Paul trash-talking me and, well, that just ain't right.

  13. December 7th, 2011 at 11:29 #13

    Well I hope that given the prior comment by Jeffry Zeldman that we do not devolve into the war of the Web Standards folks… we barely survived the browser wars.

  14. December 7th, 2011 at 11:31 #14

    Peter Kaizer: Ha ha! True enough, sir. True enough.

  15. Jonathan Neal
    December 7th, 2011 at 11:33 #15

    @zeldman please then, take it up with paul, join us on irc, anything that doesn't involve starting a feud. When you tweet and write these comments then you get everybody excited to join in the fight. You're a person people look to. Paul is a person people look to. The more you fight, the more drama you bring to the table, the more you subvert the entire definition of web standards, which is all about harmonizing a web of many different people, devices, and technology.

    Everyone loses when we fight like this. Would it be so bad just to stop? Right now?

  16. December 7th, 2011 at 11:37 #16

    LOL clash of the titans? You should both forgive each other and forget this whole mess. Instead of engaging in a war, I would try to make friends with those who trash or hate me; or have grudges against me.

  17. December 7th, 2011 at 11:37 #17

    Sick burn. Ooooooh! It's oddly pleasant when unnecessary negativity hits a wall.

  18. December 7th, 2011 at 11:46 #18

    Wow! Can't we all just get along? Both of you are going way overboard with this.

  19. December 7th, 2011 at 11:51 #19

    @keyamoon Concur.

  20. December 7th, 2011 at 11:59 #20


    Is this really the example you want to leave the rest of the design community on how to deal with someone you don't agree with? I don't doubt your standing in the community, but I expected a more mature, professional, and well-thought out response from you. Where's the class? Where's the example?

    Its one thing to view two professionals hash things out intelligently and respectfully, but its another to have a childish tantrum on display in front of the community at large.

    Yes, Paul made a jab at you, but did it really warrant a response of this magnitude?

    As a member of the web design/dev community I'm disappointed in both of you.

    A commendable job by both of you at moving the web intellectually backwards.

  21. December 7th, 2011 at 12:10 #21

    I said you didn't link to the project because you didn't… :/

    My goals are to actively level up developers to create the sort of content on the web they want to see. Movethewebforward.org is part of that. It exists to help developers find their place in the community, integrating well with other developers and pushing the platform forward. There's room for everyone.

    Your language is really strong here and on twitter and I don't think we need this much negativity.

    We seem to want, more or less, the same thing; and go about it different ways. I think that's okay. Let's keep doing our thing.

  22. Tom
    December 7th, 2011 at 12:21 #22

    Can't stand the piety of the "don't be negative" brigade. The man was slighted in the article, he responded in the article's comments thread. How about taking your theories about what is and isn't appropriate content for a comment to your own blog and stop trying to enforce this bizarre, numb, soulless rigidness of topic and wet the-world-is-my-friend pretensions, as if emotive reactions have no place in the pseudo-intellectual world you inhabit. Grow a pair of whatever your respective genders need to not be so pathetic.

  23. December 7th, 2011 at 12:21 #23

    I don’t know, expecting someone, anyone, to promote or respond to something within just three days seems to be a bit much to ask. It would be one thing if they did not respond, but calling them out on it is a bit harsh.

  24. James
    December 7th, 2011 at 12:23 #24


    The only trash talking i see on this page, is from you.

  25. December 7th, 2011 at 12:27 #25

    Okay, I have to chime in here for a moment. Jeffrey, I’m not saying this to accuse you, but: where did you tweet this or post this on Google+? I couldn’t remember seeing you tweet it back then on the day (hence our private conversation) but after seeing this I went back to check your tweets, and also your Facebook and G+. I see a re-shared link from Stephanie Sullivan-Rewis on your Facebook, but nothing on your Twitter nor G+ timelines. I suspect that your tweet never made it through due to a bug or error somewhere, made all the more likely given that you did link it on Facebook.

    As for not knowing who’s behind it: there are seven avatars at the bottom of the site, quite prominently visible. And then a link to the full contributors list on Github. Paul is just one of many people who put a lot of work into this, people who all are very passionate and enthusiastic about the web. You could’ve easily reached out to any of these folks.

    That said, what Paul wrote no doubt hurt you very personally, and it’s understandable. But while I may not agree with Paul's jab in his post, I also don't think the last two paragraphs in your comment are helpful. Escalating this into an angry verbal war wherein we call each other all manner of nasty things is not going to benefit anyone, least of all the web.

    You both work hard to move the web forward, but in different ways. I have great respect for you both and in whatever capacity I have worked with each of you I’ve been nothing but impressed by the talent, passion and dedication put on display. To see something that was meant to be a mutual celebration turn into a bitter divide is a tremendous shame, and I truly hope you two can resolve things.

    That's my contribution as somewhat-in-between observer.

    (disclosure: I'm not involved in MTWF so I have no personal stake in this)

  26. anonymous coward
    December 7th, 2011 at 12:28 #26


  27. December 7th, 2011 at 12:29 #27

    An aside – I hate fights, even when they're verbal. I wish we could all just get along. It'd be so much easier. But it'd be so much more complacent. Complacency leads to idleness. That's not good when you want to move the web forward and support web standard all in a future friendly way.

    The guts -

    Jeffrey, you say you tweeted about it on the day and mentioned it on your google+ accounts. Have you deleted these posts since I've just checked and can't find any mention on either platform. :o)

  28. December 7th, 2011 at 12:31 #28

    Hugs, not bugs. <3

  29. Brian Irish
    December 7th, 2011 at 12:31 #29

    Hey Paul – in the spirit of Moving the Web Forward, how would I begin to petition browser makers to add some more accessible information (akin to HTTP_USER_AGENT) pertaining to the device model? This is born out of the future need of detecting physical screen size (in inches or centimeters) to work *in conjunction with* screen resolution, to produce the best looking page to the user. In a world where smartphone resolutions are eclipsing older Windows XP-era desktops, screen resolution detection is becoming less and less of an option for proper device detection.

    Thanks, hope you're doing well.
    Brian Irish

  30. December 7th, 2011 at 12:32 #30

    In the screenplay version of this conversation, we'd now answer the knock at the door to find a smiling, hapless fellow distributing religious pamphlets. He'd say something conciliatory and serene, and we'd yell at him to fuck off, slamming the door. Then we'd take stock of the situation, and share a good belly laugh.

  31. December 7th, 2011 at 12:37 #31

    @zeldman Please watch this video from JSConf on negativity if you haven't already. It is very important that we try to be nice to each other on the web. Hatred and negativity never results in anything good. http://jsconf.eu/2011/an_end_to_negativity.html

  32. December 7th, 2011 at 12:38 #32

    wow. deep breaths – we're all just a bunch of fireworks going off at the same time in the space-time continuum… perhaps celebrating that fact and shared interests is the best example for the young people who might be reading this thread.

    “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”
    ― Desmond Tutu

  33. Matt
    December 7th, 2011 at 12:52 #33

    Wow. Just Wow.
    "Clash of the titans", hrmm, more like "Clash of the ego's"
    Guys, just get on with what you do well. The web community really *like* what you do. Here at the coal face of web dev, we don't often get to put into practice these wonderful ideas and ideals you come up with – we're too busy with ideas and ideals of our own.
    The last thing we want to see, is one of the *worst* aspects of the internet coming from clever peeps like yourselves.
    Take it offline, make it private, whatever, just … chill!

  34. December 7th, 2011 at 12:58 #34

    @zeldman the web has stagnated for 10 years, with very little effort to get web developers involved in the standards process.

    movethewebforward.org is our attempt to close that chasm. Make web developers contribute to specifications, browser implementations, and development tools. Bring spec editors the much needed feedback on some of the features so we don't have to spend another 10 years in a limbo.

    We want developers to be engaged in the work of making the web better and encouraging web developers to _actively_ be involved in doing so.

  35. December 7th, 2011 at 12:59 #35

    Paul: There's history here people reading this aren't aware of, and missed opportunities you created for yourself by trash-talkig my conference and magazine in the past. Even when you did that I reached out to you in friendship and tried to engage you as a collaborator. You ignored those attempts and continued the public trash talk. That's not a sign of maturity, kindness, or professionalism. I could have turned the other cheek on today's cheap shot but I'd had enough and decided to call you on it — for all the good it did me.

    I know you think you're blameless, and I'm sure you see your attack on a young Irish fan's button and banner site (which makes under 100 pounds a year) as justified. You imply I'm all about money, and feel it's okay for you to make that comment — but not okay for me to use strong language when I reply. Well, maybe it's not. Maybe I should always turn the other cheek. That's what better men than me have done.

    If you're not willing to look at your part of this, cool, fine, no problem, we'll just steer clear of each other. But please, in the future, don't add paragraphs to your content by citing me as a negative example. I kinda don't like that, and I've never written an article that made a straw man of you.


  36. December 7th, 2011 at 13:01 #36

    Divya: I like movethewebforward.org. I like it like I like future friend.ly. I've been trying to put the two orgs together — I think you could help each other. I'm not criticizing movethewebforward.org. I'm punching back at the author of this blog post for unprovoked shit he chose to fling at me. I hope he grows up and stops doing that. The merits of the project have nothing to do with the behavior of one of its members. Peace.

  37. December 7th, 2011 at 13:05 #37

    @Stephen Lovell

    I agree with your message very much so.

    It is very disappointing to see people engaged with rude manners and comments.

    @zeldman et @paul_irish

    I think maybe the word 'shame' that Paul used was a critical, but to have a very unpleasant use of strong words back from Jeffrey was not very gentleman.

    Both of you have many followers and people that look up to you two, young and old. Feuds and drama are for the media, and we are involved in the caring of the web and its standards. It is because of communities like these full of harmonious people that we push for a better web, a better use of technology, and a better world.

    If not friends, at least let's be cordial to each other.

  38. Anon
    December 7th, 2011 at 13:28 #39

    the movethewebforward site was not blessed by zeldman (and he's not making money off it) – hence.

  39. December 7th, 2011 at 13:36 #40

    I admire Mr. Zeldman, I always have. His was the first Web Standard book I read and enjoy its content very much. I have to say that I have mix feelings about his response, I wished he could ignore this post all together and remain at the level we all believe he is.

  40. Sequoia
    December 7th, 2011 at 13:58 #41

    Are we on hackernews yet? ;)

  41. December 7th, 2011 at 14:00 #42

    I'm gonna go ahead and close comments here so we can all go back to work.

    Let's return to building an awesome web.

Comments are closed. Sorry dude.