A fresh start planned for the pioneering web-standards site
Designer Dave Shea has announced the return of CSS Zen Garden, to coincide with its tenth anniversary. The site was once the go-to place for seeing what designers could do with then-limited CSS when styling a provided template—for example, the original requirements state “CSS2 should be limited to widely-supported elements only”.
The revamped site will pick up where its predecessor left off, providing the means for designers to show off their skills with the latest CSS. In terms of the direction of new submissions, Shea simply asked: "Please, no garden-themed/Zen pun/self-referential designs. Let's see some originality."
Industry figures were thrilled by the site’s return. Standards advocate, speaker and author Eric Meyer told .net: “It’s almost impossible to overstate how deeply influential and industry-changing the original CSS Zen Garden was, and to have it brought back to life for the CSS3 era is a delight beyond measure. I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled! Thank you, Dave!”
Happy Cog founder and web standards godfather Jeffrey Zeldman was similarly enthusiastic, calling CSS Zen Garden “a legendary site” that “made real designers sit up and take notice of the power of CSS and the elegance of standards-based design with its separation of structure from presentation”. In fact, Zeldman suggested the site even sped up CSS adoption: “Would designers have accepted web standards if CSS Zen Garden had not existed? Possibly, but not nearly as enthusiastically or as quickly as they did once they saw the site. You really can't underestimate the impact that site had on the digital design world. Congratulations and big thanks to Dave Shea!”