Anselm Hannemann on INIT, open devices and iPad magazines

The German developer, author and conference organiser explains what makes him tick.

One of the 10 nominees for Young Developer of the Year in the 2014 net Awards, Anselm Hannemann is based in Munich, Germany. Freelance frontend developer and co-creator of Open Device Lab, INIT and the PUBKON conference, he also curates the Web Development Reading List and co-wrote the Adobe Digtal Publishing Suite book. We spoke to him to find out more.

What are your main areas of expertise?

I specialise in frontend development, in particular writing scalable and maintainable HTML and CSS. I also do some JavaScript and have a lot of experience with Web Animations, especially for mobile devices.

Give us a summary of your career so far.

I started doing things for the web when I was 14. At 18, I started my first web development company with a colleague. I worked for news magazines and other well-known clients as a freelancer.

Since I have been working as a freelancer I have been doing quite a few talks about web development and tablet magazine development at local meet-ups, and have spoken at several conferences in European countries. I started a discussion about responsive images back in 2011 at the WHATWG mailing list and have been a member of the Responsive Images Community Group since the beginning.

The INIT framework is one of Hannemann's main community projects

In 2012 I co-created the website of, followed by the INIT Framework and the object-fit polyfill in 2013. I am a regular open-source contributor, I write articles for net magazine, Smashing Magazine, and other titles. I also have co-written a book about digital publishing in which I explain HTML, CSS and JavaScript basics.

What have you been working on over the last year?

Besides two big client projects and several others, I've been working on improving and creating the DYDD teaser page for it. A big project I worked on for the past year finally went live in November 2013 called INIT: A Grunt based Front-End Boilerplate which eases the build-workflow for you.

I also organize an annual event for the publishing industry with three friends called PUBKON which took place in April 2013 for the second time.

Taking place in Berlin, publishing industry conference Pubkon is now in its third year

Finally, I've co-created the object-fit polyfill, tried to push Responsive Images forwards (which finally seems to work out now thanks to the contributions of the others in the Community Group), written a few articles and spoken at some events. Since June I have also been curating the Web Development Reading List, a weekly Newsletter for frontend developers.

What have been the particular high points of your career?

I helped to bring FOCUS Magazine (one of the biggest German weeklies) to the iPad in 2012. Organising my own conference and speaking at other conferences are also definite highpoints.

What are you excited about at the moment?

Finally, responsive Images are on the roadmap of some browser engines. I am excited about how the web is evolving, and I’m especially in love with Web Components right now. Still, there is quite a way to go and I love what I see in web standards specifications for the near future.

Tell us about an important lesson you've learned in your career.

"Do what you love and love what you do" is probably the most important thing one should remember every day. But I also learned how important is it to listen to your body, to your intuition and to enjoy life. It's helped my career a lot to publish articles on the web, speak at meet-ups (and later at conferences), and go to conferences.

Name an 'unsung hero', someone you admire who deserves more recognition for their work.

I'd love to recommend many more people here but most of them can also be found on my Twitter 'Following' list. Hans-Christian Reinl is a good friend of mine, has been teaching me so many things about JavaScript and with his open source contributions he is definitely one of the guys you should have a look at.

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