Jens Oliver Meiert

Biography

Jens Oliver Meiert is an author and developer. His vita includes (also see resume and profiles at LinkedIn and XING, as well as at Amazon and Goodreads):

In/From To Event
October 1999 June 2000 Jens begins his web developer career at the small web agency Promotion24 in Varel, Germany. He later labels the responsibilities during these times, or the qualities of his work, as those of a web decorator.
August 2000 July 2001 Jens specializes in complex multi-client web applications at Unified Messaging company CANBOX in Oldenburg. He designs, codes, and manages the communication services of around 20 different partners, including Audi, FAZ, and Ciao.
April 2001 March 2008 Jens founds his own web development and consulting bureau, erde3, which he runs as a side business. He later rebrands the business under his own name, perhaps aptly “Meiert Web Development & Consulting.”
December 2003 Jens’s first professional article gets published, at Germany’s popular web design magazine Dr. Web. The article’s followed by more writings for Dr. Web as well as other web magazines, like Internet Professionell, Smashing Magazine, iX, and A List Apart.
February 2004 Jens launches UITest.com, a link hub for web development resources and tools that also offers a shortcut to a range of website checks, Site Check. The project’s welcomed by accessibility specialists WebAIM and Juicy Studio and, within the following decade, builds a strong following amounting to about 200,000 monthly visits (as of December 2013).
February 2004 March 2010 In the same month, Jens joins the IxDA (Interaction Design Association). During the first two years he supports the IxDA as the team lead for the German website but then switches to a quieter membership.
June 2004 December 2009 Jens enters the German Chapter of the UPA (Usability Professionals’ Association). He contributes to the work of the chapter by helping with the organization of the Munich Usability Days 2004 and 2005, giving talks, and sponsoring.
July 2004

Jens is the lead web developer behind the relaunch of the website of GMX, one of Europe’s largest online communication services. Internationally, the relaunch is one of the first of this size (>1 billion monthly page impressions) to be based on valid HTML and CSS code.

From joining GMX in 2003 until his departure in 2006, Jens works both on making GMX’s and United Internet’s frontend code valid, scalable, and multi-client-ready as well as setting up corporate policies like GMX’s HTML and CSS guidelines.

July 2004 Jens co-invents the “hard” CSS reset, which he himself uses in production before mentioning it on W3C level. In later years he criticizes reset style sheets and even writes tools like the Reset Style Sheet Highlighter to document their usage.
December 2004 Jens completes his first expert review for O’Reilly and their German edition of Eric Meyer’s CSS Pocket Reference. In the coming years he writes, reviews, and advises for several additional O’Reilly books.
April 2005 March 2006 Jens works as an Invited Expert for W3C’s WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) Working Group. His membership is preceded by two years of pro bono work and many W3C discussion contributions.
November 2005 Cover: Webdesign mit CSS. Jens’s first book gets released, Webdesign mit CSS (O’Reilly). He owes Ingo Helmdach, the book’s designer, that the examples are pleasant enough to be looked at.
November 2005 April 2007 Jens joins the board of the Webkrauts, an association of leading German web designers and developers. An almost-founder, he works on strategic and organizational matters and writes a number of articles before he withdraws his engagement.
July 2006 Jens becomes a modest sponsor of technology conferences, the first one being Usability Professionals 06. He supports future Usability Professionals conferences as well as Mensch & Computer events.
August 2006 July 2007 Jens complements Aperto, Berlin’s staff as a lead frontend developer. He guides the implementation of government and corporate websites, whether Auswärtiges Amt (Germany’s State Department) or Stiftung Warentest, and, together with Timo Wirth, is responsible for internal coding standards.
October 2006 Jens launches the “CSS experiment disguised as net art” project The World’s Highest Website (WHWS). One of several test balloons he ignites over the years, WHWS is a commercial success accumulating more than one million visitors in its first three months alone, an accomplishment given the site’s nature. Very international, WHWS continues to attract a wide audience.
May 2007 Jens becomes Invited Expert in W3C’s HTML Working Group. He contributes to HTML there similar to how he contributes to HTML on the WHATWG side or for CSS then again at the W3C: by reviewing, commenting, and translating here and there.
August 2007 Cover: Webdesign mit CSS, 2. Auflage. Jens and O’Reilly ship the second edition of Webdesign mit CSS. (Later, in 2009, he decides against doing another sequel.)
August 2007 March 2008 Jens works full-time for his own web development business and codes for and consults companies like Aperto, CEWE, OPEN KNOWLEDGE, and Triplemind.
March 2008 Jens intensifies his charity work and becomes an occasional or regular supporter for organizations like Schweizer Tafeln, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Goodwill, and charity: water. Over the years he donates about $20,000 in money and goods (as of February 2014), without being able to tell what that exactly means.
April 2008 July 2013 Jens joins Google in Zurich, Switzerland, as a webmaster. He develops Google’s first HTML/CSS framework and focuses on coding standards, quality control, as well as education and outreach, beside implementing projects for Google’s Marketing, Legal, and Policy departments. In February 2010 he transfers to Mountain View, United States, where he steps up his work further and soon gets promoted to Senior level.
April 2008 Jens, with his preference for tailored technical solutions, pushes HTML code optimization by publicly attacking the otherwise undisputed “no omission of tags” boundary (and becoming notorious for it). The techniques he succeeds—or tries—to introduce at Google, whether the omission of optional tags, the—where valid—leaving out of attribute value quotes, the use of protocol-less URLs, but also CSS-guided debugging, contribute to altering the ways of writing HTML.
October 2008 April 2017 Jens launches the Code Responsibly initiative, on paper co-sponsored by the Webkrauts. Code Responsibly serves the goal of increasing code quality in web development by donating a simple mantra and offering short guidelines.
September 2009 Jens commits to Smashing Magazine’s Experts Panel. In the following years he primarily critiques articles (and also gets critiqued in a few attempts to publish more Smashing Magazine articles himself).
February 2010 Jens becomes one of the five website jurors of Design Made in Germany. In the course of the next years he does, with great pleasure, review a great many quite fine German websites.
October 2010 Jens becomes a vegetarian for the second time (after 1999), now for good. He deems the industrial breeding of animals torture, industrial killing barbaric, and the idea that men need to eat animals dated.
July 2011 Jens gets nominated “Developer of the Year 2011” by .net magazine. He loses to fellow Googler Paul Irish, who he then congratulates cordially in a company-internal email.
February 2012 Jens becomes a member of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and a year later of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). He joins and supports both organizations in the belief that more is necessary to regain, maintain, and extend our rights than onlooking, though he still owes the rights movement more tangible action.
August 2013 February 2015 Jens, for personal and professional reasons, quits Google and San Francisco and goes on his second, but now open-ended journey around the world. The journey leads from Central to South America, into the Middle East, then East and South Africa, to Asia and Australasia, and again via Asia back to Europe.
August 2013 After the (tiny) business is before the (tiny) business: Jens revives Meiert Web Development & Consulting and also founds Meiert Research & Development as an umbrella for his study and product development results.
October 2013 Cover: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer. Jens self-publishes his adventure book 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer. In it he presents a personal view on a host of activities and promotes an open mindset, because “if you’re open, your life will be more adventurous” (documented by more than 40 random certificates).
February 2015 Cover: The Little Book of HTML/CSS Frameworks. Jens and O’Reilly issue The Little Book of HTML/CSS Frameworks. The book reflects, in compressed form, Jens’s many years of experience architecting web frameworks, how to best develop, but also to use them.
June 2015 Cover: On Web Development. Jens can’t resist the urge to try that, too, and publishes the bulk of his web development and web design articles in book form: On Web Development gets released.
August 2015 Cover: Journey of J. Seeking some form of closure, Jens revives his 2013–2015 world travels in a book: Journey of J.—Around the World in 557 Days, 1,017 Photos, and 291 Personal Notes makes for a unique account of the impressions, experiences, and insights made on the road.
December 2015 Cover: The Little Book of HTML/CSS Coding Guidelines. Jens pours his experience working with and designing coding guidelines into another “little book,” one that like his treatise about web frameworks is published by O’Reilly. The Little Book of HTML/CSS Coding Guidelines explains the theory and practice of coding standards, with particular emphasis on Google’s rules for HTML and CSS code.
May 2016 Cover: How to Work on Oneself. Jens documents his belief in self-help by glossing over some basic aspects of the work one can do on oneself in another brief book: How to Work on Oneself.
July 2016 Another experiment, Jens launches a website about poetry; about haiku; about love haiku: Haiku Haiku Love. It’s an experiment insofar as Jens wanted to challenge himself as a writer, to add a story to his life that is markedly different from else he’s tried. Haiku Haiku Love now includes several hundred haiku and is set to culminate in a pretty romantic book.
September 2016 Cover: The Little Book of Website Quality Control. If there’s a particular thing to aim for when developing and maintaining websites, then it’s quality. What constitutes quality and how it’s measured and improved is something Jens covers in another (and, according to himself, perhaps worst) “Little Book” with O’Reilly: The Little Book of Website Quality Control.
March 2018 Jens is invited to host his own column for German tech publisher heise, “colspan.” There, he discusses modern web development trends, practices, and meta topics.
April 2018 Cover: CSS Optimization Basics. Jens tinkers with another short book—the unofficial fourth “Little Book”—and ends up publishing it himself based on an open source manuscript. The book goes over mindsets, methods, and resources for optimizing style sheets: CSS Optimization Basics.

Sometimes I’m also a bit overconfident. Alas, I don’t always know when.

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of February 21, 2018.

Jens is also available on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and XING.

Found a mistake? Email me, jens@meiert.com.

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Last update: April 13, 2018

“The end does not justify the means.”