The Netherlands and Belgium

This Friday I’m going on vacation for two weeks, leaving all the hard work on Etienne and Tristan’s shoulders. I hope they don’t mind. I’ll spend the first week in the Netherlands capital Amsterdam and the second in Belgium where I’ll visit both Bruges and Brussels.

“Isn’t that supposed to be a web-related blog?”

Well, I have special feelings for the Netherlands and Belgium and it’s not just about the architecture, culture and culinary pleasures. These countries are also the home of talented web, design and software professionals who account for a significant portion of who I follow on Twitter.

I thought today would be a good occasion to express my appreciation to these fine folks.

The Netherlands

Fingertips’s Thijs van der Vossen is my front-end hero. You can feel his incredible attention to design and implementation details by his recent work on the Greta Sans Type System Specimen App.

While I’m at it, the great Typotheque type foundry can’t be ignored. They have an impressive catalog of quality products, including some tour de force you wouldn’t have thought possible.

When it comes to cutting-edge CSS, I can’t help but think of Simurai first. Browse his lab and you’ll understand how far client-side technologies can go. His project The Letter-Heads is more that a year old, but I have yet to find some CSS thing that kicks more ass.

There’s also Peter Beverloo and his weekly updates on WebKit and Chromium development. These clear and concise posts are the only thing you need to stay aware of what’s new in your favorite rendering engine.

Last but not least, Peter-Paul Koch. You might not know him by his name, but I bet you’ve stumbled upon his legendary compatibility tables hundreds of times. If not, I wonder where you’ve been for the last decade…


The whole team behind the best collaboration app ever, Kickoff, is from Belgium. If you’re lucky enough to be a two or three people team, you can even enjoy it for free. Trust me, you won’t go back to Campfire and Basecamp.

I must admit I have a soft spot for their designer Benjamin De Cock. Pixel porn fans will enjoy his Dribbble shots a lot. He also pushes the boundaries of what interactions can be done without JavaScript in his playground.

MacRabbit develops two exquisite apps: Espresso the web editor, and their newborn Layer Cake for PSD exporting. The three of us at Heliom have once been hardcore Espresso users and Layer Cake has become a part of our workflow since its very launch.

Finally, if you thought you knew some bits about the Web, wait until you read Mathias Bynens’s writings. I’m deeply thankful for the many hours he spends vulgarizing specifications, encodings and the like.

Thanks for being so awesome, gentlemen.