When we tell the story of how the web is advanced, we encounter a lot of personalities — passionate advocates of the open web, who have been doing needle-moving things since the fractious era of the (first) browser wars. Tantek Çelik is one such personality, and I’m pleased to say that he’s going to be working with Mozilla as a consultant for a few months to help us out with important projects in the CSS and identity space. Both are his sweet spots. Long-time Mac users will recall with fondness IE 5 for Mac, which Tantek was responsible for. At the time, it pushed the CSS envelope even further than IE on Windows did (making Tantek our favorite renegade Microsoft engineer). He’s also the progenitor of the CSS Box Model Hack, former CTO of Technorati, as well as one of the forces behind microformats.org.

Tantek and I first met as competitors in 2002 at an event called Meet the Makers (organized by Jason Calacanis and Brian Alvey), where he was the IE guy and I was the Netscape guy. Along with Doug Bowman (who had just redesigned the Wired news site with pure CSS), we were on a panel at that event discussing web standards with a bunch of web developers. And while at that time we each worked for organizations whose fierce competition characterized the early evolution of the web (*sigh with Netscape moving from underdog to extinction), I was struck by how motivated Tantek was to get standards right.

It is remarkable what the passage of time can do. Not only are we furthering common goals for the betterment of the web, as we have in the past, but now we’re both working in various capacities for Mozilla. Tantek will help us out with the CSS3 Flex Box Model, figuring out what the right thing to do with respect to stylable HTML5 form controls are, and help us with fundamental questions of identity and the open social web in connection with the account manager initiative in Firefox.

Update 1: here’s a bit on C|Net about Mozilla working with Tantek.

Update 2: here’s a Belorussian translation of this blog post.

 

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