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Homage and Otherwise

February 22, 2006

I guess you know you’ve made it when someone…

  • Typo-squats one of your URLs. See: Notice the extra ‘d’. (Thanks Alan)
  • Builds a Windows app to address your complete and utter failure of an on-site navigation. (We all know by now why I can’t change the HTML on-site, right? Hence this kludge to make it easier to navigate.)

I’m more just surprised by the latter than anything, since no one wrote me. It’s not a terrible idea, and was already done twice prior by other sites. But I was forced to block one after the creator put up Google ads. Hey, if I’m not making a dime…

And to be completely fair, there are tons of great ideas people have spun off, from Gigastyle to CSS Zen Sentiero to Camaleon CSS. And the latest comes from Microsoft, no less, in the form of their Mix design contest. With direct credit too, thanks! (If you enter though, look out: they may just have got me to help judge…)

One thing I should take the opportunity to get out in the public, since I’ve said as much before in private emails — if you decide to create a similarly-themed project, I’d prefer it if you were to avoid ‘Zen’ and ‘Garden’ in the name. Get creative, brand it as its own thing. Cause if someone happens to stumble across ‘Javascript Zen Garden’ one day, they’re likely to assume the two are connected, right?

Not much I can do to stop anyone of course, since I have no trademark or any legal protection of the name (not that I’d want to go that route anyway). But, there’s enough mind share in the term ‘(technology abbreviation) Zen Garden’ at this point that I wouldn’t mind avoiding the potential confusion. It would certainly be nice. And I thank you!

shorty114 says:
February 22, 21h

You could make or something like that, with a browser of the CSS Zen Garden designs, similar to the WordPress Theme Browser ( That way, you could have an usable way to navigate the archives, without changing the base HTML and possibly breaking some styles.

Also, in the sidebar, the recent posts box has no bottom rounded corners. Just FYI (don’t know if this was intentional).

February 22, 21h

I’d be wary of any website that talked a lot about SEO and had price tags all over their site, though I’m interested what a Windows app for CSS Zen Garden look like (and why you’d need it).

The first one is just sad. I wonder how they came to decide on the letter ‘d’ and placing it as so.

February 22, 21h

Someone had suggested to me doing a “CSS Garden of Eden,” and I had to shoot that idea down right-quick. :)

February 22, 21h

You could call it Flattered Vigilance… although, anyone who seeks the “true path” of the CSSZenGarden is going to find the real site soon enough, so maybe it will broadcast the idea farther despite the greed.

My own little homage to the CSSZG was to create a “preferences” tab on my site where visitors can select from a variety of stylesheets. When I have the time and the inclination I go back and build new styles… it’s a LOT of fun plus it teaches me where my XHTML needs to be more robust! (Btw Dave, there’s a tip of the hat to you in my header poetry)

sosa says:
February 22, 21h

Ugh! I’m feeling agravated. I’ve just released that ZenGarage thing. I’ve emailed you months before asking if you’ve got a problem with tha name. Anyway, names can be changed at any time, just say the word.

You know we are nothing but humble fans.

Miko says:
February 22, 22h

I was just about to release Javascript Zend Garden, too! ;)

Dave S. says:
February 22, 22h

Sorry Armando, can’t remember the email. No worries though, I think the description page you’ve come up with credits the original well enough, and makes it relatively clear they’re unrelated. No need to change it now.

Jack says:
February 23, 00h

I have the overwhelming urge to register

February 23, 01h

So I guess Porn Zen Garden is out, then?

cam c. says:
February 23, 05h

I think Dave should also ask that any Buddhist temples with zen gardens refrain from allowing visitors to redesign them… also, if you ask me, from now on at restaurants, you should only be able to order one kind of dressing for your garden salad… :)

Seriously, it has to almost be a full time job keeping track of all the people misusing the Zen Garden, stealing designs, and trying to make a buck off of it!

February 23, 06h

Hmmmm, now, should I scratch my idea of a “Dave Zen Garden”?

February 23, 07h

Not to be forgotten is the CSS Trappist Monastery, which takes a more ascetic approach by only allowing changes to the CSS, and not the images (and only uses 12 very small images).

Marco says:
February 23, 08h

They say that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery ;-)

I see where you’re coming from, but what can you do? Look at it this way - you having changed the lives of so many others out there and you’ve made a bit of a difference in this world. Perhaps that will ease the pain a little bit :-)

February 23, 09h

It’s funny you should post this, as I’ve been searching for that Italian ‘zen garden’ site, as I’ve been told that one of my designs for the ‘real’ Zen Garden had been ripped off by someone.

Funnily enough, after looking through that Italian site, the only link not working is the ‘mondrian’ design. (Note that my 2 designs are ‘Zen as Mondriaan’ and ‘Red, Yellow & Blue by Mondriaan’)

Oh well - looks like it sorted itself out! (and excuse my rant)

Mark says:
February 23, 12h

Thats the reason wy i asked you first before i started Gigastyle.
And everybody knows, that you Dave have the original site, the best one, all others inculding mine are based on youre idea.
If someone in Belgium says Gigastyle they automaticly say Csszengarden because thats the original.

Dave S. says:
February 23, 13h

Maybe I should have clarified that I mainly meant, going forward, NEW sites should avoid the Zen Garden metaphor. What’s done is done, no issue there. Mark, Armando, we’re cool.

Like I said in the original post, if someone wants to do it ANYWAY, I have no way to stop that from happening. I’m just stating, so everyone knows, what I’d prefer to happen. That’s all.

February 25, 12h

I hate when sites like this: csszendgarden[dot]com are in search results, and the problem is that you can not distinguish between the real site(original) name and this one, is only this ‘d’ (or other letter), that’s because people are reading the title and the description, not too much the URL.

Kevin says:
February 26, 17h

Although now I’m struggling to find them, I know I’ve seen lots of csszengarden subdomains as well.

nicole says:
March 01, 11h

Here’s another site that’s been inspired by the CSS Zen Garden (and uses neither ‘zen’ nor ‘garden’ in the name!) – the CSS Table Gallery.

March 02, 14h

That is why I chose, but alas, the support is still missing.