Short Bio

Nicholas C. Zakas is a front-end engineer, author, and speaker. He currently works at Box making the web application awesome. Prior to that, he worked at Yahoo! for almost five years, where he was front-end tech lead for the Yahoo! homepage and a contributor to the YUI library. He is the author of Maintainable JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2012), Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox, 2012), High Performance JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2010), and Professional Ajax (Wrox, 2007). Nicholas is a strong advocate for development best practices including progressive enhancement, accessibility, performance, scalability, and maintainability. He blogs regularly at and can be found on Twitter via @slicknet.

Longer Bio

Nicholas C. Zakas is a web software engineer who specializes in user interface design and implementation for web applications using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. He spent nearly five years at Yahoo! in various roles, including principal front end engineer for the Yahoo! homepage and contributor to the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) library, having written the Cookie Utility, Profiler, and YUI Test.


Nicholas is the author of Maintainable JavaScript, Professional JavaScript for Web Developers and High Performance JavaScript, a co-author on Professional Ajax, and a contributor to Even Faster Web Sites. He has also written several online articles for A List Apart, WebReference, Sitepoint, and the YUI Blog.


Nicholas regularly gives talks about web development, JavaScript, and best practices. He has given talks at companies such as Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Google, Netflix, NASA, and PayPal, and conferences such as the Ajax Experience, the Rich Web Experience, and Velocity.

Standards Involvement

Nicholas has been vocal with standards bodies about what he believes. He this listed in the acknowledgments section of HTML5 for his work on defining the behavior of empty string URLs in HTML (set of changes to HTML5) that were made in response to the problems outlined in his post, Empty image src can destroy your site. Nicholas followed up with browser vendors to ensure that the behavior was changed to match the spec.

Nicholas is listed in the acknowledgments section of CSS Media Queries Level 4 for the inclusion of his proposal for a way to detect if a browser has JavaScript enabled using media queries.

Nicholas was also invited to participate in a roundtable discussion hosted at Google around the ECMAScript Internationization effort. He was invited based on feedback provided to individual group members, and argued (unsuccessfully) for a more sane API design. He still hopes that his feedback and recommendations didn’t fall on deaf ears.

He is also listed in the acknowledgments section of the Selectors API, but has no idea why.


  • JavaScript
  • Web application performance
  • Web accessibility
  • Software architecture
  • Test-driven development
  • Development best practices

What Others Say

“…there are a lot of people who are really awesome JavaScript developers but few, in my opinion, who have the experience in a large-scale environment. Nicholas has that, as the principal front-end engineer for Yahoo! and that’s knowledge worth nabbing. And if you’ve watched his presentations, you know he can teach.” – Rey Bango

“[I imagined] that I was at university and that Douglas Crockford was the insanely popular genius professor that showed up late for lectures, and then either spoke too fast or else mumbled a lot, and then locked himself in his office refusing to answer the door during office hours while he worked on his Next Big Thing that would make everyone oooh and aaah and validate his brilliance. Meanwhile, in that same imaginary university, Nicholas Zakas was the graduate student that served as the TA to that class–and he happened to be equally brilliant and super-accessible and willing to take the time out to explain it all in a way that was thorough and comprehensible.” – Rob Friesel Jr.


I generally don’t respond to correspondence from recruiters, especially if they’re also asking me if I know anyone else to fill a particular role. If your company is interested in me, I expect to hear from someone other than a recruiter: the hiring manager, the director of engineering, the CTO, or the CEO. Even then, please be sure you know who I am and what I do before contacting me. There’s a lot of information on this site, use it wisely!

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