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Dori Smith

— Wikipedian Female —
NameDori Smith
BornLos Angeles, California
Country United States
Current locationHealdsburg, California
Time zonePacific Time Zone
Height5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Blood typeAB+
Personality typeINTJ
Family and friends
Marital statusMarried
Education and employment
OccupationFreelance writer and programmer
High schoolSouth High
UniversityUC Irvine
Hobbies, favourites and beliefs
BooksJavaScript: Visual QuickStart Guide, Dreamweaver: Visual QuickStart Guide
Contact info
Account statistics
Joined22 September 2005
(13 years, 4 months and 29 days)
Edit countContributions
PermissionsReviewer, Rollbacker
js-5This user is a professional JavaScript programmer.
HTML-5This user is a professional HTML user.
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Like a lot of other people on the Web, I started off programming in high school. Unlike a lot of other people on the Web, that was in 1977, before most of them were born.

I learned BASIC on a machine that looked like a typewriter, which was connected via an incredibly slow line to a mainframe several miles away. I found that programming came easily to me and when I realized that I could get paid good money for solving puzzles, a light went on and I said, "This is for me!"

So far as web programming goes, I was mostly in the right place at the right time. I first got online in the early 1990s, as was normal for a computer geek. In the mid-'90s Java and JavaScript came along and they just looked really, really easy to someone who had been programming as long as I had. At that same point I was completely fed up with my dead-end mainframe programming job and was looking for something different, so I jumped ship in 1996 and taught myself rudimentary HTML, Java, and JavaScript.

What I found was that what came so easily to me wasn't quite so easy to non-programmers, and I started teaching classes. I then realized that understanding concepts and being able to explain those same concepts to non-technical people are two very different beasts and that while lots of people can do the former, not so many can do the latter. The same light that had gone on in 1977 went on again in 1997 and I switched gears and changed over to primarily write and teach about web programming.

In 1997, I co-wrote JavaScript for the WWW: Visual QuickStart Guide, and in 1998 I wrote Java for the WWW: Visual QuickStart Guide. By late 1998, the idiot web design firm I was working for pissed me off one too many times, and I realized that I was making more in my evening and weekend hours writing than I was in my full time gig. I left there in October 1998, and I've been (more or less) self-employed ever since.

Since then, I've co-authored Dreamweaver CC: Visual QuickStart Guide (Peachpit Press, 2013) and Mac OS X Unwired (O'Reilly Media, 2004). The current edition of my Java book is the 2nd (Peachpit Press, 2002) and the current edition of our JavaScript book (now titled JavaScript: Visual QuickStart Guide) is the 8th (Peachpit Press, 2011). Along the way, we also wrote Styling Web Pages with CSS: Visual QuickProject Guide (Peachpit Press, 2009).

I've taught and spoken at a number of conferences (among them: Macworld Expo,, O'Reilly's OS X Conferences, SxSW, ADHOC, Geek Cruises, and Thunder Lizard) and written for a few magazines, both online and print. For some reason, any magazine that has named me a contributing editor has shortly followed that by going under (NetProfessional and, RIP), so now I stick to freelance work for folks I like.

I'm also List Mom and publisher of the Wise-Women's Web Community, a thriving list of several hundred web designers and developers (guys are welcome too, btw).

In my free time, I goof off by adding to my weblog, Backup Brain, which is where I put the writing that no one will pay me for.

According to Wikipedia's own guidelines, I qualify as someone who should have an entry (given a couple of best-selling books), but I don't (and do not want one). On the other hand, after more looking around, I was stunned by the number of topics (mostly people) that don't have WP articles; enough so that I started a list. I would be happier if that list was shorter.

I live in Healdsburg, California, which is why I keep a close eye on Healdsburg and its associated pages.