Zorn also created cross-browser drag and drop and tooltip libraries as well, and also experimented with a cross browser image rotation library. These may not seem like huge accomplishments now (there are so many libraries today that do these tasks), but remember, this was in 2002, way before CSS3 and HTML5! The W3C DOM was not implemented in all browsers (remember
Years later when I was writing my article on Cross-Browser HTML5 Drag and Drop, I thought of using Zorn’s drag and drop library to build a decent polyfill for Opera (which at the time didn’t support it) but his website had disappeared. I did some digging and found out about his untimely passing. I was fortunate to get in touch of a friend of his who was good enough to pass my condolences from me to his family, including a note expressing how much I respected Walter’s work. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who did so — Zorn’s friends and family brought walterzorn.de back on-line and dedicated it to his memory.
According to one of his friends, Walter was apparently “mad-keen” about long-distance cycling and rode all over Europe. He was especially interested in recumbent bikes that he built and designed himself, and won pretty much all HPV (human powered vehicle) contests available to him in Europe. However, the most interesting thing I found out about Walter was that before 2000, Walter never knew how to use a computer!
I never knew the man (my only contact with him was a few emails back-and-forth thanking him for his libraries), but his work inspired me and helped shape the kind of developer I am today. I don’t think I would have done any of the research of created any of the libraries that are on this blog without his example, and I wonder sometimes what kind of voodoo he would have been able to cook up with today’s front-end technologies.