Archive for November, 2007

CSS, the Emperor’s New Clothes

Monday, November 5th, 2007

First let me be the first to say that I am neither qualified, nor am I program-savvy enough to make general sweeping slams on an entire movement. That being said, I’d like to offer up my own opinion on CSS, in part to vent my frustrations and in part that maybe somebody can enlighten me on just why an entire community is so bent on making this jump to an “all CSS, all the time” world.

I use CSS. I actually like CSS. Suffice it to say, I like it for some things. It, like many tools has its purpose and when used in moderation can be an ease to the sometimes arduous task that is web site editing. However, its short comings can be a bit difficult to deal with. Think about it. If I was selling a new scripting language to you programmers out there and told you all the great things it could do, and how easy it would be to make global changes to your web application, you’d probably say “sign me up”. Then I told you that, it didn’t work in all browsers, and in fact the most popular browser had… Well, problems handling it at all. You might even say “well I’m sure they will have patches” or even “You can work around it, right”. But then I told you, that even after the Grand Poobah of all the web, validates your scripting, it still isn’t going to work. And that the only way you could make it “kinda work” is to hack away at it, until you get something you can live with, or you’re just to tired to care about the quirks anymore. Does that sound like a language you’d like to use? Further more, does that sound like something you’d blindly propagate the use of, just because someone else says it’s awesome?

Now, I know right now, a lot of you are spinning out of control and yelling at your monitors, and that’s ok. I’m willing to accept the fact that I could be totally misunderstanding the powers of CSS. Perhaps I’m expecting too much? Or maybe I’m just not paying close enough attention? (Even after spending hours and hours on CSS forums and CSS sites and listening to very intelligent men and women spew the praises and powers of CSS.) But maybe, just maybe, if you really think about it, something so powerful yet so incompatible between browsers even after the W3C says it’s valid, may need a second look.

It’s just a thought…