Re: HTML & CSS

Subject: Re: HTML & CSS
From: Barry Campbell <barry -at- WEBVERANDA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 10:33:50 -0500

At 02:47 PM 12/7/98 +0100, John Cornellier wrote:

>Isn't CSS an idea whose time has come? Good DTP uses styles, and not
>character formatting, right?
>
>If it isn't being implemented, why not? Because it's too easy to create
>template docs in the HTML generator tools? Lack of support for CSS in HTML
>editors? People aren't willing to invest the time in the long-term benefits
>of CSS in a fast-changing environment? Has anyone considered CSS and opted
>not to implement?

(raising hand) Right here. We've experimented a little with CSS
on our intranet, but we are *not* using CSS on our external site
and have no plans to do so.

Here's why:

(1) Neither Netscape nor Microsoft currently offers anything resembling
a complete CSS implementation, even in their most recent browsers--
and at least 40% of our site's audience doesn't use a 4.0 browser.

(2) What Netscape and Microsoft *do* implement, they often implement
differently.

(3) To use CSS effectively, currently you must either

(a) limit yourself to the subset of CSS that Netscape and Microsoft's
CSS-aware browsers (IE 3.0, 4.0, Netscape 4.x) can handle and treat
similarly--hardly worth the bother--

OR

(b) develop and maintain two completely separate page sets, with a
script to check which browser you're running on and switch
accordingly. What a nightmare.

In short:

CSS is a good idea in theory; so far, implementation has been terrible,
because it is deeply inconsistent from browser to browser.

For good information on the current state of CSS, check out Webmonkey's
CSS tutorials:


http://www.hotwired.com/webmonkey/stylesheets/?tw=stylesheets

Once you read up on CSS inconsistencies, if you'd like to get *really*
depressed about cross-platform development, start reading up on the
differences in the Document Object Model between browsers.

(heavy sigh)


--
Barry Campbell | barry -at- webveranda -dot- com
Web Architect | (list/personal mail)
Summit Systems, Inc. | bcampbel -at- summithq -dot- com
22 Cortlandt Street | (business mail)
New York, NY 10007 | http://www.summithq.com

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