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Re: [css-d] What happened to design?

Sent by Andy McNabb on 25 January 2002 23:11

> From: Ben Henick [EMAIL-REMOVED]>
> Subject: Re: [css-d] What happened to design?
> Except for one thing:  In theory at least, CSS cuts down the need for
> heavy-duty slicing.  Where before you'd do a huge table slice and swap out
> the images you needed, you can assign the whole image to a map, and drop a
> positioned image where the desired rollover occurs... provided you write
> your JavaScript to compensate for the implicit mouseout.
> This approach is much more accessible, too.
That works for just graphics, but it becomes much more complicated when
combining text and graphics around or on top of eachother.  Take for example
using a simple rectangle with rounded corners as a backdrop to a paragraph
of text.  It's not easy to accomplish with CSS & without tables and still
allow the paragraph to flow as the text size and/or window size changes.
Rollovers and all-graphic areas of a page are easy to deal with in CSS as
are all or mostly test areas.  The problem arises when they're together or
> Granted, CSS isn't too grid-friendly... where tables obviate the need to
> enforce a grid altogether.
> In fact, a mechanism for defining a grid (to be used by devices that can
> draw it, of course) is the one thing I'd like to see added to a future CSS
> spec above and beyond all else.

I guess it is and it isn't.  As Eric mentioned, CSS is all about rectangles,
which kind of implies a grid-like concept.  I do agree that a grid-defining
mechanism would be very helpful.

I'd personally like to see CSS eventually evolve into sort of a "web
postscript" with virtually unlimited values for a host of CSS properties.
Right now, there is a limited number of things you can do with your basic
block-level element: Change the background color, the size of the block,
alter the thickeness & color of the borders.  You have a pitiful few choices
for defining the border type (dashed, solid, etc).  In my world, you'd be
able to completely define the shape and appearance of any block-level
element with CSS in any way you could imagine - kind of like you can do with
objects in drawing programs (hence the postscript reference).  Perhaps this
is in fact the ultimate goal of the CSS guru's - I don't follow the
development at all, so I don't know - but I sure hope so.

<more snippage>
> That's part of it, though I think you might be missing the point.
> There are a hard core of devoted Web technologists who know what CSS can
> do if given the chance, and want to learn more about it.  Thus, this list.
> But when you compare that to the *population* of people developing for the
> Web, I can't help but think that the majority are utterly in the dark,
> constrained by their tools and bosses/clients who say "I don't care how
> you do it, just get it done."  And because CSS implementation is such a
> minefield (f--- you very much, Marc and Lou) even the most thoughtful
> developer will look at his/her deadlines and stick to what they know.

You're right about that - the tools still have to catch up, and people are
loath to learn new technology they don't consider critical.

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