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Re: [css-d] An Outsider's View

Sent by Ben Henick on 29 January 2002 21:09

On Tue, 29 Jan 2002, Paul Davidson wrote:

> Hello. This appears to be a uniquely thoughtful list. I thought I might
> provide a non-developers view (although hesitantly). Consider me one of
> those decision makers that makes all of you pull your hair out.

Noooo!  Eric mentioned earlier today that this list is all about practical 
applications of CSS.

Whether we like it or not, horror stories from the field are useful 

However, I cannot stay so sanguine through the entirety of this reply.

> Our company, during a recent platform switch for our private website,
> attempted the cookie-cutter, 3 column layout in CSS. After 2 weeks of

...Which was chosen, I hope, with your specific needs in mind.

> banging our heads against the wall to get Mac IE to match Windows IE (The

This concerns me, to a point.  If we're talking about IE5/Mac and Windows 
6, the problems are minimal as long as you don't start on the funky stuff 
(like offscreen positioning and the display attributes).

Getting anything to behave (in terms of presentation) in any other browser 
like it does in IE5/Win is a waste of time.  Which sucks, because of that 
particular browser's market share (which is well in excess of 50% of all 

Of course, the goal of getting the presentation to look IDENTICAL in EVERY 
browser is misguided.  This isn't like the period circa 1997, when you 
either used Netscape or were forced to use something else.

> latest Netscape seemed to get it right all of the time), we decided to save

...Because Gecko does a good job of supporting standards, and was 
developed to behave more-or-less identically across platforms.

> everyone the grief and just go tables. We are using stylesheets for
> formatting, just not layout.

On more reflection, I see where you're going with this, and have faced 
similar difficulties (tho' in my case it has more to do with DHTML than 
with CSS alone).

I wish I could say "you didn't try hard enough" but I for one know better 
than that.  There pare probably lots of people on this list who've felt 
your pain.

> Were we short-sided? I think not. I wanted to spend more time working on the
> site design, architecture, and content. Also, a corporation cannot allow
> their site to look perfect in 70% of browsers, and broken in 30% of
> browsers. And god help the person whose IT department still forces them to
> use Netscape 4.7. 

...But ultimately this points back to the idea that getting your site to 
look IDENTICAL in EVERY browser can be filed under "shooting off one's 
nose to spite the face."

> Maybe this is why we see way too many poorly designed flash sites. They used
> up half of their cycle trying to tweak code for CSS.

Nah.  It's a tempting thought, but I suspect instead that Flash sites are 
often intended to be Flash sites from the get-go.

> I intend to follow CSS development closely, but for now, the table site
> looks great across all browsers.

Great, or identical?

Ben Henick
Web Author At-Large              Managing Editor
[EMAIL-REMOVED]                  [EMAIL-REMOVED]
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?"
"I think so, Brain, but... (snort) no, no, it's too stupid."
"We will disguise ourselves as a cow."
"Oh!" (giggles) "That was it exactly!"
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