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Cascading Style Sheets, Promise vs. Reality, and a Look to the Future : Comments

By Mark Newhouse

June 4, 2002



November 16, 2004 9:45 AM

CSS is ok for data rich WAP delivered or PDA ready sites but most sites do not require this at all, most sites are small with limited data delivered on old computers with crap internet connections and small screens.

Most clients desire not just imformation, but an attractive well designed, flexible and original site. CSS is hopelessly inflexible, which is why CSS designed websites all looking pretty much the same. I can instantly recognise a CSS driven site because they all have a similar layout (the only layout that works) and use the same limited tricks to make something look interesting (fancy bullets – oooh). It’s almost like all CSS sites are based around a single template from the w3c – very boring.

Old fashioned HTML is far more flexible and suitable for producing effective original design work. What happens in CSS if you need to have two similar elements to look slightly different? using CSS you have a complex two or three stage process across multiple files, then just pray it looks anything like similar across browsers. Instead of just making a small ammendment at the appropriate place, as with HTML.

CSS saves no time at all unless you are designing a data saturated multi-platform delivered site and you don’t really mind what it looks like – then it might be worth the greater development time.

Otherwise CSS just moves the complicated bits (the design) out of the HTML file into the style sheet. This separation of design and data makes editing and development of most sites far more complex, inflexible and unpredictable when developing the vast majority of small design-driven sites.

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