HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
claims made are presented here with a bit of discussion about why readers should avoid a
snap judgment about the power of CSS. However, like many things in the world, there is
more than one interpretation, so if this section provokes you to think about both sides, the
point has been successfully made regardless of what your ultimate point of view is.
Myth: Standards Remove Variability
A number of Web professionals pine for some future day when all browsers support W3C
Web standards equally. While it may sound cynical, their wait is likely a long one at the
very best. Even in the case of a widely agreed upon specification, there is always room for
interpretation by implementers. A particular property may have some degree of unclarity in
the extent of its possible usage. Even if it were not the case, once properties are used
together, some unaddressed issues may emerge. It is also quite possible that even with a
good specification, a particular standard feature is not implemented correctly by a browser.
Browser bugs will still exist even in a strict-standards world. It is even more likely that
innovation will continue to occur given market pressures to gain user and developer loyalty,
and variability will continue regardless of specification quality.
Myth: CSS Layouts Are Easier Than Markup Layouts
When CSS examples are simple, accomplishing basic layout tasks looks far easier than in
HTML. However, in practice, some layouts are quite hard to execute, particularly in light of
browser problems. This is not to say you won't be able to execute a desired design—you
will, and likely more. However, the little tricks and workarounds will lead some designers
to conclude that CSS doesn't seem worth it. The author doesn't agree and instead thinks
that this is more likely the case of dealing with the devil you know versus the devil you
don't. However, it is also likely that there is little truth to the idea that CSS is fundamentally
easier than markup-based layout. Likely, they are equally challenging in different ways and
in different circumstances.
Misconception: Some Browser Vendors Aim for Standards, Some Don't
Regardless of your particular browser allegiance, the stark reality is that proprietary
features and variability is the name of the game for all browser vendors. All vendors want
to innovate, and even those who vocally promote the cause of standards have numerous
features that other browser vendors may lack. This is not some malicious intent by any
vendor to co-opt the Web standards process, but simply the market reality of trying to
attract Web developers to their platform or retain those already using it. Consider a world
with perfect standardization of implementation; what would that leave browser vendors to
innovate with? If your answer is end-user features, consider that very often such end-user
features have to be specified in markup, style, or script. With well over a decade already of
waiting for the dust to settle in markup and style specifications, the trends simply just don't
support the belief.
Myth: Using CSS Always Results in Download-Friendly Web Pages
While it is certainly true that table-laden Web pages can get quite bulky and CSS rules can
describe such layouts more succinctly, this simply isn't always the case, particularly given
the way that CSS is often employed by Web professionals. Quite often, <table> , <tr> , and
<td> tags are simply replaced with nested <div> tags, so the tableless design becomes
a <div> -laden design. Add to this excessive use of long class names and id names,
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