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What a debacle CSS layouts can create

 
 
Talc Ta Matt
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      07-31-2003

I'd like each of your feelings as to why such sites as Yahoo, CNN, CNet,
Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc... have chosen not to use CSS.

I think the goal of any designer is to make your site as close to those at the
top as possible. If CSS isn't good enough for them, then why is it good enough
for those under them?

Has anyone here taken the time to see what a complicated layout done with CSS
looks like in older browsers? Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't degrade
nicely at all. The layout is lost, and the page is a complete and utter mess.

If this was the original TABLE layout...

A
B C

.... that layout will hold true in any browser.

If looked at in an older browser with a CSS layout, it'll appear stacked like
this...

A
B
C

This is absolutely unacceptable unless your page is bare bones simple.

I have a feeling this is why the big players online avoid CSS layouts like the
plague.

 
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Mark Parnell
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      07-31-2003
Talc Ta Matt wrote:
> I'd like each of your feelings as to why such sites as Yahoo, CNN,
> CNet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc... have chosen not to use CSS.
>
> I think the goal of any designer is to make your site as close to
> those at the top as possible.


Surely the goal of any designer is to make their site better than any other,
make it unique? Not the same as everyone else. Otherwise why would anyone
come to you instead of your competitors? Of course it still has to be
usable...

> If CSS isn't good enough for them, then
> why is it good enough for those under them?
>


Because we know better

> Has anyone here taken the time to see what a complicated layout done
> with CSS looks like in older browsers? Contrary to popular belief, it
> doesn't degrade nicely at all. The layout is lost, and the page is a
> complete and utter mess.
>


I don't know about an utter mess. It isn't as nice as the CSS layout,
obviously. But the content is accessible, which is the important thing.
People who use old browsers are by now used to seeing relatively plain
pages.

> If this was the original TABLE layout...
>
> A
> B C
>
> ... that layout will hold true in any browser.
>


_Most_ _visual_ browsers, perhaps. At least with CSS, the content is still
accessible. Browsers that don't render tables properly tend to *really*
screw them up. So the user doesn't get any content either.

> If looked at in an older browser with a CSS layout, it'll appear
> stacked like this...
>
> A
> B
> C
>


Yes.

> This is absolutely unacceptable unless your page is bare bones simple.
>


Why is it "absolutely unacceptable"? The user can still access your
content. It isn't ideal, no. But users of legacy browsers are becoming
less and less common. Mostly just universities and the like.

> I have a feeling this is why the big players online avoid CSS layouts
> like the plague.


No, it is because redoing a site that large is a huge task, and they
couldn't be bothered. They will do it eventually.

--

Mark Parnell
http://www.clarkecomputers.com.au


 
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Davmagic com
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      07-31-2003
>From: http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) (Talc*Ta*Matt)
>I'd like each of your feelings as to why
>such sites as Yahoo, CNN, CNet,
>Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc... have
>chosen not to use CSS.
>I think the goal of any designer is to make
>your site as close to those at the top as
>possible. If CSS isn't good enough for
>them, then why is it good enough for
>those under them?


I agree......... my feelings exactly! All this "advice" from the
regulars and pros here, but in the REAL World, CSS is not the currently
accepted way for page layout... probably for most of the reasons that
you pointed out! (watch em cut me up for saying this).....

Web Design-Magic-Painting-Junking-Games
INFO 2000 For You
http://www.davmagic.com
See how your webpages look on a MSN-TV Browser:
Download it here: http://developer.msntv.com/Tools/msntvvwr.asp

 
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Talc Ta Matt
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      07-31-2003
>Because we know better

Then I suggest you submit your resume to any of the companies I mentioned with
a nice letter explaining how badly their current design team sucks. I'm sure
they'll hire you right away as the lead web developer.

>No, it is because redoing a site that large is a huge task, and they
>couldn't be bothered. They will do it eventually.


Let's take MS for instance. Going by your theory, they wouldn't have redone
Win98 and put out WinXP because of what a huge task it was.

Sorry, I don't buy it.

There are clear downsides of CSS, and the only reason the regulars here
accepted CSS layouts is because the almighty W3C said to (and MS basically
kicked them in the crotch years ago). Try running some popular mainstream sites
through their validator. See how much the big players online care about the
W3C. Fact is, the W3C and that useless validator they've got is a lame newbie
tool.

 
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Chris Morris
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      07-31-2003
(E-Mail Removed) (Talc Ta Matt) writes:
> >Because we know better

>
> Then I suggest you submit your resume to any of the companies I
> mentioned with a nice letter explaining how badly their current
> design team sucks. I'm sure they'll hire you right away as the lead
> web developer.


You are aware that some of the 'regulars' do work in professional web
design, aren't you?

> >No, it is because redoing a site that large is a huge task, and they
> >couldn't be bothered. They will do it eventually.

>
> Let's take MS for instance. Going by your theory, they wouldn't have redone
> Win98 and put out WinXP because of what a huge task it was.


Except that MS licensing arrangements mean that it's very easy for
them to "make money fast" by releasing new versions. Plus, Microsoft
is a *software* company, it releases software. It's not a web
development firm, so it's got limited resources (well okay, maybe not
that limited) for the web. If your business isn't making websites
there's always higher priorities than entirely re-doing one that's
approximately working.

> There are clear downsides of CSS


Go on. Explain them.

> , and the only reason the regulars here
> accepted CSS layouts is because the almighty W3C said to


Or perhaps because they're easier to code and much easier to maintain,
and can be adapted to different browsing situations (@media) without
having to do unreliable browser detection.

> See how much the big players online care about the
> W3C.


http://www.opera.com/ validates and is laid out as CSS. I don't know
if you count them as big or not. No doubt other people know of other
examples, I didn't look too hard.

(BTW, CSS for layout and validation are separate, though valid HTML
gives more reliable CSS)

--
Chris
 
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Isofarro
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      07-31-2003
Talc Ta Matt wrote:

> If this was the original TABLE layout...
>
> A
> B C
>
> ... that layout will hold true in any browser.


This is quite clearly false.


--
Iso.
FAQs: http://html-faq.com http://alt-html.org http://allmyfaqs.com/
Recommended Hosting: http://www.affordablehost.com/
Web Standards: http://www.webstandards.org/
 
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Isofarro
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      07-31-2003
Chris Morris wrote:

> http://www.opera.com/ validates and is laid out as CSS. I don't know
> if you count them as big or not. No doubt other people know of other
> examples, I didn't look too hard.


http://www.wired.com/
http://jscript.dk/lycos/2/
http://www.inc.com/home/
http://www.pga.com/openchampionship/
http://www.quark.com/
http://www.cinnamon.nl/
http://6newslawrence.com/weather/
http://www.homelesspixel.de/remix/




--
Iso.
FAQs: http://html-faq.com http://alt-html.org http://allmyfaqs.com/
Recommended Hosting: http://www.affordablehost.com/
Web Standards: http://www.webstandards.org/
 
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Mark Parnell
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      07-31-2003
Talc Ta Matt wrote:
>> Because we know better

>
> Then I suggest you submit your resume to any of the companies I
> mentioned with a nice letter explaining how badly their current
> design team sucks. I'm sure they'll hire you right away as the lead
> web developer.
>


Didn't you notice the smiley? Here's another, just to be sure.

>> No, it is because redoing a site that large is a huge task, and they
>> couldn't be bothered. They will do it eventually.

>
> Let's take MS for instance. Going by your theory, they wouldn't have
> redone Win98 and put out WinXP because of what a huge task it was.
>


That's a completely different situation - they *sell* Windows. Every time
they make a new version and change everything, they get lots of money for
it. People wouldn't pay them for a new version of their web site.

> Sorry, I don't buy it.


That's the point

>
> There are clear downsides of CSS


Which are?

> , and the only reason the regulars
> here accepted CSS layouts is because the almighty W3C said to


No, it is because they are cleaner, easier to maintain, degrade more
gracefully...

> (and MS
> basically kicked them in the crotch years ago). Try running some
> popular mainstream sites through their validator. See how much the
> big players online care about the W3C. Fact is, the W3C and that
> useless validator they've got is a lame newbie tool.


Most newbies don't even know about the W3C or validation. So it is hardly a
"newbie tool", let alone a lame one.

--

Mark Parnell
http://www.clarkecomputers.com.au


 
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dBeav
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      07-31-2003
--- snicker ---


dBeav

Jerry Muelver <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> (E-Mail Removed) (Talc Ta Matt) wrote in message

news:<(E-Mail Removed)>...
> ...
> > Has anyone here taken the time to see what a complicated layout done

with CSS
> > looks like in older browsers? Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't

degrade
> > nicely at all. The layout is lost, and the page is a complete and utter

mess.
> >

>
> That's only a minor irritation, compared to the travesty of High
> Definition TV. Have you ever played that stuff on an FM radio? It's
> awful! Unless the dialog is actually describing the scene, you don't
> have a clue what's going on.
>
> And play DVD on a standard CDROM drive? Fuh-gedda-bout-it! Not only
> that, I have a devil of a time just getting CDs to play on my Hi-Fi
> turntable at all. You can hardly keep the needle in those teeny-tiny
> little grooves. Even when you do, let me tell you the sound isn't all
> that great no matter what they say about "digital mastering".
>
> And frozen TV dinners! Hah! Don't even get me started on THOSE! You
> need a hacksaw to cut through that frozen chicken. And you'd think
> they would at least put the potatoes and gravy on a popsicle stick so
> you could get a handle on the stuff.
>
> What are people THINKING (or DRINKING?!) when they come up with this
> stuff, anyway?
>
> ---- jerry



 
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Hieronymus
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      08-01-2003
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) (Talc Ta Matt) wrote:

> I'd like each of your feelings as to why such sites as Yahoo, CNN, CNet,
> Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc... have chosen not to use CSS.


Because they are building on old 4.x browser mark-up templates?
Migrating a site such as Yahoo, Apple or MS to a completely other
template system is a huge task.

Maybe other high-traffic site will follow the example set by Wired, but
I suspect the 'standards' turn-around will not start at business
websites, but at governmental and NGO websites, as they are more
susceptible to public pressure. Most obvious sign in casu is the
legislation in the US forcing local, state and national governments to
employ standards and WAI guidelines on their sites. The EU is heading in
the same direction.

> I think the goal of any designer is to make your site as close to those at the
> top as possible.


If you define your goals only by comparison to others, you are not much
of a designer. Besides, copy & improve is a worn-out "eighties Japan"
way of going about design. You get much, much further by defining your
own set of goals based on a complete analysis of internal demands,
competition and the overall public environment.

> If CSS isn't good enough for them, then why is it good enough
> for those under them?


CSS isn't about 'good enough'. It is about the approach you wish to use
while designing a site.

> Has anyone here taken the time to see what a complicated layout done with CSS
> looks like in older browsers? Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't degrade
> nicely at all. The layout is lost, and the page is a complete and utter mess.


How do you define 'graceful degradation'? Afaik, the essence is that all
content is accessible to everyone, while _able_ User Agents get the full
enjoyment of layout, color use, hovers and images.

[example of fixed table thinking vs. flexible CSS thinking]

> I have a feeling this is why the big players online avoid CSS layouts like the
> plague.


I have a feeling that the rigid mindset of these 'big' players prevent
them from seeing the advantages of flexible layouts over ancient
tablelayouts.


Hieronymus

--
Keep it simple
 
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