I've just released an article at the RIA Zone titled CSS3: A solution for applications, or are we the boiling frogs?. The article is about CSS and HTML for applications and begins like this:
I've made countless web pages using HTML + CSS and have no complaints about the technological combination for Internet documents and pages. The rub comes when trying to make an application. Note the distinguishing factors. HTML + CSS is a horrid combination for making applications.
To be true, the HTML + CSS isn't truly the problem, the problem lies in inconsistent rendering by the clients (browsers). However, a large part of my job is making sure an application works, not debating with users which browser renders 'correctly'.
When building an HTML + CSS based application, there will be some unanticipated time required to track down and hack around a strange edge case or rendering bug . The time spent to track down the source of the error, which by the way only happens in IE version 6.0.23234234 and in Firefox 2.098435 and not Firefox 2.102309, is lost time. I've even spent 8 or 9 hours tracking down the source of a CSS related problem, googling around, reading blogs to find a solution and then testing all the various browsers using various user interaction permutations to verify the fix didn't break another client implementation. While spending this time was necessary for the success of the application, I would have preferred to spend that time towards building another useful feature for the users.
The article is a lot longer. Give it a read and let me know if I am off base.