On CSS, HTML and Boiling Frogs

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.

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2/22/08 10:06 AM # Posted By Joe Rinehart

Right the frick on man. For web pages, CSS is a tolerable (but painful) thing to deal with. For apps, it's just unacceptable, especially combined with the limitations and development paradigm for JavaScript.

View source on www.firemoss.com, and you'll see this comment:

<!-- Sorry CSS folks. I'm a developer, not a hack-css-for-every-browser person. Viva la Flex. -->

2/22/08 10:45 AM # Posted By Larry C. Lyons

What I ended up doing is building 3 basic css/xhtml templates that I've tested multiple times against all major browers and last 2 versions of each. Then in terms of the template look and feel details, its just a matter of styling. That way I pay more attention to the app development and not user interface development.

What I have found most useful are the Dan Zeldman (Designing with Web Standards) and the Eric Meyers (Eric Meyers on CSS and More Eric Meyers on CSS) books and the CSS-discuss mailing list.

2/22/08 7:09 PM # Posted By Matt Williams

Sorry, I don't have time to read the full article. I spent too much of my day trying to figure out how to make IE 6 stop caching a jquery cluetip pop-up. Oh, and, yes, an older version of IE 6 didn't have the problem, but a newer IE 6 did.

2/22/08 7:53 PM # Posted By TJ Downes

Flex, FTW

5/3/08 11:21 AM # Posted By sezerbiyam

CSS "Cascading Style Sheets" LessoNs - WeB DesigN LessoN - - Web site :

5/19/08 8:47 AM # Posted By xxcemil

HI i need your help i really want to create my own website/web page but i dont know how to go about doing it so can you please help me out

6/11/08 6:24 AM # Posted By ocaeb

very intresting post!

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