Håkon Wium Lie, the original proposer of CSS, answers questions from Slashdotters about the origins of the language, why it’s not progressing as fast as web designers would like, and why he lies about the pronunciation of his first name.

If you have even a passing interest in CSS, this is a good read. Of particular interest is the answer to the question:

> by Dolda2000

> If you were allowed (perhaps by court order, which wouldn’t be
> unthinkable) to force Microsoft to do one (1) change in Internet
> Explorer, what would that be?
I would force them to support one (1) single web page before shipping IE7, namely Acid2. By using a tiny amount of resources to get Acid2 right, Microsoft can save web designers and users endless amounts of frustration in the future. It would also be an honorable thing to do.

However, in answer to another question further down, he tells us why this dream scenario will never happen:

It’s quite clear that Microsoft has the resources and talent to support CSS2 fully in IE and that plenty of people have reminded them why this is important. So, why don’t they do it? The fundamental reason, I believe, is that standards don’t benefit monopolists. Accepted, well-functioning, standards lower the barrier of entry to a market, and is therefore a threat to a monopolist.

From that perspective, it makes sense to leave CSS2 half-implemented. You can claim support (and many journalists will believe you), and you also ensure that no-one can use the unimplemented (or worse: buggily implemented) features of the standard. The only way to change the equation is to remind Microsoft how embarrassing it is to offer a sub-standard browser. And to use better browsers.

So there you have it. IE7 might help a little – and frankly it would be a relief just to be able to use the years-old child and attribute selectors, even if we have to wait a few more years before IE7’s penetration is such before it’s safe – but IE as a browser is going to drag its feet because MS doesn’t want the web to compete with Windows as a platform. So we as web developers must continue to use ASP.NET 2.0 with Firefox, Firebug, the Web Developer Toolbar, CSSVista, and all the other nifty little tools which are growing into the space which MS steadfastly refuses to occupy. And all the while, we must embarrass MS into some semblance of standards compliance.

Just think about for a moment though – as an ASP.NET web developer, wouldn’t you love to be able to ditch the “code for Firefox, fix for IE” mentality, and have a fully integrated AJAX IDE where you could debug your JavaScript in an integrated manner in Visual Studio and not have to worry about a separate browser for CSS? Wouldn’t it be nice if Visual Studio was your CSS IDE and you could see your changes live and be certain that your layout would render the same in any browser?

The nice folks at SiteVista have released a great free product – CSSVista -that allows you to edit CSS and see the results in Firefox and IE at the same time. This has quickly overtaken Chris Pederick’s Web Developer Toolbar as my most-used CSS tool. It’s not without its quirks and it’s astonishingly basic (it’s v0.1 after all!). However, it can handle relative paths to images and still display them (something Web Developer Toolbar can’t do). You get a split screen view of IE and Firefox at the same time, and this gives you instant visual feedback as you ENGINE CSS.

CSSVista Screenshot

SiteVista make their money from serving you the results of multiple browser CSS testing, so have a look at their paid-for service while you’re there. I’ll be subscribing to their blog to get news about v0.2 :)

I don’t use many (actually, I try not to use any) of the built-in styling properties of ASP.NET server controls.  The only property that means a thing to me is CssClass.  However, there are a few properties I find I always have to set to avoid crummy markup.  Chief amongst these is the GridView’s GridLines property – if you don’t set this to ‘None’ and CellSpacing to -1, CSS styling of grid borders isn’t possible as inline styles will override any of your stylings.

I don’t really theme sites either, largely because of the aforementioned bad markup – the presentational properties result in a slew of inline styles applied to many elements which bloats the HTML. Since I’m not using them for anything else, a single ‘Default’ theme’s skin files actually works very well as “policy” style document.  I always set these two properties on any GridView - now I can set them once in a ‘Default’ theme and every GridView I use will inherit the policy. Not precisely what themes were intended for, but pretty useful nonetheless (at least until ASP.NET Control Adapters arrive later this month) :)

There’s no doubt ASP.NET 2.0 Themes look like a compelling way of skinning your web app at first glance. Look a little deeper, though, and it seems that Themes could easily seduce you into using MS-only ASP.NET property attributes instead of thinking about your markup tree semantically Continue reading »

© 2014 ZephyrBlog Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha