Christian Heilmann declares his love to CSS …

Interview: timo / 15. Juni 2005 /

Christian HeilmannChristian Heilmann was born in Germany, survived dot-com crashes in the States, and currently works as a lead developer of Agilisys in London. His articles and works can be found at icant and he rants and raves about accessibility and web standards on wait-till-i.com.

Why do you love CSS?
CSS is a wonderful tool to make great content a lot prettier and easier to take in. Proper browser support makes it dead easy to re-brand and change a whole site without wading through a lot of documents and try to find the right spots to change the outcome.
Furthermore, it allows a lot cleaner separation of work areas: Designers don’t need to go down and dirty with HTML any longer, but can resort to CSS, which is easier to learn.
You can also style one document for different media, an option that has to be taken in with a pinch of salt though: A print version should not only hide all the unnecessary elements, it should also show me the URIs of links, as I simply cannot click them on paper. Also, a multi page article should be one document as a print version, something that could be achieved via DOM,
but not via CSS.
What drives you crazy when using CSS?
Probably the same as everybody else: browser bugs. It is not the tool CSS that drives me crazy but how it is used by some people which leads to business decision makers to expect the same of you. A good web site is a web site that works in different environments. It is not one that looks the same everywhere (and forces the developer to hack and grind a lot).
Why should people write well structured / semantic markup?
Why shouldn’t they? It is a matter of mature use of a media. The web has been around a while; we had our share of reinventing the wheel and failing to create one that runs smooth. Clean markup is easier to maintain, convert, style and enhance with behaviour. To me personally, it is my laziness that drives me to keep my products clean; I don’t want to revisit things later to fix them or spend hours explaining junior or third party developers what I have done and why. Sticking to a standard with logical naming conventions speeds up the process immensely.

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