Eric Meyer declares his love to CSS …

Interview: timo / 15. Juni 2005 /

Eric MeyerEric A. Meyer has been working with the Web since late 1993 and is an internationally recognized expert on the subjects of HTML CSS. He’s author of the books “Eric Meyer on CSS” and “Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide“. He is the principal consultant for Complex Spiral Consulting and lives in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a much nicer city than you’ve been led to believe. His online home: meyerweb.com

Why do you love CSS?
Well, it helps pay my bills. I totally love that about it.
Seriously, I love CSS because it provides an unparalleled amount of power to designers. Note I don’t say “control”, because it doesn’t confer that. Still, its powers surpass anything table-based design made possible. (One obvious example: letter-spacing.) It also gives designers the power to implement site-wide changes by editing a single file. Finally, it’s entirely human-readable. Anyone with any familiarity with XHTML can see h1 {color: red;} and get a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen. Sure, not every property/value combination is that obvious, but– values of ‘position’ excepted– most of them are at least close.
What drives you crazy when using CSS?
Browsers– what else? I’ve recently worked on some redesign projects, creating the markup and CSS to turn a Photoshop file into a working Web page, and the inconsistencies still drive me up a wall. Ironically, it’s the small things that drive me craziest. When there’s a major layout problem, okay, I can fix that, no sweat. When it’s something like IE’s margin-doubling bug on floats, or a small variance in background image placement on an inline element, I want to punch holes in my monitor.
The other thing that gets to me is how far there still is yet to go. Things like :first-child pseudo-classes, which I’m dying to use but aren’t widely supported enough to be worth it. As far as browsers have come, there’s so much more they can do, and I’m getting impatient! It’s been nine years since I first saw CSS1 and I just don’t feel like we’ve come as far as we should have.
Why should people write well structured / semantic markup?
Because it’s the intelligent thing to do. It keeps the document clean and easy to examine, and it keeps the markup-to-content ratio nice and low, as it should be. It makes scripting, such as in Ajax, much simpler. It makes styling orders of magnitude simpler, too. Stir in some microformats, which depend on well structured yet relatively lightweight markup, and you’ve got the beginnings of a true semantic web. We’re already starting to see that happen, and good markup makes it possible.

All declarations of love

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Heike Edinger, heike.edinger at gmail.com

Timo Wirth, timo.wirth at gmail.com