Ethan Marcotte declares his love to CSS …

Interview: timo / 2. November 2005 /

Ethan MarcotteEthan Marcotte is a web designer/developer/something situated in Cambridge, MA. He blogs intermittently as the curator of sidesh0w, and spends much of his time thinking that the float model was a pretty neat idea. Ethan is also the design lead at Vertua Studios, and would like to be an unstoppable robot ninja when he grows up.

Why do you love CSS?
This is, I think, a bit like asking a fisherman why he loves his wading boots, or a carpenter why she favors a particular saw: we don’t design for the web because we’re in love with the tools. And CSS, despite its power and usefulness, is just that: another tool. Granted, it’s a powerful, eminently flexible tool, but it won’t do our work for us.
However, it can help us do our work better than any other techniques else available to us, and ridiculously so. After designing with CSS for almost five years, I still get ridiculously giddy when I can make sweeping site changes by editing one file. And let’s face it: curly braces are hot.
What drives you crazy when using CSS?
The day that I understand why padding is outside the box is the day I quit my job, because it won’t get any better than that.
Oh, and all browsers suck, in their own special way.
Why should people write well structured / semantic markup?
If you don’t, you’ll make the baby Zeldman cry.
Again, it’s all about using the best tool available to us. My markup’s leaner and easier to maintain, enabling me to build sites in half the time those 1998-era table-driven techniques would require.
Also (and this might be the ex-literature student talking here), I think using markup to describe your content can be a fun, creative process. If you’ve never viewed the source on Dan Cederholm’s SimpleBits, I’d suggest checking it out: he’s taken a hard look at what he’s written, and then applied descriptive XHTML to represent the relative importance and context of each content chunk. Marking up a site in this way can be a difficult exercise for standardistas-in-training because it’s so subjective—but while there’s no clear “right way” to tackle descriptive markup, I think it’s ultimately a truckload of fun.

All declarations of love



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