Simon Willison declares his love to CSS …

Interview: timo / 17. Juni 2005 /

Simon WillisonSimon Willison is a seasoned Web developer from the UK, currently finishing up his Computer Science degree at the University of Bath. He is a member of the Web Standards Project, and writes frequently about topics relevant to web development on his personal weblog.

Why do you love CSS?
It’s a beautiful technical solution to a tricky problem. It takes the bizarre, hacked together behaviour of the browsers that went before it and reformulates them in to a coherent whole. A great example is the way the Gecko engine works – if you have Firefox (or Mozilla) installed, have a hunt around for a file called “html.css” in the “res” directory, which defines the default styles for the classic HTML elements using CSS (quirk.css is even more fun). The result is that even sites that don’t use a single line of CSS are rendered using CSS by any Mozilla family browser.
What drives you crazy when using CSS?
Maintainability. It’s relatively easy to write CSS, but a lot harder to modify it later on. I think one of the biggest challenges still facing the CSS developer community is coming up with better ways of structuring CSS files to make the various rules applied to an element clear. Tools are helping a lot in this regard – there are several browser extensions and bookmarklets that can help tell what rules are applying to what elements, and they’re getting better all the time.
Why should people write well structured / semantic markup?
Because your content matters! Storing content in a mess of font tags and presentational markup dramatically reduces its value for the future. Well structured markup keeps you in control of your content, and makes it much easier to reuse in unexpected ways in the future.

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Heike Edinger, heike.edinger at gmail.com

Timo Wirth, timo.wirth at gmail.com