Continuing Journey (Practice Makes Perfect)

Posted in Accessibility, Web Standards

Well, I’ve gotta say that creating sites with purely CSS-based layouts (table-less) is… well… really hard! It’s not so much a problem marking up the content with valid, semantic XHTML code and styling that page with CSS. It’s just that things start to go haywire when I start to add the structure of the page with floats, clears, and other layout elements. I end up spending huge amounts of time trying to figure out why a small section of the site looks vastly different from one browser and/or platform to the next. And sometimes really mysterious things happen… like an entire section of the page will randomly disappear until I roll the cursor over it. Ugh!The frustration lies mostly in the fact that the CSS error (or is it a browser bug?) can be hidden in a specific container, the container’s container, or anywhere else in the style sheet for that matter. Regardless of the cause, it can create some real panic when you’re under the gun on a project with an aggressively tight schedule (is there any other kind of project?)! I find myself making tons of tiny troubleshooting changes in order to fix the seemingly smallest of errors.In spite of the transitional frustration, I am dedicated to practicing it just like a musical instrument. You know what they always say, “practice makes perfect.” I think that’s good advice for leaning just about anything requiring a major shift in mental framework. The only way to “get it” is to keep “doing it” over and over and over until it seems easy. I’m convinced that’s the key for me to make this shift from traditional table-based layout development to a more standards-compliant method.I’m still having to mentally translate from one method to another. I’m still thinking, “If I were using tables, I would do it like this, but how in the world is it supposed to be done in CSS?” I’m hoping that I’ll eventually reach a point where I’m thinking in CSS terms first without the middle translation step.I’ve found that the most frustrating things about Website development can be the most mentally rewarding if you can just tough it out. Since I’m extremely frustrated lately, I’m thinking I’m due for a really big reward before too long!