CSS adds a layer of complexity to the browser. says Sjoerd Visscher, talking about the “flames” Dave Winer’s been getting from having made this post (most of which are actually responses to a point that Dave didn’t make – that CSS is harder and not as good as the old, bad ways of table-based layouts).
Perhaps to the browser implementation it does (tag soup has to be harder to cater for though, surely?), but not to writing web pages, for sure. spacer gifs? nested tables? browser-specific attributes? Differences in table padding on different browsers? Don’t make me laugh.
To me, the learning curve for both these methods has been exactly the same, with the benefits of using CSS being that my HTML is clean, easy to read, easy to manipulate using other tools, more semantic, and more easily maintainable by other people.
Clean, presentational markup: isn’t that what we all want, really? Deep down? Is it achievable? I’d say so.
Tim Bray’s company, antarctica.net has dropped support for version 4 browsers. Hurrah! My company did the same just a few weeks ago and already web development has speeded up no end, and all the developers are much much happier that we’re no longer having to support such old technology.
In fact, we’re in the process of developing web apps for some major institutions in the UK, and every page is laid out using CSS, and looks the same in every browser. Very few problems, a couple of niggles that took ten minutes and left everyone wiser.
Some legacy web apps we have to maintain have up to six nested tables, with images, spacer gifs, cell-padding, cell-spacing, empty cells, the works. When I started working here it took about a week just to understand what was going on and to re-indent everything so that it would make sense to future maintainers. All the other developers agree, the old table-based layouts are plain awful.
We like CSS.