Beware the CSS Hackers!

12 Nov 2003

If you haven’t already, go and read Peter Paul Koch’s article ‘Keep it Simple’ for Digital Web Magazine. I was left speechless, not sure whether this was a spoof or that he really thinks these things.

Basically, his assertion is that ‘CSS Hackers’ are actively spending time creating hacks just to feel superior and to dazzle, deceive and seduce ‘innocent newbies’. Tee hee! Or am I being naivé? Is there really an underlying conspiracy that I’m blissfully unaware of in my ‘happy and poppy’ world?

“Complicated CSS hacks are the modern equivalents of the frames and tables. Their use serves to give the Web author a feeling of mastery”

My feeling is that unlike frames and tables, CSS hacks do not alter the the content, make it inaccessible or difficult to navigate. I see CSS hacks as a real-world solution to the problem of crappy browsers, without changing the markup or content. Sure, I try and avoid hacks wherever possible, but if all I have to is add a 2 line hack to make sure a layout works in IE 5 WIn – I’m jolly well going to do it! I don’t do it to feel masterful, I do it to get something working.

If we follow his recommendations, I fear that CSS design would be left in the basic, boxy world that it has been derided for.

What do you think?

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