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Readers Respond: Reasons to Hate CSS

Responses: 67


I like CSS

Although I am just learning, what I have learned so far I like Css and think it is a boon to working on web sites.
—Guest Miami_Student

I hate hacks

I truly hate hacks and almost refuse to use them unless I'm desperate...lol. Most of the time there is a better and simpler way to do things that doesn't require a hack and it usually more stable. Some people get so caught up in hacks that it would have been cleaner code just just use a table sometimes, but that's rarely required except for email. CSS layout is one of those things that there is often more then one way to do it, and a whole lot of wrong ways to do it, and I consider hacks one of them. There is no doubt it takes time to learn CSS layout but a good start if your a Mac user is the app CSSedit. Stay away from layers, fixed heights and don't think of your design as print, think of it as something that needs to self adjust without breaking, and don't forget about how versatile the control of background graphics is in CSS.
—Guest Dave Miers

Remember DOS?

Does anyone remember how we were glad to kiss DOS goodbye? CSS is going backwards. 99.99% of us don't need it.
—Guest WWW

Internet Explorer

CSS is great but the annoyance is Internet Explorer. You build a great looking site and put it together in css and it works in every browswer. Sure enough though when you test it in IE something will be wrong with it 100% of the time.
—Guest Ryan

Cost vs Benefit

I love the concept of CSS, I just hate the browser compatability issues. I struggle to get even simple pages to display exactly the way I want to, so I have given up. I found a fantastic site that converts photoshop files into cross browser compatible css pages in 8hrs turnaround for a reasonable price so I just use them now. I build the cost for a base number of different layouts into my quote, relegated myself to designer (as opposed to designer/developer) and have a much nicer work/life balance as a result. When browsers can pull their finger out and all become compliant I will consider stepping back into CSS.
—Guest Martin_C


Basically a big waste of time unless your a webdesigner. The few pages I create simply don't need the css.
—Guest webslave

CSS is good but ...

CSS is good and sometimes i appreciate it , but the only thing annoy me is Browser different compatibility. The CSS style sometimes are showing different from FF and IE.

Footers and browsers

CSS is far more flexible and, once you understand which CSS attributes aren't consistently displayed across browsers, it's a piece of cake to either create another stylesheet and throw in a script to identify the browser or add conditionals to your existing stylesheet. But probably the thing I hate most is I can never get a consistent footer with my layouts unless I do NOT use absolute positioning--and I use absolute positioning for almost everything, otherwise I end up with display issues in all browsers. For this reason, I often still use a simple 1-, 2-, or 3-column, 2- or 3-row table: top row for header & content (or just header), middle row for content (if applicable), bottom row for footer; when using a multi-column layout, the top and bottom rows get colspan'ed, middle has left nav, content, right nav. This allows me to use both the flexibility of CSS and the rigidness of tables. And my business works with mailings, which can't use much CSS, and we use tables with great results.

browser compatibility

I also love CSS. But indeed sorting out the browser compatibility is still a big problem like I noticed last night in the end I got it fixed but is it worth all the hassle. I am thinking of going back to tables. Sorry!
—Guest Alice

CSS takes time, but keep going

I've nearly given up learning CSS so many times due to browser issues and clients' use of IE6. But I have kept going and and now that I've sorted out my "issues" with absolute and relative positioning techniques, I have found that being able to put anything anywhere on a page, and not be constrained by a table, makes page layout a lot easier. I agree that compared to tables CSS can be a real a pain. The biggest thing I noticed when I started looking at CSS books and tutorials was the many different CSS techniques there were for doing the same thing! Persevere with CSS, it's worth it. Anyway it looks like CSS Tables are the next thing we are going to be hearing about.

Don't hate it, but sometimes tables work

Look I like the whole crusade that everyone seems to be going on about CSS only pages but to behonest with the types of designs I do a CSS page doesn't load in any less time than my hybrid table driven pages. I created 2 versions of the same layout. 1 with tables and css used to style them vs All CSS. total savings in lines of code? 5... That's right 5 lines of code folks and with everyone on broadband now a days I'm really not sweatin those few extra characters. What's more is that I coded my html hybrid page in 1hr whereas with the CSS design I fought with browser compatibility for about 5 hrs. You can easily centralize ANY type of code using server side includes via php or asp for easier/faster management A properly designed hybrid can meet most accessibility needs & as for SEO, there is no concrete proof it works better. The highest rated organic searches are the most popular websites based upon a multitude of factors, but mostly just sheer direct traffic.
—Guest Joe

Would like to use, but dont understand.

The reason I do not use it is merely because I dont know how to use it for the same style layouts i would use with tables. I would haveto make a lot of rubbish before getting the hang of it, and dont have the time. But I wish I did understant.
—Guest DeeCee

Fudging and fussing

My first problem is indeterminate layout. Call me simple, but when I want a box at 160 pixels down and 50 pixels in - I don't want to have to muck with different encasing boxes, different modes of position interpretation - and different applications in different browsers. I also resent kowtowing to print designers with type faces, with spacings, etc. If the web browser is not a typewriter, it is also not a printer's proof copy. Look at rounded corners, overlays, etc. Yes, they work. But creating a box in three parts to have a top, a middle, and bottom - come on, that is childish dancing around the fact you are baking the presentation into the base content. Just exactly the criticism is of table layouts. As with any design or engineering expression, a mature, elegant CSS site is easier to maintain. Achieving that elegance, though, is inordinately difficult, and diverts a *lot* of energy from developing and presenting content.
—Guest BradK

CSS = Better

To all those that complain that it takes too much time to get it right on the development end, consider this. It's a well known fact that CSS layouts render faster then equivalent table layouts. Google found that an increase in load times for users of 0.5 seconds lowered the number of page hits by 20%. Amazon.com did extensive A/B testing and found that an increase of page load as little as 100 milliseconds caused a noticeable decrease in sales. I'm not saying you should always have longer development times to make the load times as short as possible, but note that a couple extra hours to get a CSS layout to work may be worth it.
—Guest guest

Great for layout, but bad when editting

CSS is great for layout of a page, but when the whole page is controlled by CSS, it becomes a bear to edit because you have to know the inheritance before you start making changes. The browser compatibility is also a problem...I too revert to tables when I get frustrated.
—Guest Ben

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