“It’s New” Is a Lame Excuse 4 Years Later

In this article in which Jeffrey Zeldman muses on why he struggles to do XHTML + CSS design despite the fact that it’s taking him a hell of a lot longer than it would have previously, he offers up this lame excuse, and goes on to assert the usual mantra as to why it’s important, which I will address soon.

Everything I�m doing in this troublesome part of the layout could be handled with table cells and traditional JavaScript rollovers and it would work everywhere. (By everywhere, of course I mean in popular browsers with default settings.) Not only would it work �everywhere,� it would also take much less time to code. Because I and you and everyone knows how to do it that way, whereas with complex layouts, The CSS Way is still a mostly unexplored continent.

Jesus H. Christ and his CSS-rendered dog Sparky, Zeldman, you’ve been braying about this shit for over 4 years now, and Mozilla and IE 6 have been fairly stable for 3. If you, who sits around all day doing nothing but thinking up ways that CSS angels can dance on the head of an XHTML pin, can’t do simple cross-browser rollovers and layout in “The CSS Way” (note the religious capitalization), then how is anybody who needs to make money supposed to do it?

Back in the bad old days, people managed to get reliable cross-browser DHTML working within a few months of each browser coming out. If you say after 3 years that it’s too new for anybody to reasonably expect you to develop something in, say 125% of the time you used to take to do it with HTML 4, then admit it: it just isn’t practical yet.

The reasons Zeldman goes on to give reveal the hidden biases of the Standards-worshipping cohort, and deserve a lengthy post of their own to address (that I was working on before I spotted this gem).

But seriously, “new” was an excuse I’d accept before the PATRIOT act. Now you’re supposed to know your shit and do it in a timely manner, or find alternate strategies to support the “more browsers and devices” you want to support. You’ve had time; now put up, shut up, or change your tune.