Rants on software, computing, and any other topic I feel like.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

CSS is Crap

Ok, so I think it's fairly obvious that I am big fat C++ bigot. That's probably because I've programmed in C++ more than any other language. So I'm a little biased. That's okay because C++ actually is better in many cases.

But because I'm the resident "computer guy" for various groups, like my family and friends, I regularly step out of the C++ realm and try other things. Take for example, web pages. I've done my share of JavaScript and PHP generated pages. But most of that was years ago before what I have been told is now the golden age of web development. Life was hard then, but back then we only had IE and Netscape. But a new day has dawned. A great leap has been made on the Interweb. With technologies like XML, CSS, XHTML, PHP, and the vast Java pile of beans, cheese, and who knows what, developing web pages is supposed to just be a piece of cake.

Recently, I tried to actually create one of these fantastic web pages using one or more of these technologies. After about a week of just trying to format a page without using those evil nested tables and using the magic of CSS, I started to cry for my mommy, the only person who might care about my personal hell.

Why in heaven's name does this have to be so damn complicated? I've learned numerous languages and file formats over the years, so I think I have an idea of how to go about reading a language spec and understanding what it does, and then how to use it effectively. Has anyone actually tried to use the CSS spec or any of the docs out there to get anything done? No wonder there isn't a browser out there that actually implements it properly. It is so generic as to be completely useless.

I really feel for the children of those wrote that stinking pile of MIT-grad generated uselessness. I'll bet they tell their kids when they ask for math help, "Okay, I'm not going to actually tell you how to do that math problem, I'm just going to give you these advanced level calculus books and let you figure it out yourself. It's all very clear once you understand the analysis of infinite-dimensional ring theory."

Yes, I understand that there should be many ways to skin a cat, but CSS gives you about seven hundred. And that is just the number of ways to tell it how big to make your fonts. Not that any of them actually allow you to do that. They all just give the browser a suggestion. And since we really do need 17 browsers out there (for competition right?), there are 17 different ways to interpret what I put in my CSS. In other words, my page looks like crap on anything but Opera version 6.6.6.

I missed the dot com boom. I was working. Is this the nonsense that they spewed out with all those billions? Look folks, this is what you get when let philosophy and foreign film majors get into engineering. Heaven forbid that someone disagree with someone else and the person with the better solution actually win the argument. That would be solutionism. Almost as bad as racism, ideaism, or using your brain. They put everyone's solution in there. Just in case people want to use CSS to teach their dog to hate kids with green eyes.

All those spare web developers are "rethinking their careers" because they sucked at them. No wonder they didn't get a lot of fulfillment from their jobs as web lackeys. If I sucked at something, I don't think I would like doing it either.

Some people just need to say, "That sucks. Really it does, and here is why." They want to think that everything has a meaning and value. News flash, some things just suck. They're crap. They should be thrown out. Figure out the right way to do the job, and leave everything else behind. Like 90% of CSS.

And your little dog too.


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