A vent, followed by a challenge

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by sigmadog, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. sigmadog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    As a graphic designer for nearly 30 years, the vast majority of my career has been spent designing for print. I expanded my skill-set to web design in the late 90's, mostly creating visuals and providing the overall "look" of a site and turning it over to the coders to make it "live".

    The last few years, I've been teaching myself a bit of coding (HTML, PHP, CSS, and some javascript) so that I can exercise more control over the end product. I often still rely on professional coders to finalize and "finesse" my sites, but more and more I'm becoming comfortable pretty much "doing it all" for the sites I develop. These aren't huge sites, mostly mid-level companies seeking a modest web presence for their products or services – in short, well within my meager skills to provide and bill.

    Still, I occasionally find myself working with web developers for some sites, which is not a bad thing. I know I have way more to learn in this respect, and I make sure to take a big humble-pill before I talk to coding pros. My goal is always to learn from them so that I can get better in the process.

    So it came as a big shock when I discovered a so-called "pro" I was working with was taking my CSS-based site files and converting them to a table-based, spaghetti-code mess that didn't even match my design.

    When questioned about it, he responded that the CMS that was being used (so the client could maintain the site on their own) in his words "didn't work well with CSS."

    The shock to me was similar to what I would have felt in coming across a graphic designer still using a waxer, T-square and paste-up boards.

    Ever heard of Drupal? Ever heard of Joomla!? Both of these and other CMS's are CSS aware. I can't believe anyone would still willingly code using tables and presentation mark-up in their HTML! Even proprietary CMS's are using CSS. I spent hours carefully crafting and testing my CSS to be multiple platform and multi-browser friendly, and he just simply tosses it because his CMS is old and crusty.

    W. T. F.

    That's the vent part of my post. Thanks for reading so far. I feel better now.

    Now here is the "challenge" part...

    The above incident pissed me off so much that I challenged myself to learn the theories and practices of CMS (particularly Drupal and Joomla, since they are free and very well supported) so that I can put that joker out of business by offering my clients standards-based, accessible sites using a CSS friendly CMS and make more money for myself.

    Lemons into lemonade.
  2. kylos macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2002
    As I'm sure you're aware, some browsers with non-negligible marketshare manage to screw up CSS web pages over a little thing called hasLayout. While there are ways to work around it, until something like 99% of active browsers have respectable and consistent CSS support, I think you'll see a percentage of development still done using the reviled table system. I hate table layout as much as you, but it's going to happen until it's no longer a big headache for those who learned table layout before CSS was viable to make the transition.

    But, good for you on learning a good CMS yourself. You should be able to develop most static sites yourself without needing a developer. Being able to add a CMS to the mix to let your customers perform basic maintenance is a plus.
  3. designguy79 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2009
    I have found Joomla and Drupal to be bit of "over-kill" (and honestly, not that great of UI) for most of my client's web sites. You should definitely checkout www.silverstripe.org -- I am using it for small and medium web sites with various degrees of functionality.

    And you have complete control over the template, including CSS, so no worries there.

    From a developer's stand point, it is very straight-forward to add new features, page types, etc.

    Good luck!
  4. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    near Spokane, WA
    Thanks for the tip. It sounds right up my alley. I'll check it out.
  5. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Nothing wrong with using tables. The only people who care about tables vs. CSS are developers; end users could give a flying you know what.

    Not matching your design is the only mistake the so-called "pro" made.

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