The CSS Learning Curve

Roger Johansson recently highlighted Emil Stenström’s Levels of CSS knowledge. Like many others responding to Roger’s post, I see myself somewhere between 5 and 6. And when I thought about the road that I’ve traveled to get to this point, I realized that it’s been one long curve.

I jumped for joy the day I heard about CSS and was experimenting with IE3’s early implementation of it back in 1996. I was using CSS extensively in a production environment as early as 1997. Of course, at the time, this was simply to change the color schemes of sub-sections within a site just by loading a different stylesheet. But it was significant in that it allowed me to avoid so much hard-coding of presentational elements and attributes in the mark-up.

I guess I was fortunate in the fact that I didn’t have to support Netscape 4 for most of the products I worked on early on and was able to jump right in and use the latest and greatest CSS support that IE 4, 5 and 6 provided.

While I’ve always prided myself on low-to-no usage of tables for layout. It wasn’t until 2003 that I was truly inpsired to drop them altogether after stumbling upon Ryan Carver’s One True Fit for Lee Jeans. Here was another Web professional that had put CSS layout into practice in a high-profile commercial environment. That was the day I became absolutely obsessed with Web standards and CSS and I haven’t looked back since.

Like most people who start down the path of enlightenment, I experienced a little divtheria, spanylococcus and classitis along the way, but was always able to find the cure at the local apothecary.

It’s funny really, because when I first started writing markup for a living, tables were used for tabular data. For structure we relied on semantic elements like headings, paragraphs and lists.

Don’t look now, but we’ve come full circle.