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Weblog Entry

Conversion

August 04, 2003

Can I share something with you?

It’s a bit of a dirty little secret.

So there’s this guy, see, and he created this project. And lots of people liked the project, and he became known for the project. And all was well, except that he was living a lie.

See, his project involved this new-fangled technology that some people like and others don’t and some people are afraid of and others aren’t. But he wasn’t even using this technology himself, except in the ‘bad’ way that he was trying to free everyone else from!

Okay, so there’s only so far I can take the figurative speech. Mezzoblue is now CSS from the top down, with minimal, as - semantic - as - it - gets - while - still - looking - as - good - as - it - does markup. This has been on the backburner for a long time, and should explain the relatively infrequent posting of late.

What, you assumed it was all along? You’re not alone, most did. But it wasn’t. It was as old-school as they come. Have a look, if you don’t believe me.

I’ve fixed some things, broken others, and generally this whole site is in a state of transition right now. You’ll still find some pages on the old code base, but I’m getting around to it. While I can’t exactly claim to be re-designing in public, I am on the hook for a few loose ends yet.

Some notes.

  • Fahrner Image Replacement heavy, especially the top header.
  • Low- to no- javascript. I’ve ditched everything but my hit counter and the cookie functions for Movable Type. This works for and against me, but it makes a nice difference.
  • Your load time should be faster; I’ll have to crunch numbers, but I believe I’ve dropped from a 100k+ home page to around 65k — 75k, after considering all the external files. Not quite half, but not too shabby.
  • Image improvements here and there. You should be noticing this by now. I’ve solved some of the problems bugging me, and done some close work on the type and alignments.
  • XHTML 1.0 Strict. Comments pages won’t be expected to validate, but the rest of the site eventually should pass with flying colours.
  • View my source. Go on. Live a little.
  • Or view it unstyled.

IE6, Firebird, and Opera 7/Win give me thumbs up, but your mileage may vary. Any nit-picks (especially Mac browsers) should be accompanied by URLs to screenshots, please.

There. One more black spot coming off my record. I’m getting dangerous with this stuff.


Reader Comments

Ethan says:
August 04, 05h

Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. Congrats on the de-tablification.

I can’t believe I just said “de-tablification”. I need coffee.

August 04, 05h

“…he wasn’t even using this technology himself, except in the ‘bad’ way that he was trying to free everyone else from!”

It’s great to see the upgrade as you should always practice what you preach. If only everyone would follow suit and do professionally what they advocate to others. I won’t mention any names…cough…zeldman…cough…

Dave S. says:
August 04, 05h

Why the unfounded attack against Zeldman, Gus? He does more in a single day than I do in a month to further web standards.

Ruth says:
August 04, 05h

Maybe Gus is referring to some sites Zeldman made through his company that use basic tables for layout purposes.

August 04, 06h

“He does more in a single day than I do in a month to further web standards.”

We all appreciate Zeldman’s work at furthering web standards. All I am saying is that it would be nice if he actually practiced what he preaches. Here is a selection of some his recent work:

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/http://www.happycog.com/http://www.i3forum.com/

On his personal sites he’ll use CSS extensively, but not with his clients. Tables are still his approach when it comes to real world situations I suppose.

If Bowman can build tableless sites for clients that look great, how come Zeldman can’t/won’t? I think he should be taken to task for the work he produces if he is to advocate standards. Practice what you preach: that’s all I’m saying.

6
Didier Hilhorst says:
August 04, 06h

Zeldman never intended to free the world from table-based designs. If you would have taken the time to read his book you know why in some cases he opts for XHTML Transitional for structure along with basic tables for layout.

I think his recent work at http://www.i3forum.com is a good example of standards used in the “soft” way (it serves as a case study in the book). Personal sites are different from corporate sites. Where as a personal site might display cutting edge techniques a corporate one needs to serve a large and broad group of users.

Conan says:
August 04, 06h

Maybe Gus is referring to some sites Zeldman made through his company that use basic tables for layout purposes.I guess some clients you just can’t argue with. “It must have tables, be lime-green, and have a swoosh!”

8
Didier Hilhorst says:
August 04, 06h

Again I think Gus Borden is wrong in comparing Douglas Bowman to Jeffrey Zeldman. Sure Douglas Bowman was responsible for redesigning the Wired.com website. Nothing but many kudos for the achievement. However, Wired.com is aimed at the internet business itself, odds are that their user base is more computer savvy than other large sites such as http://www.foxsearchlight.com.

Using standards is not black or white. There’s always a trade-off. Again I suggest you take the time to read Jeffrey Zeldman’s book: Designing with Web Standards. He shows you why table based designs are not dead per se. I think Jeffrey Zeldman is one of the last persons in the web development communuty whom you can accuse of not practicing what he preaches. Doing the latter is blunt and not founded.

August 04, 06h

“in some cases he opts for XHTML Transitional for structure along with basic tables for layout.”

In some cases?? Every single one of the projects on display at Happycog use tables. Has he ever built a single site for a client that didn’t use tables for layout?

“corporate one needs to serve a large and broad group of users.”

If Bowman can do it for WIRED and Adaptive Path and a major site like ESPN can do it then I think zeldman could do it for at least a couple of his clients.

August 04, 06h

Excellent work. Just one thing: you do have label elements, but they don’t do anything useful because none of your form fields have ids.

Seamus says:
August 04, 06h

I always meant to look at your code to see how you got the copyright info down at the bottom. Now I find out that it was a lie.

Glad to see you make the switch.

August 04, 06h

Great work Dave!

Ok, enough with the attacks on Zeldman. I don’t think attacking him for the table-based designs in those sites is really called for here.

Having worked with Jeffrey on ALA for about a year, I can say I know the guy pretty well; he doesn’t do things by mistake.

If you are a professional web developer or web designer you should know that not everyone can use a CSS based layout for their public site. Sad but true… some sites are required to be visually sound in AOL and NN 3.0 …that doesn’t mean a text only version, it means a table based layout because that’s what works with those older browsers.

I am not saying the site noted CAN’T be turned into a CSS based design, they can, we all know they can… Zeldman knows they can… but the client can’t afford to have their customers visiting the site and having it display something like what a Word DOC file must look like… text and sized fonts.

I think eventually people will upgrade, NN 3.x and older browsers will become a thing of the past and we’ll have to deal with more complicated headaches like getting the DOM to work cross-browser.

Jai says:
August 04, 07h

Hey Dave, I know it’s a long shot, but you could even get your comment pages to validate (for the most part) using Brad Chaote’s Macros or Regex plugins. Basically, you could make all ampersands into the entity &:amp; and all the single quotes into whatever that entity is (I can’t recall off hand).

That might take the majority of the W3C’s validating woes from within your comments. Just a thought :)

Lea says:
August 04, 07h

Ah, Dave! I, too, am part of the people who preach web standards when my own personal website and portfolio is a MESS. Largely because they were made a while ago – one a an assignment where the teacher forced us to use Dreamweaver techniques, and the other is over a year old.

When I have the time, I will overhaul both into CSS and XHTML. Soon….

Meanwhile, table layouts aren’t EVIL. Just as long as the person codes as semantically as possible and doesn’t go overboard with the table, it shouldn’t be a problem. Problem with people is that they are too extremist at times. Remember, tables are NOT evil. You may use them for tabular data.

MikeyC says:
August 04, 07h

“Comments pages won’t be expected to validate”

You could do what Simon Willison does: reject comments that don’t use valid XHTML and ask the user to correct it. As a web designer I love the idea…but as an average user I might find that to be a bit of a nightmare…oh never mind…

August 04, 07h

“If you are a professional web developer or web designer you should know that not everyone can use a CSS based layout for their public site.”

Nick, surely http://www.digital-web.com/ which is geared towards web professionals and not grannies running Netscape 3 should not use tables for layout.

Keith says:
August 04, 07h

Great work, wish I had the time to do this on my sites as well…Some day I’ll get around to it. Going to have to study how you used FIR and linked your masthead. Need to do that on one of my sites.

As far as the “attack” on Zeldman and the idea that there is no place for tables on the Web, that is kind of silly.

I’ve used tables, for various reasons, some beyond my control, on clients sites, my personal sites and my day job’s sites and I’ll continue to do so where it’s practical. That’s the key - practicality.

Tables are just the thing for certain problems out there and if they are done correctly and for the right reasons – there is nothing wrong with employing them.

Having said that, the more I work with CSS based layouts the easier they become and I’m finding more and more reasons, and more ways to eliminate tables.

Ethan says:
August 04, 07h

I think it’s worth pointing out that standards compliance and transitional, table-based layouts are not mutually exclusive. The extent to which you rely on CSS to drive your sites’ presentation logic is not something dictated by the W3C. To say that Zeldman’s not walking the standards walk because he’s got a table or two shaping his layout is more than a bit inaccurate; run any of his pages through the CSS and HTML validators, and see how brilliantly they fare.

Arikawa says:
August 04, 07h

(Note to Self: breaking rule #1 by engaging the troll is a no-no. Make another note to Self about this for future reference).

Gus,

As much as you are ranting about sites that are using table-based layouts while advocating css-based layouts, you’d think that the URL you were referencing as “your own” when posting your message would be a shining example of everything lovely, css-y, and table-less.

Alas, google.com is table-based.

August 04, 07h

“run any of his pages through the CSS and HTML validators, and see how brilliantly they fare.”

Fox SearchLight

wow, you’re right! Only 18 errors!

I know, I know, the client is probably responsible for any errors at this point, but I couldn’t resist.

The point I wanted to make, however, is that the validator does not know all. Yes a table will validate because the validator has no idea whether a table is being used for presentation or not…just like in real life there is a “rule of law” and “spirit of the law”. Using tables for presentational purposes may not be against the “rule of law” but they are definitely against the spirit in which the rule was written.

Dave S. says:
August 04, 08h

Wow, go make a pizza (vegetarian, from scratch) for your new bride and you sure miss out on a lot. Most of what I wanted to say to Gus has been well covered by everyone else.

Two more things for you to think about Gus: first - it took a lot of effort and shifting my schedule and neglecting aforementioned new bride to GET this site converted to CSS. People have lives. Converting something old to a modern layout isn’t a priority. That’s assuming personal sites; commercial sites require money. In today’s climate, if you’re getting real money to retro-fit older sites purely on an idealistic, utopian basis, I want to come work for you.

Zeldman’s portfolio sites, and Digital Web now that you have turned your sights on it, are almost exclusively over a year old. Think back to this time last year. Wired News hadn’t launched. ESPN was under MSN’s code, so we can imagine how ugly it would have been. Things were really, really different. Now make the connection between this and the prior point — you’re comparing early 2002 work (and older) to mid-2003 work.

I’m on the record for saying that table-based design is still a viable option. So is Zeldman, in DWWS, as Didier points out. We advocate what works, not idealistic purity.

Dave S. says:
August 04, 08h

Using tables for presentational purposes may not be against the “rule of law” but they are definitely against the spirit in which the rule was written.

Agreed.

But all you’re doing is proving that you don’t work on Real-World sites.

August 04, 08h

Bashing Zeldman because his portfolio isn’t quite as pristine as Bowman’s is sort of like bashing Barry Bonds because he doesn’t have quite as many home runs as Babe Ruth or Willie Mays.

August 04, 08h

Is it sad to have been waiting for this day to come for some time? Beautiful work and you should be commended. This is Dave’s site so praise Dave and email Zeldman if you gotta problem with him. Now only if you could get away from this cursed asp…

MikeyC says:
August 04, 09h

New photo? Looking bad-ass ;)

August 04, 10h

Hi Dave!

Congradulations on your transition over to a css-based layout. It looks good! I especially like the way you put a soft halo around the big blue content column.

August 04, 11h

Great work! ;-)

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Eric N. says:
August 04, 11h

hehehe, congrats on turning everything over.

Ian Lloyd says:
August 05, 01h

I have an old table in my kitchen that needs to repaired. I wonder whether I should try to fix it , replace it with a new table or perhaps ask Doug Bowman to come round and come up with an alternative solution to my sitting-down-and-eating dilemmas. I tried to get Jeffrey round for a quote but you know how these tradesmen are, never show up when they say they will. Ah shucks.

Seriously though, tables are not evil, and they have their place (not just kitchens). Gus should appreciate that the audience of those sights built by Jeffrey are very different from those built by Doug. How many casual surfers finding a cinema/movie site will immediately view source?

Dave S. says:
August 05, 01h

Suzanne - it can only be an acronym if the resulting combination of letters results in a new word. NATO is most definitely an acronym, as is RADAR. HTML is not, because you don’t say “hetmal” or “hotmul” or anything of the sort, you say “aitch-tee-em-ell”.

If you can pronounce it, chances are it’s an acronym. If you pronounce each letter, chances are that it’s not.

31
Jimmy Cerra says:
August 05, 01h

Some nitpicks… ;-)

Are you _really_ seperating content from presentation? I mean, you use classes and ids like “headerBlock”, “rhs”, “p000207” and “alsoLinks” that don’t convey any contextual meaning. Of course, everyone uses class and id names like those;, and there are several other names that make sence in your source. But there are still problems: in a future design “footerBlock” might be in an absolutely positioned section near the top. Or it might be placed elsewhere with a different stylesheet in the future (XSLT, CSS-2010, etc…) and no longer be a footer.

Also, you don’t have a lang attribute on the html tag. You may want to supplement the xml:lang attribute for compatibility with older browsers/bots (as suggested by the XHTML 1.0 spec).

Suzanne says:
August 05, 01h

I’m not normally such a pendant, but it’s still not an abbreviation. It’s an initialization, which is a specialized acronym.

“An INITIALIZATION is an abbreviation that is formed by
combining the initial letter of each word in a multiword term.
Initialisms are pronounced as separate letters.”

There is no tag that I’m aware of (embarrassing if there were!) so does it matter what you call it in the code?

Dave S. says:
August 05, 02h

Good points Jimmy. Some of those are signs of MT’s commenting limitations (combined with py programming limitations) while others are just brain-deadedness. I’ll more than likely change them to more representative names.

And hey, cut me some slack - it’s not like all of them are that way, considering I’m also using descriptive id’s like alsoAvailable, siteInfo, and webDesign. ‘Sides, I’m not claiming semantic purity, just closer-than-most.

I’ll look into lang, thanks. But I’m more forward-thinking than backward- on this site right now, and if I move to XHTML 1.1 it will necessarily be a casualty.

Suzanne says:
August 05, 02h

Note: I also don’t usually make daft typing errors. Pedant. See? Clearly I’m not one or I’d be able to spell it without proof-reading. ;)

Dave S. says:
August 05, 02h

Thanks Suzanne, that’s the word I was trying to recall but couldn’t. Since we’re getting pedantic though… ;)

Your definition of an initialization states specifically that it IS an abbreviation. That it’s a specialized abbreviation doesn’t change that, and it’s accurate (while more generalized) to use the <abbr> tag. It’s, as Anne points out, semantically and grammatically flat-out wrong to use <acronym>.

Suzanne says:
August 05, 02h

I’ve been discussing this with an equally obsessed friend who pointed out that all acronyms and initializations are actually abbreviations.

A subset of abbreviations are acronyms and a subset of those are initializations. Whee!

I still don’t see how it affects what tag you use for it – if we’re all this confused about the matter (or at least I am), how is it semantically going to help someone to call it an abbreviation or an acronym?

Dave S. says:
August 05, 02h

The chain looks like this:

Abbreviation -> Initialization -> Acronym

Acronyms are the smallest group, but all Acronyms belong to Init and Abbr. Init’s only belong to Acr if they’re pronouncable and independent words, and Abbr’s exist that aren’t Init’s OR Acr’s.

The tags are somewhat arbitrary, it seems, now that I’m thinking about it in greater detail. Because Acronym is the smallest subset, I wonder why there’s an <acronym> tag but no <init> tag or similar. Possibly because we’ve all heard of an acronym, but initializations are left to the pedantic realm of the grammatically elite? Pedantic, semantic. Six of one, half dozen….

August 05, 02h

I looks the same :), never knew you were using tables. But I’m now digging in your source. Two things. While you can’t do it at Zen Garden (mentioned in a comment from an earlier post) you could send this page as xml, can’t you? The other thing it that you should use the right type of abbreviation for things. It’s the same problem you have at Zen Garden. HTML is NOT an acronym, but it is an abbreviation.

Claire says:
August 05, 03h

Hi Dave nice job! Congratulations

I know what it’s like, too busy working on others sites to get my own done too..

One small issue that can be easily cured..

The centering/clipping issue with NN7 is here. Reduce the screen size to less that 840px to see the left side disappear .

(I’m still on small screen ;))

I posted about it on the last garden thread yesterday, but to re-iterate it

Cause:
use of width: ###px and margin: 0 auto; on the container element

Cure:
add min-width: ###px {same as container) to the body element

Claire

August 05, 03h

Looks great! Are you aware of Stuart Langridge’s alternative to Fahrner Image Replacement? It achieves the same effect but without the additional span and in a way that doesn’t break in screen readers that ignore display: none; text.

Suzanne says:
August 05, 06h

Heh, indeed! Interesting, I didn’t see the other order, but it makes more sense that way. One of those learn something new every day things, I suppose!

(congrats on the new redesign, and thanks for tolerating my curiosity)

August 05, 06h

And are you aware of my own Alternative Image Replacement which is discussed at http://www.simplebits.com/200308#1059886874 ?

Well done Dave! Keep up the good work! I especially like the updated design for not having to scroll horizontally anymore (as I don’t like to have my browser maximized at full screen width).

zeldman says:
August 05, 07h

Dave:

Congratulations on an amazingly done CSS conversion. Converting old layouts is tough! Technology influences design: things you’ve designed with tables are not necessarily the same kinds of things you might design in CSS; the transition from one to the other can be tricky and painful.

It takes a special person to fix an existing site under the hood. Especially when he’s a busy working designer, let alone a newly and happily married one. As the creator of CSS Zen Garden, you’ve already done so much for the community that you could easily have rested on your laurels. Rock on.

neil says:
August 05, 07h

Congratulations Dave, The site looks just grand.

Can’t believe all the bitching about Zeldman, after all he has done for web standards.

That said, it would be kind of fun if a group of angry, pitch fork waving villagers with over-bites turned up every time a table was used for presentation purposes.

Adam says:
August 05, 07h

Hey Dave, what happened to the funky rounded background images for the comment numbers?

Dave S. says:
August 05, 07h

Anne — I’d like to explore serving XHTML 1.1 to browsers capable of rendering it, hence my question on the subject the other day. But that’s an experimental project, and not something I aimed to do right off the bat. I’ve got a few things I’d like to keep working on, including replacing the FIR with one of the newer methods I’ve discovered recently.

re: HTML is not an acronym.

I’m aware, but the guy I look to to settle disputes in my head over semantic stuff like this (Mark Pilgrim) is serving up abbreviations as <acronym>. Currently IE (the only one I’m aware of, but others might too) only dishes up the tool-tip ALT text for <acronym>, and not <abbr>, rendering any extra work adding title text useless. Semantic purity is nice, but sometimes not quite practical.

Thanks to all for the congratulations! And please, nobody look at this in IE5/Mac. Ouch.

Sunny says:
August 05, 07h

Congratulations on the switch to CSS layouts. It really loads faster and still maintains the look & feel.

All this attacks on Zeldman is just ridiculous. He really practices what he preaches. Look at zeldman.com and ala for proof. He does it for the sites he personally controls. He even authored a four part series outlining why he switched from a table layout to pure CSS for ala. His client sites are a different ballgame. Those pages have been designed for the maximum audience which means other than people who are active in the web dev community. Bowman’s audience at wired is different and more tech inclined. The demographics are different and fox searchlight cannot afford for its site to break in older browsers. They want a consistent look across all platforms.

And Zeldman has never denounced table-less layouts. There is practically nothing wrong with tables for layout. There are still design schools outthere preaching its virtues. Although CSS based layouts is an ‘ideal’ for us to achieve, it is not a rule that has to be followed. First it was Arikawa’s use of Times New Roman and now its Zeldman’s use of tables. It is okay to break these so called “rules”. And as long as people still use older browsers, CSS based layouts will remain an ideal, not the reality. I am sure Zeldman wishes he could do pure CSS layouts for his clients, but he is bound to their exdpectations and requirements. He is aware of the demography that the site is intended for. His hands are surely tied.

To end in a happy note, Dave, you are truly amazing!

zeldman says:
August 05, 08h

This forum should be about what Dave Shea has achieved, but I can’t let an inaccurate (although well-intended) statement go by if it might convince some designers reading this page that they shouldn’t try to do CSS layouts for their paying customers. At Happy Cog we have indeed created CSS layouts for several of our clients, large and small, and will continue to do so wherever appropriate. Some of this work is not yet online - it’s in production. Other stuff is online but we haven’t linked to it for business reasons (for instance, we might not have the client’s permission to discuss it). Now back to Dave.

Jon Hicks says:
August 05, 09h

Dave,

Looks sweeter than ever! Don’t feel guilty though, it proves that you recreate exactly the same look without tables.

forgetfoo says:
August 05, 09h

very nice and very schwiiiiiing, dave :) tho it’s been said alot already, i just wanted to congradulate ya on a very nice job… also, thx to Simon for that ‘alternate’ link he posted on using images in your without the inner tag…. damn, cant believe i never thought of that! D’oh!

i’m happy i dropped by and read this, even with the Big Z bashing by the troll… for one, cuz it’s reassuring to hear it from both you [dave] and others say that TABLES are not evil… especially for those of us that admire you guys, but are unable to fulfill this ‘standards, all css or nothing’ dream that i’ve often seen and read about in the real world.

just my humble thoughts… great work! (looks threw source) *chuckle*

Sonia says:
August 05, 10h

Congratulations Dave!

(Though the text in this text box is mighty small!)

August 05, 10h

Hey Dave!

i acctually noticed that you used tables a few days ago, when i was investigating how i was gonna build my own comments system. I thought “that can’t go on like that forever” - i was right :D

Anyways, congrats on the change!

Oh yeah, the “remember me or forget me” option linebreaks kinda funny.”

August 05, 10h

There are solutions for IE not showing the tooltip. http://www.sovavsiti.cz/css/abbr.html , I use it on my site and it works.

Dave S. says:
August 05, 10h

Adam - wasn’t digging them anymore. The shape was all wrong. Not quite satisfied with the new ones, but I’m still working.

zlog says:
August 05, 12h

Very nice!

It looks better centred and I like the small changes too. Well done.

Suzanne says:
August 05, 12h

I’m sorry, why is HTML not an acronym?

Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML) seems to be “a word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term”.
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=acronym

An abbreviation would be where you’re using multiple letters from the same word, like mgmt for management, or, say, img for image.

In this case, inner capitilization works the same way a hyphenated word does, and HTML is an acronym, NOT an abbreviation. At worst, it’s both (assuming hypertext is one word, not hyper-text), which is taken as an acronym, not an abbreviation.

So what’s all this about it not being an acronym!?

August 06, 01h

Doesn’t site identity get highest priority, and then content within comes afterward?

Well that’s what most weblogs tend to do, but I think it’s wrong. (I’m open to other’s opinions about this.) If you think about web pages more as individual documents and less as subsections of a website, it makes more sense to make the article title an h1. It not only improves the semantic quality of the page, it also helps with search engine optimization. If nothing else, the W3C recommends it, so it can’t be all that bad of an idea.

Kris says:
August 06, 08h

Dave, congratulations on the switch. It loaded faster than before, that is what I like most about it.

Fighting over tables for layout – TABLE-tennis – is a lot of fun to watch. :)

August 06, 11h

Nice work, Dave. If you’re going to redesign your site, I suggest that you also change some of your semantics. For example, on a permalink page, why does “Mezzoblue” get a level one heading? Shouldn’t the article title get a level one heading?

A lot of people are using structured markup, but many of those people are forgetting about the semantic part. Semantic markup doesn’t get much respect because you can’t tell the difference between a site that uses it and a site that doesn’t. But that’s what they used to say about CSS. ;)

Dave S. says:
August 06, 11h

Thanks Kris, Joshua. I’m not so sure that, semantically speaking, the article title would deserve an h1, Joshua. Consider that it’s still a page on mezzoblue, the site. Doesn’t site identity get highest priority, and then content within comes afterward?

Kris says:
August 07, 01h

I agree with Joshua on this. Think about it; people do not come from Google looking for “Mezzoblue”, they came here because they were looking for Zen garden or CSS design.

That does not mean one should build structure to cater Google. it only means that what you think is most relevant to the document, should be treated with markup that expresses this relevance; I belief that logos or mastheads are already of importance because they are at the top of the document (visually and, often, structurally), but that they don’t carry more relevance than the content that the site actually delivers.

A H1 could mean so much more to the content of a page than when it is used as a placeholder for something that appears on virtually every other page throughout the site. (read: the most important content of each page is the brand – bet it would work for Disney or Coca Cola, though)

Kris says:
August 07, 01h

CSS design; my fault for messing up the link.

Dave S. says:
August 07, 07h

Well, the error in that thinking is that a lot of people do get here from Google looking for ‘mezzoblue’ and I’d rather they didn’t while looking for just ‘zen garden’ without the CSS, but I know what you’re getting at. ;)

It’s worth considering at any rate. It would completely turn my markup structure around, so I’d have to make sure my CSS was really tight. While in a perfect world the presentation would be absolutely 100% independent of the content, we all know that container divs are still pretty darn important for proper effect these days…

Thanks for the good discussion, guys.

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Jason Grigsby says:
August 11, 12h

I don’t know what your hosting situation is like, but if it is possible, turn on gzip encoding. It makes a big difference in the speed of download. Your html file would go down from 65K to about 20K for this page. I’ve been very impressed with the results we’ve gotten when we turn on gzip.