Literary Moose Interview

20th March 2004 · Last updated: 5th October 2016


I have just interviewed The Literary Moose!

Comments (4)

Comments are locked on this topic. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment.

  1. J. King:
    If you'll allow me to quote:

    "...the standards, which may appear very prohibitive at first sight, but upon closer inspection are simply a skeleton of consistency rules, and not religious dogmas of any kind."

    This, I think, is a good summary of what the World Wide Consortium's "standards" (which, I might add, are nothing more than recommendations, not standards) aim to be. CSS especially manages to fit this role well, as its error handling rules allow for graceful fallbacks that do not lead to garbage content. You can add anything to your stylesheets that are not defined by a W3C document and will not be penalised for it, but you are guaranteed that some things are at least -likely- to work.

    Also, if I may direct a few words to the interviewer, I would like to know how three-column layout and flat colours distinguish early CSS designs from those that predated CSS or even designs of today. To my knowledge, three-column designs started with nested tables, and are still extremely prevelent today. Granted, every second posting to CSS-discuss is regarding a problem with three-column layouts using floats or some other such technique (which should tell us something about CSS's suitability for achieving such ends), but I nevertheless do not see the connection.

    I also don't see how flat colours were a hallmark of early CSS designs, as we have the very same range of colours now as we did then both in CSS and presentational markup, but I wasn't aware of CSS at the time, so I may simply not have noticed.

    In passing, Moose, I would be very interested to hear specific reasons why you rejected Mozilla. I for years had been using Internet Explorer over Mozilla consciously (until I was directed to Opera), so I would very much like to hear from someone else why they chose something else over Mozilla.

    Posted on 21 March 2004 at 7:00 am
  2. Chris Hester:
    If you look, I actually said "three-column layouts, dotted borders and flat colours". The dotted borders are the key. Before, table-based layouts were basically the full range of colours and styles. Yet somehow there was a definite trend with early CSS sites (which persists today in sites like that used flat colours (due to the ease at which one could add these to divs), dotted borders (ditto) and three-column layouts (which you're right in saying aren't much different from table-based layouts). Because of the div tag, everyone started using boxes with borders. The style used by so many blogs today began, putting a central column in the middle, and smaller ones on the left and right, or sometimes just the left or just the right.

    Now the trend has moved away from basic div colouring to a stronger use of images - witness the CSS Zen Garden.

    My point is that CSS sites were quite obvious in the early days of its use. (That is, on sites which abandoned tables completely.) Put bluntly, they all looked the same!

    Sure, someone can still do a site like that today (indeed this site is currently an example of that, but that will change with my forthcoming redesign). But such sites are getting rarer. Broadband has increased the use of photography and images on CSS-driven sites, while dotted borders look too clichéd to use much anymore.

    Posted on 21 March 2004 at 10:06 pm
  3. Adam:
    "Generated content is one of the best tools within CSS that gives us the power to ornament our minimally coded documents without polluting the markup. Years ago, the trend was to use nested tables to achieve simple effects that had nothing to do with structure or content."

    Generated content is loads of fun and I often wish it would display consistently -- but if it were widely implemented, I'm pretty sure it would be the next tool in the litany of great web-design abuses. One prime argument of css/standards proselytes against table based layouts is the lack of separation between style and substance. I appreciate the Moose's emphasis on using generated content for 'ornamentation' but I see a future where content is shuffled off to the stylesheet. Polluting the content with style changes to polluting the style with content.

    Great interview. While I can't say that I always agree with the Moose, I respect his opinion and am glad that he/it exists. You guys have both been inspirations to me.


    Posted on 30 March 2004 at 8:39 am
  4. Herr Denovitch:
    Not sure if my old friend ever comes back here to check comments, but if he does, I want him to know it is good to see he is as moosey as ever.


    Posted on 2 October 2004 at 11:33 pm