More Standards-Oriented design

I was perusing the wonderful world of the intarweb, and came across this article/interview of Eric Meyer on UIE’s website by David Poteet. It was a very interesting article, as I am right now endeavoring to do just that with my current big arse web project at work.

I just love this kind of information right now, I am knee deep in standards and since I’m a big fat geek, I seem to thrive on it. I can’t get enough. It’s a pain in the jar, and I think I have bitten off a bit more than I can chew – but I have time to chew, chew, chew, and chew some more before I have to spit it back out to our web audience.

What really struck me most was Eric’s stance on Standards Oriented Design vs. Standards Based Design;

When you build a site with web standards, is it all-or-nothing or are there degrees of compliance?

Yes, I think in a lot of cases it’s a question of standards-oriented design. I use the term standards-oriented design because in a lot of people’s minds, standards design has become associated with the idea that developers can never use tables again. To me, standards-oriented design means going in the direction of adhering to standards, not trying to cut your throat on the bleeding edge of technology.

For example, you might decide to use very simple three cell table to create a three column page layout, and then use CSS to style the content inside those cells. That’s standards-oriented. It’s not pure standards design, but I don’t care about pure standards design. If I can get development teams to the point where they are 80% of the way there, they’ll see many advantages and they’ll be in a much better position to move forward in the future.  That’s why I say "standards-oriented design" as opposed to "standards-based design."

That really hit it right on the head for where I am at. I don’t really have the resources available to go hog wild and place our new site on the bleeding edge, or do I have the desire to. Did that – and took a bath in it from users and fellow employees alike. Not that I am adverse to getting criticism… It just gets old ya know? The site now is an excellent site, with (at the time) some very cutting edge development techniques and excellent functionality. But it’s time to move on, and standards is where we need to move to.

One of the biggest reasons is I’m not a glorified code-monkey-web master-wannabe. I don’t enjoy spending 2 days hand editing in-the-page styles for stuff that could be handled in a New York Minute with CSS. Tables are not my friends, and dynamically written static HTML – is not cool.

So off I go, to sleep actually – but very soon I will be back at it – and hopefully much happier come February.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t bought this book, get it. CSS: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition
Amazon has it, and so does Borders (which online is the same beast actually).