WDS07: Workshop Day One

In which I decide that live-blogging is for schmucks, Andy Clarke is a god among men, and IE is still a pain in the rear.

I was going to give the live blogging thing a go this year, but due to the lack of wifi here at the Powerhouse Museum, I decided to just take a few notes from Andy's workshop from time to time, then collate them into something to post at the end of the day. This worked out better actually, as I didn't particularly feel like having the MacBook out the whole time.

By morning tea break Andy Clarke has just covered the general concepts for today's workshop. It seemed like a tough crowd in that many attendees were finding it a little difficult to either accept or understand some of Andy's concepts. He started off talking about an alternative to progressive enhancement, where instead of using dodgy browsers (I'm looking at you, IE6) as a baseline for design, then adding enhancements for newer browsers, Andy suggested that we should aim for the top, using all that CSS 2.1 has to offer (and even CSS 3 in some cases), forgetting the notion that the design should look the same in all browsers. Basically, Andy was suggesting that it was often better to use poorly supported (by IE) CSS rules rather than add extra cruft to your markup to achieve the same effect in IE6.

This is an approach that I've taken in a few of my designs, mainly in cases where I've over-estimated IE6's capabilities and have been forced to remove certain design elements, such as using transparent PNGs for glow effects, etc. (eg. See how the Sheppparton Villages website's content area's light-bloom effect changes between modern browers and IE6. This is less to do with CSS and more to do with PNG-24 alpha support, but the concept's the same.)

I guess it's all about where you set the bar for what you're willing to let IE6 go without. Some of Andy's examples were a little more than I would accept (ie. I wouldn't want anything to look out of place or wonky in IE6), but I agree with the general message that, hey, we've got these cool CSS rules we can use to make things look cool. Why wait for people to stop using IE6 before we use them to enhance a design for those using modern browsers. It takes a little lateral thinking, but like Andy, I enjoy the challenge that it brings.

2 comments on ‘WDS07: Workshop Day One’

  1. MacBook? When did that happen? :)

    I managed to get Andy's book last year - been reading and digesting it slowly, looking for opportunities (few if any) to apply at work.

    Work... which didn't want to pay for any of us to attend this year (grizzle) :(

  2. Hi Douglas! I was looking for your name on the various WDS07 spaces over the last few weeks, so I thought you might not be coming. Too bad, its pretty fun so far (morning tea break on day one of the conference proper). The MacBook belongs to work-work (the full time job) purchased to test sites I built on Mac, but it pretty much lives with me (it just means I can't deck it out with stickers and junk like I would if it were mine ;). I'm still a Windows guy, but at least now I don't feel like I'm missing out on any of the cool Mac stuff.

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