If you use PNGs instead of GIFs, older browsers will see much more compact content (alt content) -- space wins right there.
Now that was a lame example, I know. So let me present a better one: use span tags instead. They don't generate line breaks like divs do. Content that can go together will go together.
And what about accessibility? I of course mean access to braille readers and the like. This is where accessibility guidelines as specified by the W3C come into play. For these clients, text-to-voice readers and braille translaters, line breaks aren't going to slow the audience down nearly as much as gratuitous navbars and sponser info. If you place redundant content at the bottom of the page and primary page content at the top, most people don't have to sweat about scrolling down much at all; it's redundant and mostly ignorable info.
What about content syndication to other sites? You can make a dedicated XML feed of course, but with a clean XHTML document with CSS, syndication is quite simple -- far easier than with legacy HTML.
Sacrificing backward compatibility is indeed something to be avoided. But the sacrifice of forward compatibility shouldn't be ignored either. In the case of a personal homepage, CSS seems like overkill. But on a small, personal homepage, using CSS isn't all that hard and most likely isn't bound by investers, stockholders, and bosses. As you add more and more pages, sooner or later entropy sets in and everything must be rewritten in order to take advantage of new technologies or maintenance scenarios. CSS makes these transitions easier. Changing even five font tags is more time consuming than one CSS entry. Once pages grow beyond three paragraphs, CSS wins out. Once websites grow past two pages, CSS wins out.
And lest we forget, the only reason that CSS seems harder to us is that we've been coding in old HTML for so long. I defy anyone to tell me that using tables for complex layout is somehow inherently obvious or easier to someone who isn't already intimiately familiar with HTML tables.
With your "hordes be damned", the "deserve to be ignored", the "gives you the excuse to say..." you're not making a decision after your audience. You're making a decision for your own selfish reasons. Now depending on your site you may end up making the same choices anyway - but choosing because of "hordes be damned" or weaseling an excuse out isn't a reasonable way to get there.
Depends on your audience. If your audience is bound by accessibility guidelines (government contracts) or you just like the idea of letting visually imparied individuals use your site, it is not a "selfish reason." First of all, the hordes are using IE 5 and up. More than 90% of viewers out there can handle CSS. The ones that can't (wait for it...wait for it) can still use the site. It only looks less pretty. Honestly, if I am spending less time worrying about browser quirks and especially older browsers (which are just a collection of browser quirks) and spending more time writing content, I submit that the users of older browsers are still getting a better deal overall.
Newer browsers have more features, access more resources, and are more secure (scripting and SSL fixes). Presenting someone with a perfectly usable site (let me stress that point -- I am not about denying access to older browsers) that doesn't have a bunch of bells and whistles amounts to little more than a gentle nudge to upgrade the browser. Presenting people with a pretty page that looks the same in Netscape 3 as it does in IE 6 gives the false impression that the browser is up to date and sufficient. But I will have sunk hours upon hours into perpetuating that illusion instead of putting up useful information.
I say have the bank use CSS, look good in new browsers, look plain or bad in older browsers, be usable everywhere, and let the bank get on to its business which is not managing a website but rather letting me manage my money.
I say have the government use CSS and get on with presenting me with local ordinances and the like.
I say have "Jill's Web Page" use CSS and get on with whatever she wants to tell the world rather than fiddling with nested tables so that it will look better in Netscape 3.
You may counter with some statement to the effect of "but this is the real world" or something like it. I will preemptively reply that the real world is dominated by browsers with the ability to render CSS. At one time, IE 4 and Netscape 4 were dominant. Two or three years ago, I would have agreed with you. It's time to take the leap and leave the stragglers in, once again, a completely usable but aesthetically lacking world wide web. In the meantime, we'll gently remind them that their world will look better in a newer browser. This is not like the old "best viewed with Netscape" items. This is using common standards that everyone including Netscape and Microsoft agree upon as being a great idea.
Am I looking for the easy way out? Yup! Am I selfish? Maybe. Is it somehow more noble to continue to make nested tables for a rapidly diminishing audience while retarding the progress of newer clients and technologies? I certainly hope not.
If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]