I appreciate your argument, but let me hasten to add something to my premise about newer not always being better. Maybe even better than my "guitar analogy", if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound". Well of course it does, but that starts the whole line of questioning about whether it matters, and if so to who (or whom... if your picky)
Originally Posted by deathshadow
I will absolutely grant you that anything you learn to do the right way (and that assumes everyone agrees on the "right way") will make things much easier. But if the point of language is to "express" rather than "impress", so too is the point of a website to display and function well in the maximum number of cases. A coded page structure that works to the composers satisfaction in a sufficient number of cases is never "wrong", even if the code looked like HELL, in the same sense if it works well, "It doesn't matter" is a phrase aptly applied to both that code and the tree that fell somewhere in the Amazon rainforest today.
Don't get me wrong... I find VERY valuable your tips like using of "label" tags instead of plain text, because as you pointed out, some browsers can make use of those tags for association with the field. I never knew that, and in the future will go that route. But taking an argument like CSS positioning of DIVs being better than tables for layout? In all cases? I've found that it does have lots of advantages, for sure. But I'm also saying those advantages are often trumped by the way some browser and browser versions interpret CSS positioning differently. Can you make adjustments to accommodate all the browsers? Maybe. But if you have to do all that, never knowing if you're leaving an stone unturned somewhere, maybe in some cases a few old fashioned table structures can save you some time.
And TIME really is the important thing in the context of this discussion. In engineering, programing, model making, music composition... carpentry... or any endeavor the conscientious designer has a constant mental challenge balancing the meaning of the word "done". When is something done? When its perfect or when it works? When it works most of the time or all of the time? I would assert that in all cases, the 80/20 rule dominates. That is, you'll get 80% of what you need done with 20% effort, but that last 20% requires 80% more effort... effort and time. And I'd further argue that as project approaches "perfection", the time to reach that goal becomes infinity. And since there isn't infinite time, we have to balance. I will shoot for 99.9% in the code of an embedded processor in a product that is going to be a nightmare to recall and fix, if the customer finds bugs. But for a web form, where changes can be easily made anytime with a simple FTP transfer, I'll probably get that 80% mark 9well maybe 90%) and leave it at that.
This probably sounds like a lot of psycho babble, but I do hope you see my point. A website, for all its interesting methodologies, is almost never an end product. We post blogs to express our opinions, not spotlight our code structure. We create websites to advertise products and convey ideas, and seldom to advertise our coding skills. So for most of us... especially weekend warriors with dreams, the limited amount of time for each task combined with the daunting number of tasks often means we have to budget our time. In my case, at least for websites, that means that "functional"="done". There can always be "done better", and certainly *I* am always interested in learning to do things better. (I've been playing that guitar for 45 years and I'm STILL learning better playing techniques!). But time is a major limitation (at least for me). This is why I have no choice but to really consider carefully when 'wrong" might really mean "could be better" and in some cases "might not matter". There is no choice but to discern the difference. Time is precious! :-)
Bottom line, please don't hold it against me (or others in my shoes) when it seems I'm slow to change something that 'works". Its not that I'm not interested in potentially better alternatives. There are just so many other things demanding my time, and its invariably the next piece of added functionality that trumps things like the decision to use a table or a DIV :-).
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