SXSW 2006: CSS Problem Solving

CSS Problem Solving Panel
Originally uploaded by Andrson.

On March 13th at Austin, the CSS Problem Solving panel presented CSS insight and solutions based on feedback and questions from the survey panel people like you answered months before the SXSW Interactive conference.

Over 250 people filled out the survey with a third of them admitting to having problems with CSS. Out of the numerous problems developers face in regards to CSS, only two kinds of problems were the most troubling. Those problems were Browser Compatibility and Page Layouts and/or Columns issues.

Based on these kinds of issues as well as picking some of the specific CSS problems people submitted, our panel attempted to cover some of the basics–to help people reduce common errors in CSS development–as well as pick some of the more intriguing CSS problems.

The first to deliver the CSS goods was Tiffany B. Brown…

Tiffany B. Brown’s Presentation

Advanced CSS users as well as Beginners can trip on the basics. Tiffany B. Brown covered a primer of CSS development for those in the audience that might use CSS, but don’t fully appreciate the parameters in which browsers render a CSS-enabled page design.

Tiffany’s presentation on key concepts Tiffany included Inheritance, Specificity, Cascade. After the refresher, Tiffany covered how to set up CSS hacks intelligently.

Ethan Marcotte’s Presentation

Ethan Marcotte delivered one of the most visually stunning presentations on CSS I’ve ever seen on one of the more controversial topics: designing by absolute positioning content or designing with floats. Ethan looked into both design approaches… as well as a third, middle-ground approach: why not use both?

Charles Wyke-Smith’s Presentation

As I noted in the survey summary, one of the main problems people have with CSS is creating cross-browser layouts. Charles Wyke-Smith covered various layout methods that are available for use as well as each’s pros and cons.

Dave Shea’s Presentation

Dave Shea wrapped up the presentation by covering three interesting CSS topics based off submitted questions.

  1. Developing a cross-browser method for putting icons at the end of a link.
  2. Vertically center a block element on a web page with or without the height property.
  3. The often overlooked part of the CSS specification: Margin collapsing.

To learn more, check out Dave’s solutions.

While problem solving, Dave touched on a couple of other issues related to CSS-enabled design. One of those items Dave touched on was the Windows IE7 beta release. Dave’s formalized his thoughts after his recent trip to Microsoft’s Mix 06 conference in Las Vegas, where Microsoft released a new preview release of IE7 for Windows.

Do You Like the Moving Pictures?

Then hook yourself up with the video montage of the panel. Available in multiple formats for your discriminating Broadband tastes.

Final Word

Putting together a panel takes a lot of time for preparation and study. I thank the presenters for their time and commitment for putting together another great panel on CSS. Thanks, Tiffany, Ethan, Charles and Dave!

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