Recently I’ve been thinking about the way I build websites and I realized that I could get much more effective if I developed some sort of process or method. So, naturally, I turned to css frameworks. But what I found, was a whole lot of discussion and contracting views. It seems that with frameworks, like with…well pretty much everything else on the web, you either love it or hate it.
Proponents of frameworks point out that frameworks organize and speed up your coding. They save time and make you a better web professional. They are also designed to keep the website looking the same in all modern browsers and even deal with the pesky ones (we all know who I’m talking about).
The opposition on the other hand argues that these frameworks are bloated and you will always end up stripping half of the code anyway. Another argument mentions the use of un-semantic and presentational class names.
Being a do-it-yourself kind of girl, I am not super excited about using a ready-made code. After all we all consider Dreamweaver to be the evil incarnated so aren’t frameworks a step in the wrong direction? And can a one-size-framework really fit all? Isn’t it better to spend a little bit more time and treating every website individually?
Dan Cederholm in Handcrafted CSS argues for writing one’s own framework. He gives an example of a very simple, bare-bone code for index.html, master.css and reset.css. He writes that ready-made frameworks are great for learning and quick and dirty prototyping. They can teach you some good code skills and challenge your coding habits. However, for the reasons mentioned above, he does not recommend them for actual development.
It seems that frameworks work for some people and for some types of websites but not for everyone and not always. It all depends on the context and maybe it’s good to have both options to work with. To really have an informed opinion, I will try (and write about) several of the most popular frameworks. The next post will be about 960 grid system, but I will also look at blueprint and probably one or two others. Unless, during the trial period, any of the frameworks manages to completely change my worldview, I hope to finish this series with a home-made, bare-bone framework. It will be based on Dan Cederholm’s suggestion and what I’ve learned from the other frameworks.
So stay tuned for more on frameworks in the coming weeks.