html & css ups and downs

Even though it might not seem very likely at first sight, html and css work can be pretty diverse from time to time. I spend most my time slaving away behind browser windows refreshing web pages, but that doesn't mean that I'm always doing the same thing. Some html/css work can be real fun, some can be a downright drag. So I thought it'd be fun to ask around what kind of html/css related work you prefer ... and hate of course.

Love and hate, close together

This thought came to me when I was asked to improve a certain shop ordering module. The catch was that is was already in use for several customers, each having their own style sheet. I was to improve the code to be more semantic and correct, but I was also to make sure that this wouldn't affect any existing css code. Quite a challenge, no ?

Jobs like that pop up from time to time and keep my work fun. So let's take a quick look at the things I like and dislike doing.

the bad

I usually like to start off with the bad stuff, so here goes. One thing I absolutely don't like about html/css work is quick-fixing bugs and adding little changes to code I haven't written myself. The cascade is a good thing, but when the css code is badly written it can be real hell too. Little changes in one place can have serious effects in others. Things only get worse if you're not even familiar with the site you're working on.

While this is bad, nothing beats big functional or design changes. You might have set up you html as carefully as can be, when they suddenly decide that the one news item on the front page could just as well be a list of news items, you know you've been doing a whole lot of work for nothing. Changes like these can really mess up the structure of your site and your css, especially since these changes are often considered "trivial" by others and are supposed to be fixed in 5 or 10 minutes. Truly hate it when stuff like this happens.

the good

Of course the job isn't all bad, from time to time we get to do real fun stuff too. One of these things is getting a set of brand new wireframes, ready to be converted into html. Starting off with a clean slate, taking with you what you have learned from your previous projects and having no legacy to worry about. Starting of from zero can be really comforting from time to time.

But nothing beats playtime. You know, that extra hour (or two) you get to think, play, try and toy with new ideas to improve your work. Plain and simple html/css R&D that doesn't necessarily pay the bills but greatly increases the quality of your work. Wish work could always be like that.

and other opinions

But that's just my take on things, I'm pretty interested to hear what part of your hmtl/css job you like best. Don't hold back.