Christian Heilmann

I won\’t go naked this year!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 8:14 am

There, I said it. I won’t remove my style sheets of this here blog to participate in the CSS naked day. But why oh why wouldn’t I? After all, the other cool kids do it and it promotes web standards and meaningful markup doesn’t it?

Oh look, generated code!

Well, IMHO it doesn’t. Most of the participating sites are blogs, some of them with out-of-the-box templates that weren’t even developed by the authors. I wonder for example how a PHPBB forum without styles counts as markup to be proud of.

You can organise have a fashion show of very healthy bodies for an obese audience, but without telling the audience what went into achieving this body and why their bodies will be a problem in the future it is just showing off.

Missing the target audience

I also fail to see the relevance of the whole thing when it isn’t accompanied by tutorials as to what markup you can see and why it made sense to use this kind of element for that kind of job. The argument that it will shake the world and make some visitors wonder why the site looks different and have an epiphany that it all works correctly and immediately get hooked onto web standards is rather moot. This could work if every world portal or large ecommerce companies were to participate, but just a couple of blogs or small web design agencies will not have an impact.

I am not saying that the participating sites are pointless, I am saying that whoever gets there is already interested in web development and frankly if you still haven’t grasped the benefit of semantic markup, please change your job.

Missing the target market

The feel-good factor of the whole thing is great and in its wake last year you heard a lot of people mentioning that we won the web standards war, everything works and wahey. Reality check: go and work with a enterprise level CMS or framework, work on B2B applications, financial or local government sites. When was the last time you have used a company intranet, meeting room booking system, expense system or vacation planner that was not terrible, terrible markup?

I just came back from giving a workshop in Singapore and many of the people in the course were completely amazed with what you can do with CSS and JS when your HTML makes sense. There is a lot of bad code, bad ideas and misinformation out there, IMHO our job is still to get to these people, and not show off and get the Google juice up for a day pointing to our blogs.

Ok, you can call me a grumpy old bastard and spoilsport now, but I really don’t see a point.

Come to think of it, I might turn the CSS table gallery naked for the day, making it working but pointless.

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