Interesting Reader Questions
Published by Chris Coyier
Why a CMS?
I was recently criticized that my sites weren't dynamic, and that no one would hire me because everyone wants a dynamic site. Well, the people I'd be targeting will know nothing about computers, thats why they need me to do the updates. I've become alot more versed in HTML\CSS now, and in design in general. Should I worry about learning something like Joomla? It seems frustrating, because I just can't use my normal web design software that I've become so accustomed to now. People contact me for the updates, I do them, and its done correctly. Is there any other reason to do it another way?
You have a good point... but dynamic sites aren't just to make it easy for clients to update content themselves, but it makes it easier for you to update it too. I've never specifically used Joomla (although I've heard it's nice), but CMS systems like WordPress and Drupal not only make it easy to add new content to a site but offer exteneded functionality that would be a HUGE pain the ass to do manually (e.g. an RSS feed).
Big ol' CMS systems aren't the only way to go though... If you want to design just exactly like you are now, only have the content of the site be editable (by your or a client), you should look into CushyCMS. Too much to explain here, but basically it's a little web application that you can log into and make changes to a web site (you give it the FTP information and tell it what areas it can update by putting class names onto certain elements).
Employers Wants Me to Use Tables
I recently got a job for a company that says they would prefer me to use tables instead of div's in coding out websites. I was wondering what your opinions were on this as well if you have any good strategies for this kind of problem. Luckily I'm sure they wouldn't forbid me from using divs, but their opinion is that tables are more standards compliant which I don't really understand.
That is a pile of crap your employer is shoveling onto you. It's pretty clear they haven't been connected to the web design world for the past half decade or so. Standards compliance has nothing to do with tables or divs, either of them can be just as standards compliant as the other. The difference is that CSS layouts are easier to maintain, more designer friendly, and lighter weight.
Some of the lingering murmurs of dislike over CSS are mis-guided opinions that it's not as cross-browser dependable as tables. Sure, there are a few bugs in some browsers, but nothing that can't be worked around or avoided by a competent web designer.
Don't back down on this battle, you are helping both them and yourself by sticking up for designing with CSS.