Why I’m more excited about CSS3 than HTML5

February 28th, 2010

HTML5 is in reality a long why from being finalized. Sure Safari, Chrome and Firefox support it and there’s a work around using Javascript to get Internet Explorer to work with it, but really it’s going to be a while before we get to use HTML5’s features and even then, I don’t think it’s going to change that much, at least in the being. The video tag is not close to being the Flash killer it’s been advertised as so far. The canvas tag will lead to some cool stuff being made but I’m not thrilled with the heavy use of Javascript to make things work. Plus, Javascript can be as big as, if not more of, a CPU hog than Flash. But with CSS3 I can see how web sites get made and displayed changing immensely.

Why am I so excited? It’s probably the little things, like being able to rotate elements or add gradients with out using images. Anytime you can use code to build an element and not use an image, the file size is going to be smaller and the page is going to load faster. I love building sites with CSS and rarely do I go back to the designer I’m working with and say “I can’t do that.” I enjoy the challenge, but most of the time, when there something that I can’t build, it’s something that I’ll be able to do with CSS3. I’m excited because this is going to open up new design possibilities that we haven’t be able to do yet. HTML5 will change the functionality of the web, but CCS3 will change the face of it.

Today I came across a link to 50 Awesome Animations made with CSS3 and although most of them only work in Safari and Chrome, it’s pretty exciting to see what can be done with CSS3. Some of them need Javascript, which is something I’m not too thrilled about. Why? Because one of the main complaints against Flash is it being a CPU hog and the cause of this a majority of the time is bad coding. And the amount of bad Javascript code out there dwarfs bad ActionScript code, so if CSS3 increases the amount of JS out there, I’m really hoping Microsoft steals V8, Chrome’s JS rendering engine! It’s open-source, but it would be more fun for everyone if MS stole it.

But once again, like my post about HTML5, we are going to have to wait for Microsoft to support CSS3 before we can really use it. Everything I read about CSS3 now tells you to make it look one way for supporting browsers and then another, less attractive way for IE. I don’t mind designs appearing a little different from browser to browser, but I have no interest in a site appearing completely different in one compared to the rest. Hopefully, with IE9 being released at the end of this year, Microsoft will add full CSS3 support and we can take the Internet to the next level, in terms of design.

The bottom line it this, CSS3 is going let us do things the either we weren’t able to do before or we needed something like Flash to create. It’s going to take some time, but over the next couple of years, what we are going to be able to do with a “static” web page is going to be amazing. The future is here, the rest of the Internet just needs to catch up!

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