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What a Hack

Yes I've been up to my eyeballs designing what seemed like a rather simple site for my new employer. Of course, when you throw in tableless layouts and proper semantics, things start getting a little not-so-simple.
Cross-browser testing takes a huge chunk of your time when you're going pure CSS.
<blockquote>"Oh it doesn't work in IE6/PC? Let's see if the <a href="http://tantek.com/CSS/Examples/boxmodelhack.html">Tantek Box Hack</a> will work".</blockquote>
<blockquote>"Something not where it should be? Let's see if we can have that positioned absolutely"</blockquote>
<blockquote>What? IE2/Commodore64? Pleeease. Do us all a favour and update your browser.</blockquote>
Honestly, I'm almost ready to throw in the towel and quit the "Web Standards community".It happened a few days ago when I was stuck on some positioning problem on IE6/PC. After hours of trying to solve it semantically, I gave up. I tried to see if I could modify the Tantek hack to feed IE6/PC something while the rest of the browsers got something else.
Common practice, right? Isn't it called code-forking, the sin <a href="http://zeldman.com/">Father Zeldman</a> warns us about in the <a href="http://zeldman.com/dwws/">Orange Bible</a>? But wait, the Orange Bible tells us the box hack is ok.
Can you imagine what would happen if Microsoft finally got their act together? How many CSS files need to be changed because we tantekized all of them? Embedded code! I'd much rather code-fork at this point; it makes future life easier.
I think a large number of us are coming to this realisation together. Halfway round the globe, <a href="http://www.andybudd.com/">Andy Budd</a> writes about <a href="http://www.andybudd.com/archives/2004/05/an_objective_look_at_table_based_vs_css_based_design/">how table-based layouts may be here to stay</a>. <a href="http://www.mezzoblue.com/">Dave Shea</a> puts up a rather convincing argument that <a href="http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2004/05/15/tables_oh_th/">the basic table layout could be semantic</a>.
I'm not going to say that we web standards folk have been wasting our time. I'm not saying it because it would be a premature statement; and just the thought of the price I've already paid going this direction scares the daylights out of me. What I will say is that we need to take steps towards coding utopia.
The one-time revolution thing will not work. Remember <a href="http://lesmis.com/">Les Mis</a>.

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