Sub:lime revisited | November 23, 2003
Since submitting my sub:lime design to the CSS Zen Garden I've been getting quite a few emails about it.
Most have been from people asking if they could use the design on their site. I try to explain to them that the CSS Zen Garden is aimed at helping people learn about CSS and not just a repository for cool CSS templates. I'm happy for people to use the CSS and layout as the basis for their site, but am less happy people just blatantly copying the design, images and all.
To these people I point them in the direction of these links:
Explain that I'd rather they not use the design wholesale but use it as a learning experience, and hope that they understand.
However this morning I got a wholly different and much more encouraging email from a chap called Dan.
I am about to partake in a redesign of my personal website to make use of CSS layouts. In preparing to do so, I have been practicing with the zengarden layout. I selected your design and did my best to duplicate it using only styles (no images) as an excercise. I would like to share with you the result of my tests:
Obviously by doing away with images you do loose some features, such as the side gradients. However, I think you might find that I discovered some optimizations in your design. I was able to avoid using the extraDiv1 and I found that many of the images simply aren't needed.
Now this kind of thing strikes me as the very reason behind the CSS Zen Garden and why the CSS is released under a creative commons licence. It's not to allow people to "steal" the designs and use them on their site, it's to allow people like Dan to break the CSS down, see how it works and come up with new and innovative solutions, while at the same time leaning about tableless design.
The solutions Dan has come up with are great. I'm the first to admit that the CSS makes far too much reliance on image replacement techniques such as FIR, and includes a couple of nasty little hacks, both of which Dan has managed to minimize/fix.
Now some people would see this kind of recodes as rude and insulting, however personally I think they're great. Apart from giving Dan the opportunity to try out his CSS skills on a design he obviously must like, I've learnt a thing or two as well. I spent about an hour going through his stylesheet this morning, looking at the changes he'd made and noting down ways I could improve my own CSS in the future.
So nice one Dan. I hope to see a few less people simply helping themselves to my Zen Garden Design and a few more people using it as the resource and inspiration it was intended to be.
Posted at November 23, 2003 1:29 PM