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CSS Maintainability – Serious Style Sheets

Simon Willison brought up the fact that now that Slashdot has gone totally CSS in their website design and layout, that CSS has now gained respectability. He brings up a good point:

What’s needed is a well understood set of techniques for writing maintainable stylesheets. I’m interested in collecting advice on this, especially from people who have tackled this problem in a situation where more than one person has to work on the same CSS code. I’m particularly interested in ideas on how to best split up a large set of rules over multiple stylesheets.

His invitation brought out the forces and I thought you might be interested in what they have to say.

Web Graphics created a list of personal preferences for creating maintainable CSS. Digital Web’s article, Architecting CSS says, “we’re turning to CSS to handle presentational heavy lifting more than ever. The more we rely upon CSS, the larger and more complex CSS files become. These files bring with them a few maintenance and organizational challenges.” Mozilla even features “Writing Efficient CSS” by David Hyatt to help website designers understand how to write solid CSS. Mezzoblue’s “CSS Redundancy vs. Dependency” says, “As the amount of variance between different templates increases, you can go in one of two directions: you can either code for redundancy, or code for dependency.” Content With Style’s “Modular CSS” looks at maintainable CSS as modular, creating grouped and categorized CSS elements as building blocks in the style sheet. Stop Design offers the same tips and advice, the better organized your CSS, the easier to maintain.

Basically, they all say the same thing. The best way to develop maintainable CSS style sheets is to keep them clean, structured, organized in groups, and make sure that the HTML/XHTML architecture structure is fully loaded with tons of style references to you can precious control the look of your site into the future, working only from the style sheet. The portfolio from CSS Zen Garden is a prime example of how a solidly built site architecture template can move with the changes in the CSS of a site.


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2 Comments

  1. Posted October 14, 2005 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The best way to develop maintainable CSS style sheets is to keep them clean, structured, organized in groups…

    This is why I hate working with kubrick.

    Alphabetical listings work great for lots of things…but I don’t think stylesheets are one of them.

    But maybe it’s just me. ;)

  2. Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

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