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gfisch's picture
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plain html vs css

DCElliott wrote:
Not sure what you mean by a "visual tool for CSS" The FF edit styles bookmarklet or the Web developer toolbar both allow real-time CSS editing capabilities although without any handholding in terms of syntax or error checking.

There is an inherent difficulty in having a visual CSS-P editor since the same appearance can be created by wildly different CSS-P with different functionality and behaviours (as well as different advantages and problems). You can't just mouse in a block on the canvas and have <div id="xyz"></div> appear in an HTML file and #xyz {position:relative; width:auto; margin:0 10%;} in a CSS file - how would the visual editor know what positioning context you want, or whether you want content offset with margins or padding and so on.

The best tool I have is a library of base CSS-P layouts (like those found at CSS-Discuss or Ruthsarian or Position is Everything) that I may draw upon plus a collection of 'affordances' (menus buttons and behaviours) that I generally apply. I also have a section that I use for color schemes and fontography. Designing one's CSS in a modular fashion allows some mix & match. In fact, if one completely separates CSS-P from the general styles, you have a perfect vehicle for style switching. (an illustration of this can be seen at: this example )

The best I can see DW or similar product producing is a good annotated CSS-P design library with a browse function. Having an editor with simultaneous real-time preview based on CSS and HTML editing windows would be gravy. (and a loud horn to go off when non-valid code is entered, just for hugo)


ok - thanks DCE - that makes sense to me. Thanks for clarifying. I just come from the old world - have learned to manage html to a certain amount ... and lately even prefer to work in the code mode in DW because - yes - it is true - it makes you better if you understand what your are coding (with the help of visual tools).

So lets end this thread - I got what I wanted - a deeper understanding why and how I will learn CSS.

Thanks to all (Code-Nasiz, Visual-Slobs and muted lurkers)