I just finished a site for an organization. Since this organization is "high profile", I took the CSS route (tableless layout) along with using XHTML strict (normally use transitional) and Accessability compliant.
I had no issues at all working with the strict or accessability part. My added coding time was minimum, than had I not used the guildlines for strict and accessability compliance.
When it came to CSS, my total time involved more that doubled. Almost tripled to be exact. I have used CSS in many different situations but never for a pure layout design.
I have learned much but trying to get the layout to work with the different browsers in different OS environments literaly had me banging my head on the desk a few times and drinking vast quantities of coffee.
My question is this.. Are professional designers actually going the CSS layout route as compared to using tables for layout? (I know tables were not designed for layout purposes). When I finally got the site to show correctly in linux, mac, and windows, with the different browsers available, my css code seems almost no better (hacks for browser compatibility) than if I was to use tables for a layout.
Any comments, suggestions or information would be appreciated. I am all for CSS but wonder if it is just me that is having such a hard time getting CSS layout to work cross platform / browser compatible or are for time reasons, professionals still using tables.
You admitted this was your first pure CSS layout design. Because of it, it would take you longer than what it will in the future. Are other professionals going to pure CSS layouts? Yes they are. The percentage of table based layouts is high, but slowly lowering. Just look at it this way, if you have to go and change an aspect of the layout now, it will be done easier with externally linked CSS(hopes that's where you defined your CSS) than having to change it on all of your pages.
The site helped me out quite a bit. Read the information there and followed some links to a tutorial on another site. It provided the missing comprehension link that I needed. Since reading the tutorial, I designed another site and my layout time decreased dramitically.
What is great about using CSS was when I got an email from the site I had created that started this thread asking for a complete visual makeover (they found something they liked and wanted a similar theme). Took me no time at all to make the changes as where with the table route, it would have required much more time!
Give yourself some time. After you get a few more all-CSS layouts under your belt and you get over the initial learning curve, your productivity should get better. If you hit snags enough times you soon figure out what works and what doesn't, and after a while you'll probably be surprised at how few bugs pop up once you go through initial browser testing .
Purely-CSS layouts is similar to cars. The first car you create will require a lot of learning and unnecessary maintenance to make up for problems you weren't aware of at first. Your second car will be of higher quality and require less maintenance. Your third will be even better. That's just the way things work