I signed up while tracking Jason, (deathshadow60) and a long thread about a standard (right) way to design web pages . I am reminded of Gny.Sgt Hartman from Full Metal Jacket! Imagine him staying in character to scare one of the most intimidating movie makers (a favourite of mine), Stanley Kubrick!
I like the way deathshadow60 writes his code. Clean, easy and elegant. Reminds me of my Math teacher's classy derivations which were a joy to follow along with her precise explanations. I like the fact that I can take a peek into deathshadow60's code and adapt it. I think we should learn from every type of approach. To say one method is the supreme one, is to be very myopic. One size does not fit all. A successful website/app/publication is pulled off while balancing possibilities and limitations.
I remember a time when people used to be against the visual ugliness of HTML pages. They would resort to spacer gifs and table based layouts to get pixel precise layouts. I even bought the book. It was called Creating Killer Sites by David Siegel. His articles were quite wonderful. He became one of the first "HTML terrorists" who subverted Web Standards! Almost everything in that book is now outdated (and strictly forbidden!)... except, that wonderful attitude of craftsmanship he brought to the task of making websites, which still lives on... handcoding, tweaking images, careful choice of (web safe!) colors etc. If there is one common factor behind every well designed site, it is that passion for getting the details right. The approach of using Photoshop as the launchpad to create visual layouts can be traced back to that bygone era.
The swing to the other side where visual impact has been discarded for pure usability and efficiency is also interesting. The arguments of usability experts are quite valid. Content is King. Nonetheless, I think it is safe to say that there will never be one supreme way to build websites. It is closer to architecture that way. Form vs. Function arguments are as old as art and architecture. You need to strike a balance and test out the pages/ sites/ apps you create against your target audience/ user base/ purpose. Your clients have to be satisfied. Your clients' goals have to be achieved. What you build today with HTMLX with Y methods are going to be forgotten or rendered obsolete as the medium explodes at its rapid pace. What is right today will not ring so true and right tomorrow. Standards themselves are shifting as platforms emerge and change. I can think of new interfaces emerging and new paradigms of interactivity sidelining all the carefully planned approaches of today.
Spacer gifs, flash eyecandy to semantic markup to html5 boilerplate...if there is one lesson, it is that there is no one supreme "correct" way to build for the web. The web is constantly changing, much faster than any medium for which designers have built before.
Besides, I much more a fan of Staff Sergeant Lloyd from "Boys of Company C". FMJ was 'cute' -- for a sensationalist remake... unfortunately there's no good youtube links for that -- but at least both characters, Lloyd and Hartman, are played by an actual USMC Gunney... R. Lee Ermey.
Move it up until the private in front of you smiles...