In my day we used <TABLE>

I got into the dev field through the back door. I started out making ad banners and designing silly little sponsored sites like the one I did for the retirement of the Dunkin Donuts guy. Once I got involved with ASP, SQL, and writing middle tier components I ran screaming from the design world. To be honest, I was never a good designer anyway, I just had a knack for using the software and understood how to write HTML and Javascript.

Being a web designer, even a crappy one like I was, is tough. First of all, people usually don’t understand what’s happening in the middle tier (and I’m including project managers in “people”) so they keep their opinions to themselves to some extent. Anyone and their mom feels perfectly comfortable walking up to a designer and saying “hey, shouldn’t that be bigger? and maybe blinking?”.

The other thing that really blows about being a designer is the lack of a single runtime environment. You can’t just hit Build and let the compiler tell you if what you’ve written works. You have to test it in IE, and then test it in Firebird, and then test it in IE on Mac. It’s a pain.

Well, seeing as I now have a blog, I’m going to have to get back into design to some extent. Rather than sticking to what I’m comfortable with, I’ve chosen to try to catch up with the state of the art. Using XHTML isn’t difficult since I’m a big XML fan…no, my new white whale is the wonderful stylesheet language CSS.

My first dip into the pool came when Sarah asked that I help her add a picture to her blog. Now, in the good old days of <table> based layouts I could have done this with my eyes closed. I finally hacked a workable solution for IE, but Mozilla still doesn’t like it and won’t put the picture on the same vertical plane as the rest of the content. If anyone reads this and is feeling charitable, I promise not to be offended if you explain what I’m doing wrong.