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Why do we love CSS3?

There are many benefits to using a CSS framework – cross-browser consistency (XBC) being one of the huge ones, off the cuff – and once you begin using one (whether as a designer or developer), you will likely never go back. In this article we cover what else CSS frameworks allow for.

 

Greater efficiency in site development and maintenance

With a CSS framework, such as 960.gs, Blueprint, or YUI, you easily gain the ability to prototype directly in browser rather than having to work in Photoshop. These frameworks allow for quick manipulation of content into a structure without wasting time building out custom positioning for each element in the web page. This functionality increases efficiency by allowing developers to spend more time on the wow factor (HTML5, CSS3, & JavaScript awesomeness), and less time on mundane <div>, et al alignments.

 

Better XBC code with greater reliability and faster bug fixes

With a CSS framework, you are able to build tableless, XBC sites quickly, efficiently and, most importantly, reliably. On top of that, the library of code and designs you build can be tweaked and modified as you progress, making work quicker and easier. These features give developers more time to create amazing interactivity on sites, as well as design cool user interface (UI) hints, interactions, and more.

Developers building sites with <table> tags are basically duplicating sites from the 90s. Why drive a ‘91 Toyota Camry when you are paying for an ‘05 Audi A4? Developing sites with tables is bad, but almost equally as problematic is a site without a CSS framework, and I guarantee that using these frameworks will forever change how you code.

 

Lower cost of maintenance and feature development

Websites utilizing a modular style have positioning standards that simplify feature creation and remove doubt about what will work in a given space. Developers no longer have to spend time worrying about positioning styles or space restrictions, decreasing the need to collaborate with designers on trivial issues, such as the alignment of certain pieces of content.

 

Visual consistency across site design and a reset of default browser styles

When a site utilizes a modular site design alongside a CSS Framework, it is much easier for developers to adhere to and maintain consistency of the original visual design. Cross-collaboration between designers and developers leads to better readability, scan-ability, flexibility, and overall page cohesiveness.

 

Isolation of positioning styles from design styles

Another widely overlooked perk of the CSS framework is the isolation of the visual design from positioning elements on the webpage. This separation not only protects the site from inadvertent styling errors, but also helps back-end and front-end developers visualize the look of the site by simply referencing the class names given to elements.

 

Learning curve advantages

I sometimes hear the pushback, “The learning curve could be high.” In actuality, though, the learning curve will probably be lower than a completely proprietary CSS codebase, as the developers brought onto the project will likely be familiar with CSS frameworks. On top of that, since the framework is consistent in its naming conventions and styles, a developer will know how to utilize the grid quickly and will not have to figure out styles of the prior developers. In fact, a completely proprietary code base eats up much more time, because a developer has to read through the entire CSS file to understand positioning and design. Unlike a gridded layout, where the developer can look directly at the classes assigned to the elements, understand the positioning, and trust the framework has been tried and tested to be reliable, a proprietary code base is prone to errors and lacks oversight.

If you are not currently using a gridded layout on your website, I would strongly recommend taking a look into using blueprint, 960.gs, or YUI.

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