Annoyed with ‘modern’ internet technology

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that every innovation or change in working practice in the internet industry seems to result in tasks taking more work and costing more money.

CSS is a big gripe

Supposedly, with the introduction of standards and the death of Netscape as a popular browser, the development of websites was going to be much easier. We could just build to standards and CSS and everything would be fine. And of course, CSS separates style from content so it’s so much cheaper to update a site. Except, it never is.

Instead, it seems to take a developer twice the time to build and test a CSS template and entail twice as much moaning. “Bloody IE 5 on the Mac” (hailed for its standards compliance by the self-proclaimed “Web Standards Project” when it was released) is a frequent cry heard around the office. Now, it seems, it’s not standards compliant enough. And nor is Internet Explorer 6 because there are some features in CSS 2 that you can implement in Safari that we must have for this page blah blah blah. Or, of course, “we can’t build that design in css because the technology doesn’t work like tables”. If they’d leave off the words “like tables” then I’d agree with that statement even more.

Caveat: I’m all for structured markup, but what replaces a hack has to be better than the hack itself. It’s like inventing a paint-pot tin opener that opens paint-pots less efficiently than using a screwdriver, but using a screwdriver to open a paint pot isn’t ‘semantic’.

.Net is another big fat white elephant

“Object-oriented code reduces development time”. Maybe that’s true, but it seems to lead to hammers being used to crack walnuts. It recently took a developer I know with 5 years VB experience and 18 months of .Net experience nearly a day to build an e-mail form. (Just the back-end – the front-end had already been built, in about the same time in CSS, of course.) I’m pretty sure I could build an e-mail form in ASP or PHP in about 10 minutes. I could probably do one in Perl quicker than that, and I don’t know Perl. (I do know .Net, so that shows something.)

Personally, as a programmer, I like C# a lot, but as a businessman it seems to take five times as long to write something relatively simple. I can’t see how this is progress – okay, a PHP script might be a bit more buggy (although that depends to some degree on the programmer) but in all the time saved I think you could afford a lot of time for testers, and probably spend the same again fixing the bugs.

There are probably a dozen more “modern technologies” out there that could do with slagging off, but CSS and ASP.Net are getting on my nerves enough for now.

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