Table-based sites looked great, but achieving a consistent look was difficult, and maintaining sites of complex pages could be exhausting. CSS separated the formatting from the content, giving designers the power to create styles that worked across many pages.
- This period as CSS emerged, probably '96, '97 in particular there was sort of this sense that the approach of the table base layout hacks, just they weren't the right way to do this. There had to be a better way. - By using CSS people were able to get equivalent layouts without tons of markup tricks. Typify their markup, make it better. - It was a gold rush era with CSS. It was kind of this big boom.
We could leave HTML tables as layout if we could only find ways of using CSS floats to make layouts and so everyone was trying everything to make great layouts. - CSS was the ability to do things smarter. This ability to define one single look and feel in one place and apply that to all your documents was fantastic.
- These were the sorts of things that started exciting people, because they meant that web technologies like CSS took us beyond what tables could do. - One of the things that we've seen. Browser developers understand is that once there's a need identified this stuff slowly will move into the native web. - There are some things in the original CSS that clearly came from what people were doing with their table layout.
Some of them even explicitly say so like floats. The specification basically said, "That is a thing you can do with tables. You can do that same thing, except you can do it with anything." (upbeat music)
In the film, Matt Griffin knits together a narrative from dozens of conversations with important figures from throughout the web's history. He interviews Tim Berners-Lee, Denise Jacobs, Jeffrey Zeldman, Ethan Marcotte, Chris Wilson, Lyza Danger Gardner, Eric Meyer, Irene Au, Alex Russell, Trent Walton, Val Head, Jonathan Snook, and many more. The result is a series of unique insights about why the web is structured the way it is, why standards matter, how mobile disrupted everything, and why the web isn't done growing.