My first ALA article from 2000

Today it’s A List Apart’s 20th birthday. 20th? Yup. Time flies when you’re having fun with browsers.

Anyway, after congratulating Zeldman I reminisced about the very first article I ever wrote for a site other than my own, back in January 2000. (I thought it was 1999, but I turned out to be wrong.) I knew it was no longer on the ALA site, but Zeldman filled me in on the reasons why, which I’d never heard before. The two of us agreed it was a pity, and how we’d love to reread it — especially since I still remember the first paragraph fondly.

Anyway. It took someone else to remind me the article might still exist in the Wayback Machine. Why didn’t I think of that myself? Probably because I’m too lazy busy.

Lo and behold: there it was: fear of style sheets. With good old Joe Stalin on the masthead image, exactly as I remembered. (Zeldman never explained why he picked Uncle Joe, so I still don’t know, and he’s probably forgotten.)

Money quote:

Rule 1) ANY browser should be able to access the content of the site.
Rule 2) Rule 1 does NOT imply that the site should look the same in each browser.

Did we learn anything in the next 18 years? Nope.

Is that surprising? Nope.

Have we become less afraid of style sheets? Nope. (Looking at you, JavaScript developers.)

Anyway, no real conclusion here; just fond memories and a surprisingly modern message if you ignore the browsers the article talks about.

Read it for yourself: Fear of style sheets 3: a new era.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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