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lateral drift

After long and stressful projects, I usually allow myself a period of “lateral drift” where I spend time learning nifty things I have no time for. After a sustained period of MUST DO, MUST DO, MUST DO … I relax with the optional, slowly sneaking up on my responsibilities again. It’s my way of combatting burnout, and discovering new directions.

My last period of lateral drift was the fall of 2003, wherein I found the Semantic Web and started this blog. This current drifting time lasted two months, wherein I revisited at length the state of Web standards, and spent some fun time with neural nets and evolutionary algorithms.

I just finished Eric Meyer’s new edition of Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide. I highly recommend this book to anyone that really wants to know the ins and outs of CSS. It’s a technology that seems simple enough on the surface, but a book like Eric’s brings out the hidden truths behind it in very useful ways.

To date, Immuexa has used CSS as a font style sheet tool, much as you would in Microsoft Word. There’s a world of difference between this pedestrian use and the startling beauty of the CSS Zen Garden. Many thanks to Dave Shea and friends for making the power of this seemingly simple technology so immediately apparent. Also thanks to the W3C for keeping the faith until we reached near universal browser support. Hell, even Microsoft has gotten off its duff to make IE7, which will support CSS2.1, believe it or not!

So now as I head back to more practical pursuits, I’ll take my new knowledge and rework our websites to use tableless designs. We’ve been a slice-and-dice shop for quite a while now. Dave Shea and Eric Meyers have inspired me to a higher standard for all our sites … eventually 🙂

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