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“Se tu pur mo in questo mondo cieco caduto sè di quella dolce terra latina ond'io mia colpa tutta reco...”
( If you are fallen now inside this blind world, coming from that sweet latin land because of which I bear all my fault... )
- Dante Alighieri
This article focuses on the CSS panorama in Italy, the land where angels fear to tread. In the following paragraphs we'll take a look at five key websites devoted to CSS and web standards.
I'd like to stress that Italian developers are not simply mere imitators of their Anglo-American counterparts, but real CSS developers. What's more, the CSS scene in Italy is growing faster and faster, since the the CSS2 specs were released in May 1998 (spring is here again, tender age in bloom).
The New Millennium revelead its profecy: CSS are absolutely real. The new standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is not a mere abstraction of meaningless rules without context, but an useful way to find the road to the universal access on the WWW.
Just like Cortes, many Italian developers decided to burn their ships, made of nested tables and presentational markup, to devote themselves to the new standard. Finally the CSS2 specs were translated into Italian by me and Michele Diodati in July 2006, to provide both Italian users and developers with a basic resource in their own language.
It dawns again.
Bruno Fassino is one of the best known Italian authors
on the WWW. His CSS tests and experiments, together
with the resources of Position Is Everything
and Meyerweb, are undoubtedly
of primary importance for a full comprehension of browser issues with
CSS and related bugs (e.g Internet Explorer's bugs).
Bruno's first work, Datarc, reveals all his qualities, including
a good balance between content and presentation, or
a very simple site, no pretension to advanced layout” (Bruno Fassino).
In Bruno's work:
“There was no first transition to CSS. Gradually I utilized their potential, first using them for their practical aspects, rather than like a means to separate content from presentation.”
- Bruno Fassino
During the first period of his journey through CSS depths, he used to frequent the CSS-discuss mailing list, where he met Big John from Position Is Everything. Big John encouraged him to write for PIE an article on the Internet Explorer's italic bug. He owes much of his interest in CSS to Big John.
Where do Bruno's tests come from? Basically, from the need to have an help for himself, to remember the problems encountered and the possible solutions.
“My tests are a bit confused set of pages. Some of them can be understood only if you read the code and yet someone finds them interesting and useful. I'm always positively surprised by that.”
- Bruno Fassino
Bruno is also one of the co-authors of
On Having Layout, a brilliant study on the
hasLayout in Internet Explorer (Windows).
The basic concept of this study is that “
a lot of Internet Explorer's rendering inconsistencies can be fixed
by giving an element 'layout'”.
IE/Win: inline-block and hasLayout is one of Bruno's shares to the article.
In the Cascading Style Sheets panorama of Italy, the sun is surely represented by the resources located at http://css.html.it. Most of Italian designers are grown up using this sort of breviary on the way to full standards compliancy. Articles and reference guides are written in a simple and rich language, providing also an excellent variety of well-written examples. Authors like Alessandro Fulciniti, Cesare Lamanna, Marcello Cerruti and others, share their knowledge with users and designers on this Italian side of the Web. A couple of months ago a blog was published under the name of <edit>, where authors and users can discuss various arguments related to Cascading Style Sheets and Web standards.
Italian developers are especially grateful to Michele Diodati and his website, Diodati.org, that first showed the features of CSS when used to improve accessibility. Accessibility Features of CSS was published as a W3C Note in August 1999. Two years later Michele started to develop his website, that soon become a point of reference in Italy. Basically, Michele Diodati uses the Cascading Style Sheets language as a means, not as an end. This is particularly useful when you have to reach a good balance between content and presentation, because content creates the presentation and not viceversa.
A good example of this reached balance is the Pesanervi blog, an accessible "diary of thoughts" written with the needs of users in mind. As far as I know, this is the first Italian blog that I can read without using the browser's magnifying option. In an interview, Michele showed the techniques used to make his blog accessible for a large variety of users. In fact, universal access is one of the goals of the World Wide Web Consortium.
Back to September 2006