TAE keynote and CSS layout

the Ajaxian folks are doing their little summary of the past year or so as pertains to Ajax. One of the “trends” or opportunities they observe is doing layout using javascript. CSS got a panning. Now I understand that CSS layout is complex - no argument there. But doing layout in javascript is hardly new and proven to be a dead-end - at least with current browsers. In Dojo 0.9 the widget and widget infrastructure are taking a step back from javascript layout - it was one of the real performance killers in 0.4.

Some sites like the International Herald Tribune have been using javascript to layout and control the flow of the text with some success for a while. But as a strategy its risky and expensive - in terms of browser performance. Somethings you cant effectively do in CSS. Others CSS is by far your best tool. What we do need is more and more maturation of CSS solutions, and micro-format like standardization so you can drop in a new stylesheet to apply style and layout - without all the hair pulling. Oh and the browser support to make it all feasible.

Meantime - there’s a hybrid. You get as far as you feasibly/easily can with CSS, and use javascript as a sharp tool to tweak, and shuffle elements on the screen.