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July 26, 2006

Dvorak Reloaded

You know, having got stuck into John Dvorak the other day, I kinda feel a little bad now. See, underneath it all, I sense his frustration with CSS. And I do agree both the issues of browser compatibility and the learning curve with a new technology can be frustrating. It's actually why we wrote "Everything you ever wanted to know about Style" (now called the Complete CSS Guide, but the earlier name I still like more) coming up to 8 years ago, and Style Master, and why we've developed courses and continue developing Style Master, why I run workshops, and conferences.

So enough negativity: here is something positive I am going to suggest. I want to help Mr Dvorak, and show that CSS is not as big a pain as sometimes people think it is. That CSS actually works, that it can easily be made to be cross browser, and that it can achieve beautiful results with very little effort.

So here is a challenge for all you CSS designers:

Develop a CSS redesign of John Dvorak's blog.

  • Make it work across all contemporary browsers with no browser hacks

  • You have 25 statements or fewer to use (to demonstrate that good CSS based design doesn't have to be complex)

  • Document your work with comments so someone new to CSS can see what you've done and why

Dvorak uses WordPress 2.0, so at least the HTML you'll be working with is reasonably nice and clean - but please no one try to pass off Kubrick as your own work ok :-)

The first 10 redesigns we receive, will receive a free copy of Style Master for Mac OS X and Windows (Valued at $USD80).
In addition, we'll give the best redesign $100 of iTunes credit, and 4 "runners up" $50 iTunes credit.

John Dvorak gets a nice new blog. And the world gets to see CSS can be straightforward, actually does work, and produce elegant results.

So, get designing!

July 26, 2006 | Permalink


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Here is my little try: http://dmitry.baranovskiy.com/temp/Dvorak/
I know I am bad designer, but I hope it is at least not worse than an original.
CSS: http://dmitry.baranovskiy.com/temp/Dvorak/css.html

Posted by: Dmitry Baranovskiy | Jul 26, 2006 4:04:31 PM

Hah! Neat idea! Okay, now to think something up ...

Posted by: Adam Schilling | Jul 26, 2006 5:07:21 PM

Copy of Style Master for you Dimitry! Nice


Posted by: John Allsopp | Jul 26, 2006 7:06:38 PM

Nice idea Mr. A. I'm feeling bad now too about picking on Mr. Dvorak, let's hope this brings him comfort. ;)

Posted by: Malarkey | Jul 26, 2006 7:48:22 PM

Wait... does this mean those involved with Too Many Cooks (http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/archives/way_too_many_cooks_dvorak_special.html ) get to share a copy of Style Master? ;)

Posted by: gb | Jul 27, 2006 3:25:22 AM

And, what will happen if he doesn't want it?

Posted by: Sean Fraser | Jul 27, 2006 8:22:55 AM

I was just working on it before I realized that I needed to use the exact same HTML.
Does it matter if I use a different HTML?

Posted by: Alan Orozco | Jul 27, 2006 8:32:46 AM

And another try: http://dmitry.baranovskiy.com/temp/DvorakPlant/
CSS: http://dmitry.baranovskiy.com/temp/DvorakPlant/css/

It is not 100% clean. 25 rules is not enough to clean all this crap, which Dvorak put in right column.

Posted by: Dmitry Baranovskiy | Jul 27, 2006 10:17:01 AM


even nicer

Alan, use your own Wordpress HTML if you like But if it just works with Dvorak's site is best


Posted by: john Allsopp | Jul 27, 2006 11:30:31 AM

The default WordPress page is much easier to skin up… because it’s valid. Not like Mr.Dvorak’s page. :)

Posted by: Dmitry Baranovskiy | Jul 27, 2006 1:22:57 PM

We get people complaining and questioning everything there is to Web Standards and the very incompleteness of W3C specifications - http://www.csarven.ca/where-are-my-web-standards - about this EVERY single day in IRC Efnet #CSS.

There is no difference between Dvorak (other then his name in the uninformed community) and the regular user that joins our channel. We help them with their issues one at a time, but certainly don't develop their site for 'free', just to prove a point.

Granted Dvorak may have the voice to reach to a lot more people then a regular developer, but certainly no different when it comes down to learning a set of skills to get the job done. I suggest he does what we do; practice, practice, practice.

Posted by: Sarven Capadisli | Jul 28, 2006 12:37:09 AM

Working on one now but it by the looks of it, it isn't CSS thats the problem here (which we all knew anyway) but the quality of the HTML. I'll try to put together some styles to do the blog as is and with cleaner HTML but to be honest I think it the HTML needs to vaguely correct before this will work as well as it should though I can see why you would need it to just work otherwise he will think that its a flaw of CSS rather than the HTML...

Posted by: David Joseph | Jul 29, 2006 9:21:12 AM

You know if you want to do this right how about I throw out a spec or wish list and also sweeeten the post with some more added goodies. I'm game.

Posted by: John C. Dvorak | Jul 29, 2006 12:18:23 PM

John, great, we are game too! Tell us what you want. You can post it in comments or email me at john at westciv dot com if you want me to put it in the main part of the post.

Posted by: John Allsopp | Jul 29, 2006 4:55:14 PM

Glad that this is taken in the spirit its offered, A question for John (Dvorak). Will you be taking Molly up on her offer too? http://www.molly.com/2006/07/27/dear-john-dvorak/
So should we all hold off until we have the wishlist (please let that include valid HTML as its far easier to style up with valid (or close to) code. That John (D again) may well have been your issue in styling...

Posted by: David Joseph | Jul 30, 2006 1:35:22 AM

I guess http://www.molly.com/2006/07/27/dear-john-dvorak/#comment-70673 answers that... I'm still game to help out though

Posted by: David Joseph | Aug 2, 2006 5:16:37 AM

My version (based on Dmitry's design from his permission): http://webmascon.com/temp/max/dworak-redesigned/. I've tried to get more ordered feel-n-look but I'm also think that 25 rules is not enough to clean all this crap, which Dvorak put in right column.

Posted by: Maksim Rossomachin | Aug 5, 2006 10:42:49 PM

Ok 25 styles is probably not that good for this markup? How about 10? :) My design http://scrambledheads.co.uk/dvorak/ it isn't fantastically well designed, I know, but it is John's orignal page with no changes (I don't think)

Posted by: David Joseph | Aug 7, 2006 2:47:21 AM

P.s. this isn't meant as a slight to the other (better designed) designs on here as it was v.difficult to get this to work with the (Sorry John) terrible HTML. It is meant more to show the minimal styles needed to give some styling to the site and keep it (the CSS) simple.
I was going to change the mark-up to something a little more compliant but without the "spec or wish list" I felt it was probably better to wait...

Posted by: David Joseph | Aug 7, 2006 2:54:22 AM

Dmitry & David some nice work there - and I have to agree about the markup making it difficult after I had a bash at it. Dmitry, I don't think you're a bad designer and I especially like your second design :o)
My effort is quite different from my usual style and is over at http://fluff.velvet.id.au/dvorak/

and the CSS is at http://fluff.velvet.id.au/dvorak/dvorak2.css

Oh, and I wrote about it at http://www.velvet.id.au/2006/07/29/this-is-what-happens-when-i-become-ill/

Posted by: Sarah | Aug 8, 2006 3:04:12 PM

Maksim, I missed your comment the first time around, but wow, that looks so clean. I'll have a closer look after work :o)

Posted by: Sarah | Aug 8, 2006 3:07:06 PM

Tnx, Sarah. CSS makin' things better! ;-)

Posted by: Maksim Rossomachin | Aug 10, 2006 12:48:58 AM

Finally people start taking the challenge. That’s cool!
But I am just wondering, John, could I write another 8 designs (just to be 10 in total) and, instead of all these funky prizes, receive the one, which I desperately want, but can’t effort — ticket to WD06?

Posted by: Dmitry Baranovskiy | Aug 10, 2006 2:10:03 PM

Is the contest still running? Or where are the winners listed?

Posted by: Stephen | Dec 30, 2006 5:46:11 AM