by Scott Fegette
You've probably faced this problem many times as a web developer or designer after switching your skillset to CSS-based layouts: writing a page that's a gleaming model of W3C best practices and validates beautifully but still doesn't render consistently across all your target browsers. Perhaps it's a missing background in Internet Explorer 6 or a bit of extra white space you didn't expect in Mozilla-based browsers like Firefox, Netscape, or Camino. Whatever the reason, arcane and inconsistent browser rendering can drive a normally sane CSS designer crazy.
You've likely resorted to Google searches or trolling newsgroups to find the answer because the best information you can find on fixing, resolving, or hacking around annoying rendering bugs is scattered across a variety of newsgroups, mailing list archives, blogs, and websites. Even worse, solutions can change, and new browsers and bugs can arise. It's often a futile effort to keep up with new developments in CSS-based design.
To help address this problem, Adobe has launched a new website called CSS Advisor to help collect and reference all this shared wisdom. The best part about it is that you — the web design community — can directly help everyone keep it relevant, fresh, and timely. If you're new to CSS design, this site will help you learn quickly because it offers real-world examples and solutions. If you're an old hand at standards-based design, come share your wisdom with the community. We expect this site will be instrumental to future versions of Dreamweaver, but it's also a destination in and of itself.
At its core, CSS Advisor is a reference to specific problems and their solutions. It points to all the great, extended information available on the Internet — wherever it may live. Each posting on CSS Advisor allows for a concise description of a specific problem and its solution, and can adapt to include rich screenshots and sample images, uploaded sample files and code, as well as descriptive tags to help you navigate through the issues and find related problems that may quickly solve your specific bug or issue. But a community isn't a community without feedback and the ability to share. You can comment on posts, rate them to help fellow designers see how effective they've been for you, and even submit posts to del.icio.us and Digg for wider distribution.
Best of all, the design community can easily add content to CSS Advisor — whether it's about rendering issues with CSS, browser-specific workarounds and hacks, or any other issues — and keep it timely. If you already publish information about web design tricks, tips, and workarounds, come add your thoughts or summarize your advice on CSS Advisor and link it to your other postings.
Have you recently found a workaround to that tricky design bug that's been nagging you? Let us help you get the word out. Just add a new post and tell the world. The collective wisdom of the design community makes the overall content better. Selected members of the community will also serve as site editors to moderate CSS Advisor and incorporate good suggestions into existing posts.
On behalf of the Dreamweaver team, I welcome you to visit CSS Advisor and share your wisdom. Add content and help comment and improve articles already posted. Tell the community what you think of the articles via the rating and comment features. Let's work together to make CSS Advisor as rich a resource as possible for designers worldwide to share and index good knowledge on great, cross-browser, CSS-based design.
Scott Fegette is the Technical Product Manager for Dreamweaver at Adobe - focusing on web standards, community outreach and developer relations. After hours, Scott is a professional musician and photographer.