Good. Evil. Bratwurst.

Yeah, but …

Posted on by arlen

Every now and then, someone comes up with a solution that seems so obviously wrong you immediately open your mouth to object. But by the time your mouth opens your brain has done some more processing, and you realize what you’re about to say isn’t really an objection. Nor is the next thing. And you realize he’s thought it through a little more than you have. And you’re left with your mouth hanging open and nothing to say.

Derek Powazek just did that to me. On first hearing, his proposal to put images in pages as div backgrounds is just so wrong that my tongue trips over my teeth in its haste to make the declaration. My lungs fill, my mouth opens.

And then my brain cuts in. “Wait a minute, guys, he may have something here.” My tongue and mouth drop, slack with astonishment.

It’s definitely an idea. It’s not perfect, as he acknowledges, but it’s a low-cost reasonable-effort attempted solution to a real problem.

As my brain catches up with Derek’s (I reassure myself that’s only necessary because he had a head start on this, but deep down I know I’m a liar) I can only come to rest on two objections:

  1. It wrecks the semantic markup of the page. Images that are important to the content, as opposed to just ornaments, are supposed to be marked up as such, not as some empty div. But enough of a case can be made for that approach being as semantic as most microformats that to turn it into a sticking point seems almost pedantic.
  2. It doesn’t print or syndicate well. But when it comes to that, my biggest annoyance in the Lifehacker RSS feed is that it’s too bloody long. I want my RSS feed to be a digest, a “teaser;” I’ll go visit the website if I want the full story. And who stores web items as hardcopy anymore?

Having answered all my own objections, I’m going to have to sit down and shut up, for now. And think. Thanks, Derek.

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January 2008
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