Blueprints are not final

Friday, August 10, 2007

So apparently a little framework called Blueprint ( has reared it’s head, born from a few stylesheets that look very familiar. I’m somewhat conflicted with its release because I don’t think it should be used. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but don’t use it.

About five or so months ago I was working on the Journal-World ( redesign. News sites tend to be very column heavy and I was getting tired of writing the same code over and over to accommodate for my design iterations. One day Jeff ( and I discussed some ways to maximized code reuse and speed up this process of going from Photoshop to markup. Later that night I sketched out a method for easily defining grid structures and columns. My attempt was pretty crude and over the next week or so it become a lot more solid with the help of Jeff and Christian ( After adding styles for type and common lists we had formed a pretty powerful time saving solution. I could quickly prototype mockups in hours. The only problem was it wasn’t semantic. Things like span-4, unit, and block polluted the HTML and CSS.

At first I was okay with this because my focus was getting the redesign on the right track, however, looking back it was the wrong decision. Un-semantic code goes against everything the Standards movement has fought for.

Do I shed a tear? No. I’m not an elitist in this area anymore and I don’t go sniffing for validation errors because I value usability, style and harmony more. But, the blatant un-semantic-ness of this framework still disgusts me.

So I was quite surprised and sickened to find out Olav launched this almost identical framework, Blueprint. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for prototyping but don’t settle for it. Good semantic names are worth every penny. Also, frameworks don’t belong in markup languages. They just don’t.