Monday, August 22, 2011

Css, page design and Rails applications

I think a lot about function and form when I'm coding. I hate looking at the default black text on white body when working on an application, so I usually do some basic styling early in development. I definitely tend to get bogged down with CSS, spending entirely too much time adjusting margins, padding and other granular details, but I don't think styling can be entirely separated from the function of an application.

For example, I created a basic navigation partial, wrapped it in a div and styled it to appear at the top of all the pages in my Manticore app. I'm not sure how this will change in the final version, or if I'll keep it at all, but it certainly helps out right now, when I want to quickly switch back and forth to test navigation or to see how a change in the code works. Or if it works at all!

How do you work with styling when developing a new application? Do you leave it until the end, or do you do some basic styling and then polish it up later? Do you have someone else do it? I know it doesn't make sense to style something that may not be included in the final version of an application, but I'm not sure how other developers work when it comes to basic styling.

Agile Web Development with Rails did styling early on in the development, with some minor tweaks here and there later. It was coming from the perspective of working for a client who wanted an e-commerce site created, so that may have had something to do with getting page styles hammered out early.