Handcrafted CSS


With so many CSS frameworks out there, it’s tempting to rely on them for every situation. I remember when I first discovered them. I thought wow, this will save so much time. These convenient column classes and pre-built grids are awesome. For years, I wouldn’t start a project without them.

Years ago, I asked my web design teacher for his opinion on CSS frameworks. He said he didn’t use them, but if you like them, you can use whatever “floats your boat”. I didn’t understand why at the time, and I didn’t understand why for a long time. Until recently…

I decided to update the design for this website. I went back into the old source code and theme files. Most of the CSS had been hand-written, in the days before I had discovered CSS frameworks. The HTML was uncluttered with grid classes. Everything just seemed simpler. There was no massive framework file, where 90% of it isn’t even used. Just plain old CSS.

As I was updating the design, I realized that the simplicity of not having a framework gave me more freedom to be creative. Instead of working my design to fit the framework, I had more control over the pixels. I found that I really enjoyed having that level of control, where I could set precise percentages.

Sure, you can override the classes or write your own CSS in conjunction with a framework, but most of it is psychological. If the convenience classes are there, I’m going to feel tempted to use them instead of write my own. Maybe that’s why so many sites these days look like Bootstrap.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic. I could be wrong about all of this. All I know is that it was a lot of fun going back to good old handcrafted CSS.