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<Understanding CSS Selectors ⁄ >

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Now that I'm freelance, I can laugh at these. But, once upon a time, I worked for a large organization that regularly outsourced large-scale web development to agencies that "specialized" in enterprise solutions. And, all too often, when the HTML and CSS landed on my desk, it was in exactly this sort of state. Unnecessary classes and ids, inefficient selectors and jumbled markup became my daily nemeses.

I'll never forget how much of my (and, subsequently, my employer's) time was wasted trying to work with our "enterprise" CSS. It really isn't all that funny when you have to deal with it. It's even more sobering when you consider the time, money and resources wasted due to inefficient CSS.

So, why does it happen?

Part of me blames the corporate world; the "enterprise" solution world. This world frequently defines cross-browser support as "looks the same in every browser, including IE6." We developers who work in this world rarely have the option of using advanced CSS3 selectors. We can't even use some of the not-so-advanced CSS 2.1 selectors.

But overzealous CSS and class-itis aren't restricted to that corporate world. You can find them everywhere, from small business to government sites. Lack of knowledge and experience must play a role.

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