On December 15, Faruk Ates debuted a brand new technique, which he labeled FACE, Faruk's Animated CSS enhancements. While it’s certainly a testament to the great things that the technology can now do, I’m not so sure that promotion for the use of FACE is such a great idea.
Before any war cries go up, let me set the record straight: I've never met Faruk, but I read his site regularly, and I admire the work that he does. Also, I'm an open Flash aficionado, so any technique that proclaims to render Flash obsolete will automatically strike a chord with me. Even taking that into account, I would like to be as objective about this as possible.
First of all, the application of the technology is definitely to be commended. In the last couple of years, CSS has come a long way, and techniques like this do a great job of demonstrating how far it can still go. However, I'm a firm believe that just because a technology is capable of doing something doesn't mean it should.
For instance, Tim Hofman, the collaborative developer of FACE, states on his site that this new technique can “turn boring static sites into cool sites with more interactivity,” which seems to be a major selling point of why to use FACE. There seems to be misconception of interactivity and engaging elements; content does not suddenly become more engaging if it is animated. Also, Tim suggests that “You don't have to use Flash anymore.” It seems that basic CSS-driven animations have replaced a robust, established application.
While semantics are a minor point, they still deserve to be addressed. Yes, FACE does take great advantage of existing XHTML, but the implementation is debatably unsemantic. The format of the technique requires adding attributes similar to this:
Sure, styling and DOM-scripting require hooks in the form of
class, but it's very easy to argue that this code is there for purely presentational reasons.
The primary reason FACE was developed was to put an end to the static Web, once and for all.
Maybe this is reaching, but the static web ended years ago when the
<marquee> tags were introduced, which provided, at a time, a revolutionary type of text animation. The development community soon decided that we were better off with the static version.
I applaud the effort and support the exposure, but I believe the acclaim is a bit immature. Sorry to be the party pooper, but every party has one.