Way too many cooks (Dvorak special)

With thirty designers and developers working together on a single CSS file, we have a page worthy of the mighty John C. Dvorak

I invited thirty celebrity CSS chefs to collaborate in baking a single stylesheet. Now the bell has rung, the oven mitts are at the ready and our Too Many Cooks (Dvorak special) is ready to come out of the oven. But first, an open letter to Mr. Dvorak.

An open letter to John C. Dvorak

Dear Mr. Dvorak,

Thank-you for your article Why CSS Bugs Me. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about CSS and could not agree with you more that working with CSS can often be frustrating.

[..] Worse yet, nobody except the most techie insiders wants to talk about this mess.

I, and many of the non-techie insiders who read my humble web site love to talk about CSS. That is why thirty of that internet's top CSS experts have collaborated to create an example of the creative power of CSS for you that is based on your article. We call our work Too Many Cooks. We hope you like how your article looks and we would really love to hear your thoughts.

Kind regards,


(PS: We don't know which interweb browser you have installed on your PC, but it won't matter when viewing Too Many Cooks. No, honestly.)

Another tasty dish?

So is the Dvorak Special more delicious than the last Too Many Cooks? With so many people taking part and some duplicate rules, I took a first come, first served approach so I'm sorry if your styles were lost. You won't have to wait as long for the next one, as coming up is a DWWS special!


  1. #1 On July 22, 2006 01:28 AM Dean Edwards said:

    I kinda like it. :-s

  2. #2 On July 22, 2006 01:51 AM Craig C. said:

    Hey, it's Dvorak's page on MySpace!

  3. #3 On July 22, 2006 02:03 AM Jan Bra�na said:

    Oh my...

    Well, okay � "we should be able to cook up a design worthy of the mighty Mr. Dvorak" � well done!

  4. #4 On July 22, 2006 06:12 AM Andrew K. said:

    Hovering over the "Url" link at the bottom in Firefox 1.5 unleashes the CSS Seizure Robots! Awesome XD

  5. #5 On July 22, 2006 07:32 AM John C. Dvorak (supposedly) said:

    Har! Very funny...but hey. It would be looking good on MySpace! Except for the fact that you need some animated gifs. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

  6. #6 On July 22, 2006 10:28 AM thepineapplehead said:

    Wonderful :D I used to love reading Dvorak's column in Gigahz magazine, but it's a shame he has this view of CSS.

    GLad that now he realises how useful CSS is, to style webpages however the hell we want.

  7. #7 On July 22, 2006 10:33 AM Steve Woods said:

    It's the first website that looks better in IE than Firefox, thanks to my incredible idea to make the navigation blink....


    John C Dvorak, I salute you ... O_O

  8. #8 On July 22, 2006 12:20 PM Analgesia said:

    OMG squirrels
    It looks like a HUGE succes. litteraly!

  9. #9 On July 22, 2006 01:22 PM Steven Tew said:

    Hmm - I've seen this design somewhere before... I think it's been nicked and is being passed off as an original. ;-)

  10. #10 On July 22, 2006 01:44 PM Dave J said:

    Looks different in every browser, maybe it can be the new Browser Acid Test?

    I'm very proud of my epilepsy inducing form labels at the bottom of the page (an easter egg for firefox users), although I can't claim to have planned it like that.

    I also see that I wasn't credited for my beautiful creation in the css, you swine malarkey ;-)

  11. #11 On July 22, 2006 02:29 PM Bud said:

    It looks like an invasion of the CSS snatchers kinda style. It looks childish and chaotic. It would have been better the HTMl was given first. This Dvorak character, what impact might he have? He writes stuff which has no scientific basis,
    of course.

  12. #12 On July 22, 2006 02:56 PM Johan said:

    if you look at this Dvorak website, http://www.dvorak.org

    It looks like a clutch!

    The source code reveals its secrets:

    It starts well, by using a imported stylesheet
    but when you go further down:

    - the body is declared twice
    where later you will find a table structure full with inline font , vspace, hspace, attributes

    So I suggest Dvorak first cleans up his mess on his personal website by removing the inline styles, attributes and the body
    appearing twice.

    HTML (the guy has the Wordpress XHTML transitional doctype at the top of the page, surely he does not know what that does there)

    235 HTML errors on his homepage

  13. #13 On July 22, 2006 09:33 PM gb said:

    that css file... Changed... My... Life.

  14. #14 On July 23, 2006 02:50 AM Christian Montoya said:

    you guys do realize that page is a myspace right? a half decent one too!

  15. #15 On July 24, 2006 08:48 AM Cola said:

    Heavens above, gang! In the words of Doctor Waldman - you have created a monster! ;-)

  16. #16 On July 24, 2006 10:57 AM Simon said:

    I think your next project should be a collaborative effort for a CSS Zen Garden submission

  17. #17 On July 24, 2006 12:15 PM Nathan said:

    more like the browser on acid test...


  18. #18 On July 24, 2006 04:21 PM Marco said:

    What a glorious mess :)

    Let's hear it for Wingdings and squirrels!

  19. #19 On July 25, 2006 01:07 AM Tudor said:

    Absolutely brilliant! God must be a web designer.

    You know how some people tend to speak louder than normal when finding themselves in pitch darkness, as if they are also deaf suddenly? It seems there's an interesting analogy here: the CSS chefs tend to use huge font sizes when they can't see the markup!

  20. #20 On July 25, 2006 09:21 PM Nate K said:

    Incredible. Just plain incredible.

    And Dvorak, well, hes a tool.

  21. #21 On July 26, 2006 10:53 AM JackP said:

    @Bud - re:" It would have been better the HTMl was given first". I think that's kinda the point. 'Twas jolly larks, was what it was.

    I'd just like to say that without doubt that's the finest, or at least most hideous, css design I've ever seen. Despite my suggestion not making the cut _sniff_ I'm still amazed at wot we've wrought.

    Never mind Zen Garden, any chance of this being the new default stuff and nonsense style?

  22. #22 On July 27, 2006 12:15 AM Paul B said:

    It's been interesting to read your opinions on the Dvorak article regarding CSS, while I appreciate where your coming from, I do feel your view point needs a repost.
    While, John C. Dvorak can certainly be a negative voice, I am a regular listener to TWIT, he is not afraid to challenge the current 'techie insider' opinion on an issue, providing a 'real world' view point. Dvorak suggests that CSS is a mess, well of course it is, if not there would be no need for Web Standards or a body like WaSP.
    Away from from a very few forward thinking organisations, for most companies Web Standards are currently still a fantasy. Something they like the idea of if it saves them cash, but a long way from being something they care about.
    I work for an organisation that serves several international blue chip companies, they really, really don't care about Web Standards. The way they see it no one gets prosecuted for not producing Accessible, Standard compliant sites, no. one. Wrong of course, but thats the way it is. Ok, BMW got banned from Google for a while and that wasn't even a Standards issue, give me another example.
    The battle for Standards is far, far from over and we need to actively convert people like Davorak.

  23. #23 On July 27, 2006 08:54 PM Brady J. Frey said:

    As much as we need to convert Dvorak, you have to understand he likes to fan the flames of controversy if anything for ratings. Your the past year I have been posting on his site, noting the simple mistakes he's made in his CSS that can easily be fixed (much of them causing Safari users not to be able to comment because of a simple overflow bug he's got). I've offered pro bono to code it, to explain it - and never has he responded, never asked a question... regardless, he's a well known techie writer and there are numerous people who could ask or inquire with, even just sign up for codingforums.com and ask a question or two - he's got no excuse save the need for ratings. Searching through his mess of a blog (even he could hack wordpress and get a decent blog) can find most of my posts.

    Nevertheless, the only reason why this is so confusing... is because it's so foreign to much of our original training in the web field - and the saturation of editors with even more confusing output. CSS is a mess to him simply because he doesn't know, doesn't choose to learn, or doesn't choose to ask - it's all free and available online for everyone to participate in and most do. The users who assume that standards are too difficult, have simply spent more time designing without them - just as young painters find acrylics to be a walk in the park to oils.

    You give me a highly talented web designer or developer complaining about the difficulty of CSS over the other methods, and I'll start listening. Otherwise it sounds like someone who should be spending more time asking questions and less time complaining about the tools, when it's simply his lack of knowledge.

  24. #24 On July 31, 2006 07:36 PM Tim McCormack said:

    CSS certainly has been a mess until recently. When it was young, it was greatly abused, but the newest coding practices have done a great deal to correct early abuses.

    Remember when the Global Whitespace Reset ( i.e. *{margin:0;padding:0;} ) was considered essential, even mandatory? Now we know better, because we've experimented and learned.

    Apparently, Dvorak hasn't.