So the new osCommerce 2.3 and 2.3.1 have Nathan Smiths 960 grid system as part of the core code.
I’ve looked about the web and come to the conclusion that some users will really like it – it allows a person to layout the page in rows and columns very easily. You want 3 boxes side by side? Just use the correct .css call and there you have it. Done.
Basically, my thought is that the grid system acts very like a tables based layout, though I am obviously aware that it is not tables 😉 And having .css act like this is not how .css should be.
Anyway, in order to get a better handle on the 960/osCommerce I decided to make a real life client project using 2.3.1 as downloaded. The first thing I did was sketch out the design on a piece of paper;
As you can plainly see, it suits the gridded layout. Next up was to install 2.3.1 and start playing with the code and css. I ended up with a completed site that looks like this;
Please note that I blurred a few bits out. Once the client has signed off, I’ll divulge the site URL…
Which, as you can see is very close to my original sketch.
The only significant change is the extra box that contains the “welcome guest” message and the summary of the cart contents. In order to achieve this I stuck as much as I could to the ethos of the 960 system for the layout, but added extra code to make the site look prettier.
Here’s that area of the site in full size;
and here’s some of the code to show you the layout of that area – pay particular attention to the outside div’s (960) and the inside div’s (my own);
960, as i have said all along, is not for me – I don’t like the feeling of being forced to do something “because I have to” just to get something to line up. Alpha, Omega, Push, Pull, Grid, Container – these things mean NOTHING to a designer and not much at all to a Developer.
However, I can see it being very useful for those people who are coming from a “tables based” background (as most people using osCommerce are) – 960 can be considered a halfway house between tables and pure css layout – which isn’t a bad thing, but doesn’t cut the mustard for me personally.
Who the heck made the decision to add 960 to osCommerce, and why? Perhaps one of the osCommerce Team Members reading this could explain the rationale behind it. I am wondering if HPDL saw this being used in the ‘osc2css’ contribution and thought “that’s near enough”…