Slashdot, one of the most widely known technology sites around the world has finally had a CSS makeover. The idea of retooling Slashdot was bantered around back in 2003, however the likelihood of anything happening seemed slim. At the time, there didn’t seem to be any serious enthusiasm to rebuild the backend, slashcode – with the general sentiment being “if you feel like hacking up slashcode, then we’d consider using it”. Slashdot has been running on a similar HTML 3.2 base for some eight years, simply because “it worked” and that was really good enough at the time.
It wasn’t long after the idea was mentioned before someone took it upon themselves to start the ball rolling. One of the first largely publicised steps was done by Daniel M. Frommelt, whose two articles published on A List Apart, Retooling Slashdot with Web Standards and Retooling Slashdot with Web Standards Part II garnered a lot of support. These two articles demonstrated how a huge site like Slashdot can be broken down and reworked into valid, semantic HTML.
The end product for Slashdot is a mostly validate HTML 4.01 document – which is a huge step forward. It would have been awesome if the xHTML utopia was realistic, however as with many sites, the advertisements and user contributed content prohibit it. The single largest point of interest about the retooling is the paradigm shift in authoring the HTML. The existing site was built using tables for structure and inline font tags for styling. This has now been replaced with divs for layout/structure, semantic markup and CSS for the presentation.
Since there has now been serious work done on Slashcode, we might see more frequent updates and features added to it.