I am not exaggerating, that is 99% the reason for his desire to abandon ship. He complains about CSS daily despite being one of the more knowledgeable people I know about CSS, save for the rare occasion he asks me a question.
Why should I react to this project by doing anything other than lighting a molotov cocktail?
I studied iOS development for a few months, read a 600 page book on it, and tinkered around with it for a while and found myself begging for CSS. Native custom app interfaces seem backwards to me - the difficult of writing core graphics methods for every bevel, rounded corner, gradient etc has a lot of developers just using cut images for everything. Disclaimer, I'm way way more experienced with css than i am with core graphics - just my impressions.
CSS is fine until you want to build something specific. The amount of hacks required for even the simplest thing is amazing.
Want that UL to have it's LIs in a grid? Use float. Float was supposed to make text wrap around images, but we use it for the side effect of making block elements behave like inline. It also messes up the height of the UL, since it doesn't really contain any text to be wrapped around. You can fix it most of the time, but it's a hassle, and prone to break.
Want a UL to be on one line and centered? There's a hack for that! And it's completely unintuitive black magic.
Even the simple things like lining up elements with a fixed margin between each other and to the containing element was a great hassle up until just recently when we could finally begin relying on CSS 3 features.
It's a big stupid mess with missing features and features misused.
The basic idea was OK, with the selectors and rules. The execution as was 10 years ago, and to a large degree still is, was horrible.
> the difficult of writing core graphics methods for every bevel, rounded corner, gradient etc has a lot of developers just using cut images for everything.
On iOS, the QuartzCore framework provides declarative methods for those common style choices (rounded corners, gradients, etc.).
Not only that but it's usable today. Both webkit and gecko have very close implementations with only minor edge cases, none of which are insurmountable.
Not sure about iOS support for the new layout modes.
Browsers, in fact, already use the shadow DOM to render many of their custom forms. It's just not available programmatically yet.
Layouts aren't completely horrifying if you use a good, responsive grid, although within that grid framework itself there are likely some hacks. But as mentioned -- new CSS layout types are coming!
I assume that you are correct in your implication that Core Graphics and Core Animation are overly complex.
However, that does not mean that the answer is CSS.
You should not need to hand-write code to lay out text on the screen or change a background color.
There is a reason that UI builders have been a standard part of desktop development frameworks/environments for many, many years.
CSS is the worst thing that ever happened to front end application development.
If the CSS syntax is used as a way of declaratively describing styles in a single controlled environment (iOS) then that's not the same thing, and I would think that it should address a lot of the headaches that browser-based CSS currently has?
Plus it would (hopefully) allow the use of existing tools like LESS or SASS to provide even more control and re-use in creating the resources that go into building your iOS app.
1) Why in the hell would anyone want more CSS floating around their codespace? Note: This is partially addressed in "Doesn’t CSS Suck for Apps?"
2) If this becomes a thing, does that mean that everyone involved in the actual drafting of the CSS spec will finally get their shit together and treat it the way it deserves? Note: You too, browser vendors.
3) Does this mean native app developers can finally pay me for more than paper storyboards? Because then...