The idea that inefficient code is expensive has never really crossed my mind before. I’ve never worked on a site where an extra tag would have any effect on the cost of the website. However, blow that up to Yahoo-scale hits, and I can see how it would. I have, for a long time, when writing Cold Fusion, minimized the output from it. I read, back in the days of Cold Fusion 2.0 that extra white-space created by Cold Fusion can add to processing time, so I quickly learned all the tricks to minimize the whitespace created by CFML.
Until I delved into CSS, I’d never realised how much extra space ‘traditional’ HTML took up. Writing the Oak Bay Soft Trends website, I wrote the first version in tables & spacers (or traditional layout). I’d already moved from using font tags, so that reduced some space used. However, when I decided to take the leap and generate a fully table-less layout, while my stylesheets grew by 20 or 30 lines, I probably lost 100 lines of code, along with at least 10 spacer images per page. Yes, the spacer was less than 1 Kb in size, but blown up and multiplied, it all adds up.
But now, I’ve discovered that the client, and possibly a fair percentage of the target audience uses AOL. I don’t know what versions. What I do know is that the site appears to break in whichever version of AOL the client is looking at it in. I’ve heard horror stories about AOL’s browser, but not having an AOL account, I’ve currently no way of testing this myself. But if AOL’s browser doesn’t support these standards, and they can’t upgrade to a ‘normal’ browser (or can they? how AOL works is a mystery to me), I may be forced to write a ‘backwards compatible’ version of this site, just to satisfy the percentage of users (not to mention the client) that uses AOL. Which I really, really hope I don’t have to do.