It is unfortunate that we are so paranoid about plagiarism that our education systems have forgone the practice of having students copy the works of great masters. This was especially true in the disciplines of art and music, as I personally recall an ‘old school‘ teacher of mine citing this very reason for compelling us to copy note-for-note a Bach chorale or three. The point wasn’t for me to put my name on it and sell it as my own, rather in the painstaking process of penning the piece stroke-for-stroke, I learned the ‘internals’ of how J.S. Bach worked.
Or in the case of the above graphic example, at least understand how and why, unlike Mozart’s Requiem and Bartok’s Third Piano Concerto, the piece that P.D.Q.Bach was working on when he died has remained ‘unfinishable.’
Humorous digression aside, copying code can also be a useful tool for learning how to program. In several respects, programming is like art and/or music. That is, while what the computer sees in the end is a translation of English keywords and phrases into zeros and ones, we as humans use the very same code to convey thoughts, feelings and ideas via the images and text we call our church website. A musical parallel of this might be the clarinetist who only sees a singular line of dots along a particular clef of a larger symphonic body, while a what the man in the audience hears is a collective work that moves him to tears.
So with this in mind, I’d like to turn you guys and gals onto a site where you can dive into the numerous code examples found at the CSS Vault. Not so you’ll blindly cut-n-paste some code and call it your own, but as the CSS Vault’s slogan says, so you can improve your coding skills with “A collection of CSS resources and CSS sites that help to inspire and teach every designer.”