I found myself thinking of A List Apart’s CSS Drop Shadows, and decided I’d modify my writing portfolio to use actual drop shadows instead of the clunky border mess I’ve had for the last few years.
The first thing I realized was that the technique isn’t suitable for large, arbitrarily-sized regions, because you need to have a background image as large as or larger than the area being given the shadow. When you’re trying to apply it to most of the page, you need a multi-thousand pixel image. That’s not only hard to work with, but even if it compresses well it’s still going to take up a lot of unnecessary room in the browser’s memory.
I wanted to keep the markup simple, so I shopped around a bit more and came across a CSS drop shadow example at W3C which was very simple: all you do is put a shadow-colored div behind the area and mess with margins.
Well, that worked great in Mozilla, Opera, Konqueror and Safari. Then, the dreaded Internet Explorer test.