Does anybody want to share a bit about your thoughts of using a CSS framework? How would you recommend it for a newbie and CSS guru? Thanks!
Using a framework makes rapid development easier, but isn't always best for production sites, as there may be additional cruft that isn't used, but isn't easy to clear out.
Slavishly learning a framework probably isn't a good idea for a css neophyte, better to learn the basics of CSS before getting into a muddle with a framework.
For a lazy CSS guru they make a tedious task quicker, but often it's best to build your own framework, rather than rely on others.
I've tried quite a few, and generally they're harder to debug, when something isn't as expected, simply because it isn't your own code.
I did use 960gs for a big site recently and it did simplify a lot of things, but it didn't feel like I'd crafted the site as carefully as if I'd built it all from scratch, so there are elements of personal satisfaction to address too.
All in all, I'm in favour of using a good framework, prefer to use my own basic building blocks, but not averse to using an off the shelf framework in certain circumstances.
It really depends on the project. While frameworks such as Blueprint and 960 provide great baselines, I'm not a big fan of the grid systems they provide. Mostly for the fact that I'm of the opinion that class names should describe the content of an element, rather than the presentation. Getting back to the old mantra that states content should be separate from presentation "links", "quotes", and "content" make more sense as class names to me than "grid-9" or the like. While I like the level playing field across browsers that these frameworks offer, I'd rather do my own CSS for layout. I'll take Eric Meyer's reset.css over these frameworks any day.
I really enjoy using 960.gs -- It's got everything I need to make beautiful layouts, without the ugly hassle of actually having to build each one by hand.
I do agree, though, it can leave some 'cruft', but compression and optimization (through scaffolding, or YUI, etc) usually makes little bits largely irrelevant.
I have my own "starter" stylesheet that I start every project with, consisting of Eric Meyer's reset.css and some basic typography that I always change up.
Once you've become adept at CSS, setting up a template goes so fast that I think a larger framework (like 960.gs) would get in the way more than anything else. I do often use 960.gs's photoshop templates and dimensions, but that's it.
I'm also in agreement with Dwayne that class names and IDs should reflect content, rather than presentation. This is impossible when using a framework.