Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Dec 2005 15:00 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "HTML isn't a very good language for making Web pages. However, it has been a very good language for making the Web. This article examines the future of HTML and what it will mean to Web authors, browser and developers. It covers the incremental approach embodied by the WHATWG specifications and the radical cleanup of XHTML proposed by the W3C. Additionally, the author gives an overview of the W3C's new Rich Client Activity."
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KISS
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:01 UTC
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I should no longer use < b > to make my text bold, I should use < strong >. But typing < b > is just faster and easier.

It needs to be simple. The beaty of HTML was that everybody could create his/her own webpages.

WebForms 2 looks great because it tries to maintain backwards compatability and it looks easy enough.

Reply Score: 1

RE: KISS
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:15 UTC in reply to "KISS"
BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

I should no longer use < b > to make my text bold, I should use < strong >. But typing < b > is just faster and easier.

If that's what you worry about, then you obviously haven't had to work on a very hard project. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that most webpages are dynamically generated in parts, the extra half second it takes to type <strong> really doesn't matter in the grander scheme of things, and makes life easier downstream when time comes to extend or alter the website (assuming you use CSS, which, of course, you should)

Reply Score: 1

RE: KISS
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 18:54 UTC in reply to "KISS"
Anonymous Member since:
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No you shouldn't be using strong in place of b. you should use strong if your intention is to strongly emphasize the text. If you want text to be bold for the look then use css and font-weight. b itself is not deprecated either as in some scientific fields it provides meaning.

Generally the use of bold is just to emphasize rather than strongly emphasize, so em instead of b, and css if you want it to look bold, and possibly remove the usual italic look.

Reply Score: 1

RE: KISS
by pjafrombbay on Tue 13th Dec 2005 06:02 UTC in reply to "KISS"
pjafrombbay Member since:
2005-07-31

You clearly don't understand the difference between the use of text 'emphasis' tags and text 'formatting' tags. <strong> and <em> work the same as and [i] for screen layout but work differently for screen readers for visually impaired readers.

Reply Score: 1

Inane comment
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:13 UTC
BryanFeeney
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2005-07-06

"HTML isn't a very good language for making Web pages. However, it has been a very good language for making the Web"

What a truly inane comment. HTML, when paired with CSS, is excellent for creating web-pages. It's just not easy to do it well. This should hardly be a surprise, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

It was interesting, however, that having dismissed HTML, the author chose to opine on how great HTML5 was going to be. It was especially interesting that his major examples were animations; graphics; and to a lesser extent application front-ends. HTML was never designed for any of these items. Personally, I think it is still unsuitable for the development of application GUIs. After all, HTML was originally designed for documents. My own opinion is that in the near future, once technologies like WinFX make it possible to duplicate the graphical niceties of web-based GUIs, the whole AJAX thing will wind down pretty quickly. It's just too much to have to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, browser bugs, the intricacies of the HTTP protocol plus a programming langauge that already has a GUI system simply to create an application.

Were I to develop a web-application, I'd use Java and a GUI designer to create a thin client that communicated with EJBs on a server, and which could be launched using a simple Webstart link.

Edited 2005-12-12 16:16

Reply Score: 4

RE: Inane comment
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:46 UTC in reply to "Inane comment"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

hmm, good idea,but WinFX is only available on windows.. stop being so windows centric and think about the rest of the world that will use the web. should embedded web connected devices have to use vista embedded?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Inane comment
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Dec 2005 17:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Inane comment"
BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

I use Linux at home pretty much 100% of the time. That's why I said "when technologies like WinFX" are available as opposed to "when WinFX" is available.

In the case of Unix, Qt's Arthur rendering engine and GTK's Cairo/Glitz backend should make for impressive results. In particular the former, when twinned with the results of the Plasma project, could be interesting. What is needed are simple API abstractions to make it easy for developers to dress things up a bit, twinned with good GUI-design guidelines to make sure they don't get carried away (Amarok is an especial example of the latter problem).

It'll be very interesting to see how things pan out in 2007 when Vista, Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) and KDE 4 are all available.

Incidentally, no-one's going to use stuff like that on embedded platforms, they are for an entirely different segment of the market. Vista's NT core may make it into Windows CE (certainly the TCP/IP stack seems much improved), but GUI wise, the embedded platform is never going to see too much eye-candy, with the possible exception of phones where there's a demand for limited 3D acceleration for games.

As regards the Java example, most web-applications are bespoke, and there's very few cases where a bespoke application needs to support a PDA (whose "embeded-ness" is somewhat in question, given that things like the iPaq are basically the next generation in micro-computers, with PCs being the next minis/workstations).

Reply Score: 1

I don't like it
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:15 UTC
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there should be only one standard. That's what has helped WWW become so easy to develop and let it expand.

Now a few browsers are getting together to use their own standards instead of W3C. It reminds me so much of Microsoft policies. With the only difference that adding all of their marketshare puts them aronnd 15%, instead of 85%.

To the Safari people: instead of developing new languages and standards, why don't you work harder on your SVG support? Or Xform, MathML, CSS 2.1 and 3, etc...?

Reply Score: 0

RE: I don't like it
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:47 UTC in reply to "I don't like it"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

To the Safari people: instead of developing new languages and standards, why don't you work harder on your SVG support? Or Xform, MathML, CSS 2.1 and 3, etc...?

Why bash Safari? Safari passes the Acid test, and it's the only browser capable (with Konqueror) to properly apply CSS2 shadows (check the header in http://cogscanthink.blogsome.com , only Safari and Konq. can render that shadow).

Reply Score: 5

RE: I don't like it
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:49 UTC in reply to "I don't like it"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

what are you taking about?

they are getting together on how to standardize behavior with respect to certificates.. W3C does not have anything to do with that... nor should they.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I don't like it
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 20:00 UTC in reply to "RE: I don't like it"
Anonymous Member since:
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That's the problem, that "W3C does not have anything to do with that". For example we will end up with canvas and SVG, and with XForms and Web Forms 2.0, etc...

The more standards like that appear, the slower true W3C standard adoption will take.

Plus, if they want to talk about how to standardize behaviour, don't you think they should have also talked with the IE people?

Reply Score: 0

Hmmm...
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 16:48 UTC
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Yes, let's complicate HTML. Most designers can't use CSS properly, and bork everything with Flash.

And 3D maze games and changing shapes are examples of "the future"? Thanks, VRML did that years ago and no one cared then, just like no one will now.

Finally, is that screenshot from Ubuntu....? Ha!

Reply Score: 0

competing standards = bloat
by theGrump on Mon 12th Dec 2005 17:29 UTC
theGrump
Member since:
2005-11-11

great arguments will be had for both whatwg and w3 proposals. i suspect both will end up getting coded up at least in gecko. the result will be a bigger binary with support for dozens of unused useless/overalpping features.

there needs to be config options to enable/dissable support for certain standards.

Reply Score: 1

RE: competing standards = bloat
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Dec 2005 18:12 UTC in reply to "competing standards = bloat"
BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

It always makes me laugh when people complain about bloat, and then go and download a 3MB MP3 file, or play it in a 1MB music player.

Anyway, there are options:
1) Operating systems that support mmap and lazy page-loading (that's pretty much all of the big ones) won't actually load in the unused stuff, so they won't abuse your memory with unused features.

2) Operating Systems that don't support mmap and lazy page-loading, will still end up paging the unused stuff out, so your excessive memory use won't last that long anyway.

3) Mozilla already allows you to strip a load of things out at compile time.

4) Hard disks these days are huge, the potential increase in Mozilla's size these days is no bigger than the size of an average MP3, and is likely to be around that of a picture from a digital camera. What I'm saying is that your hard-disk won't see much extra use either.

While I'm not a fan of making the HTTP browser system a generic application front end (I'm much prefer Java/Webstart or XulRunner), until you actually understand the underlying issues, you should avoid publically opining about "bloat".

Reply Score: 0

Earth to writer ....
by kadymae on Mon 12th Dec 2005 17:48 UTC
kadymae
Member since:
2005-08-02

And why, in this era of 3D-accelerated graphics cards and sophisticated user interfaces, are Web pages limited to clunky text boxes and radio buttons for user input?

Clearly this person doesn't seem to be aware that a huge chunk of the world gets the internet over a phone line.

I mean, holy cow, I've got a great-aunt out in rural Washington. The fastest i'net connection she ever gets is 26.4. There is no local cable company. DSL isn't offered in her entire county.

Sheesh.

We use text boxes and radio buttons because they're small.

Hell, where I work, with one exception, when coding pages, there's a 56k based time limit on how long it can take to download.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Earth to writer ....
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Dec 2005 18:18 UTC in reply to "Earth to writer ...."
BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

A more important issue is why you'd avoid the use of the operating system's widgets in the first place. Forcing users to use your own non-standard interpreation of standard things is not a good thing. If every page implemented its own widget set, it would lead to genuine bloat and usability issues (as some self-designed widgets won't work the way users expect them to).

What's more, with the preponderance of good-looking widget themse on desktops, users would not necessarily be impressive with what a designer cobbled together with a mish-mash of JavaScript, DOM, SVG and HTML. I can't imagine a Mac OS X user, for example, being impressed with a webpage's "Luna" imitation, or for that matter users of themes on Linux and Windows (via Windowblinds or something similar).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Earth to writer ....
by tyrione on Tue 13th Dec 2005 03:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Earth to writer ...."
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Excellent points. If I had some votes I'd rank your score higher. Style without substance is for the most part what we had during the first huge wave of the Web. This second wave of development should emphasize content with an eye for clean, reusable and scalable interfaces. If someone wants a custom widget for their clients the rest of the general user shouldn't be held hostage by ever increasing bloat within the web clients.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Earth to writer ....
by Deletomn on Mon 12th Dec 2005 21:56 UTC in reply to "Earth to writer ...."
Deletomn Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd also like to add that sometimes people really go overboard with the use of the "fancy stuff", that or they just plain use it incorrectly. The end result being that it either doesn't work on some computers, it can potentially confuse people who are visiting the website, or it can just be really annoying.

Personally... All of my favorite websites are fairly simple. They always work, they are generally easy to understand and navigate, and they don't tick me off with strange stuff flying all over the screen. (Like stupid popups that block what I'm trying to read.)

Reply Score: 1

Too complex
by corentin on Mon 12th Dec 2005 19:09 UTC
corentin
Member since:
2005-08-08

The idea behind the WWW was that anyone could write a webpage with a few HTML tags. Today, XHTML, CSS and the truckload of W3C bulls^H^H^H^H^Hweb standards are way too complex to properly deal with.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Too complex
by ple_mono on Mon 12th Dec 2005 22:49 UTC in reply to "Too complex"
ple_mono Member since:
2005-07-26

You have got to be kidding me!

The W3C is to the "wild wild web", what the LAW was to the "wild wild west", man!

You think it's complicated? I say no it isn't. It's all in your mind. All the "W3C bull", isn't bull most of the time. It's straightforward. Diffrent interpretations of "the law" make it hard to follow the guidelines. Like Internet Explorer refusing to conform to a single standard.
And suddenly we have "hacks" wich we really shouldn't have to use. That's what make it messy.

Seriously, almost all my friends who learned HTML some years ago, find the XHTML + CSS buisness hard to grasp. I wasn't interested in this stuff then, but learned XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript a while back.

Man, HTML is not pretty. XHTML + CSS is so organized, and powerful.

A simple webpage you say?
Whats the hard part using xhtml? choosing a doctype? what?

Reply Score: 1

What HTML is really missing.
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 19:39 UTC
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<include "header.html">

It is simply absurd that a programming language or a mark-up language would lack file inclusion ah la "cat". This can be done (at least with Apache) by enabling Server-Side Includes, but that is a kludge. The next version of HTML should, IMHO, include some method of sourcing other html files without making use of javascript, php, SSI, or any other hacks.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What HTML is really missing.
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Dec 2005 02:09 UTC in reply to "What HTML is really missing."
Anonymous Member since:
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iframe

Reply Score: 0

why?
by bytecoder on Mon 12th Dec 2005 22:18 UTC
bytecoder
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2005-11-27

Why are people trying to reimplement a desktop environment in a browser?

Reply Score: 1

RE: why?
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 22:53 UTC in reply to "why?"
Anonymous Member since:
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Why are people trying to reimplement a desktop environment in a browser?

deployment. And that's why Gnome and KDE are meaningless.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: why?
by bytecoder on Tue 13th Dec 2005 00:42 UTC in reply to "RE: why?"
bytecoder Member since:
2005-11-27

Mind expanding on that?

Reply Score: 1

Commercial interest?
by Joe User on Mon 12th Dec 2005 22:54 UTC
Joe User
Member since:
2005-06-29

XHTML is fun, but has no commercial interest. It takes more time to develop if you want it to validate, so it has no commercial value at all.

Reply Score: 1

HTML good for documents
by Anonymous on Mon 12th Dec 2005 22:56 UTC
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"Why are people trying to reimplement a desktop environment in a browser?"

I couldn't have said it better.
HTML is reasonable for documents. The other beauty of HTML is it allows you to embed other types of content. Movies, sound, and other more dynamic content

For all the other fancy stuff, I really don't think it's the domain of HTML. You can use Flash, java applets...or whatever. These are all cross platform tools

Reply Score: 0

WHATWG is doing the right thing
by JaredWhite on Mon 12th Dec 2005 23:19 UTC
JaredWhite
Member since:
2005-07-06

All I want is to take (X)HTML, a great language for the Web that I know like the back of my hand, and add some of the "missing" stuff to it that I want. Web Forms 2.0 is just that. Beautiful. And Canvas looks pretty darn neat as well.

Meanwhile, what is the W3C doing? Stuff I simply don't care about, because it's too complicated. I want simple, elegant, fast. WHATWG understands that, and therefore I'm throwing my hat in their ring.

Jared

Reply Score: 1

Documents vs Applications
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Dec 2005 01:06 UTC
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(X)HTML+CSS is very good for documentation. However there is a need for an embedded application space as well.

People have talked about applications in JAVA, Flash, XAML and there is also XUL. However each of these has problems its own problems. Java is not as cross platform as you'd expect. Flash even less so (where is the AMD64 version for linux). Neither integrate very well. Java looks odd, Flash doesn't have right clicking. XAML doesn't really exist yet and XUL is rather painful and hasn't really decided on a standard API.

As a web developer I'm tempted by AJAX; its fairly well supported and libraries exist to abstract the messier bits.

I'd like to see XForms get wider support as it seems to be the best longterm solution for embedding applications into HTML documents. I'd like to see XHTML 2.0 as well if only because it looks like it vastly simplifies HTML syntax.

However I also know that XForms is a major PITA for developers because of all the W3C XML standards it requires browsers to implement. XHTML 2.0 is a significant rethink of HTML.

I'm not sure that Web Forms 2.0 (or whatever) is really enough on its own to have a viable application environment on the web. It's better than nothing, and the article stated that IE behaviors might provide a backdoor for IE support. Are there plans for XForms for IE?

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: I don't like it
by re_re on Tue 13th Dec 2005 01:49 UTC
re_re
Member since:
2005-07-06

>Why bash Safari? Safari passes the Acid test, and it's the only browser capable (with Konqueror) to properly apply CSS2 shadows (check the header in http://cogscanthink.blogsome.com , only Safari and Konq. can render that shadow).<


Damn, I checked out that link on konqueror3.5 and on deer park side by side, the difference is impressive. I have noticed an inate quality in how Konqueror renders web pages that I have yet to see in another browser (except safari) which is why I prefer it over firefox.

Edited 2005-12-13 01:53

Reply Score: 1

Yup
by Sphinx on Tue 13th Dec 2005 02:52 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

"HTML isn't a very good language for making Web pages."

You're right, it's a GREAT language for use as an output format of an XML/XSLT transformation.

Reply Score: 1

What difference does it make?
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Dec 2005 07:31 UTC
Anonymous
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Just by running home pages through the W3C validator I can see that almost nobody from the media industry or government is even attempting to conform to published standards. Witness the ignorance:

http://www.mozilla.com passed
http://www.opera.com passed
http://www.microsoft.com passed
http://www.w3.org passed

http://www.intel.com fail...47 errors
http://www.hp.com fail...29 errors
http://www.dell.com fail...131 errors
http://www.macromedia.com fail...8 errors

http://www.toyota.com fail...70 errors
http://www.honda.com fail...69 errors

http://www.nsa.gov passed...quality of content?
http://www.dot.gov fail...21 errors
http://www.sec.gov fail...24 errors
http://www.doe.gov fail

http://www.telegraph.co.uk fail...266 errors
http://www.guardian.co.uk fail...41 errors
http://www.bbc.co.uk fail...45 errors
http://www.thestar.com fail...22 errors

http://www.nypost.com fail...226 errors
http://www.nytimes.com fail...390 errors
http://www.freep.com fail...335 errors
http://www.detnews.com fail...367 errors
http://www.chicagotribune.com fail...599 errors
http://www.suntimes.com fail...139 errors
http://www.denverpost.com fail...222 errors
http://www.latimes.com fail
http://www.tennessean.com fail...466 errors
http://www.philly.com fail...416 errors

http://www.foxnews.com fail...159 errors...fair and balanced.

Reply Score: 0

Not impressed by WHATWG
by charlieg on Tue 13th Dec 2005 09:53 UTC
charlieg
Member since:
2005-07-25

Really, HTML is a Hyper-Text-Markup-Language. Distilling that term; it's a document markup language.

Leave the web apps to the web app technologies. XPI, Java, ActiveX, Flash, and the technologies that have formed underneath them. There's plenty of good choices and they're getting better.

But, no, apparently we need Outlook and Office in our browser using nothing but the browser.

Give me a break.

Reply Score: 1

IMO: HTML neither "good" or "bad"
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Dec 2005 12:41 UTC
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Such sweeping generalizations are typical of an irrational arguement, and this article is no exception.

HTML is very good for creating simple web pages, for more complicated web based applications, you need something else.

Reply Score: 0

Moving Forward
by Anonymous on Tue 13th Dec 2005 16:02 UTC
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Moving forward with technology innovation is a good thing, don't get me wrong. However, I feel that browser developers, standards consortia and developers need to focus on making the current standards into best practices that are well implemented across all platforms and devices, including devices for persons with disabilities.

I'm a web developer myself and I have embraced the emerging standards. I always code to xhtml 1.0 strict and CSS2 while ensuring that my pages depreciate well for those on older, non-compliant browsers. However, the amount of hacking that needs to be done to ensure a consistent experience for end-users across platforms is ridiculous.

The nature of xhtml and css today is wonderful. Yes, I suppose it can be a little more complicated for non-developers to effectively utilize these technologies; however, with the cleaner mark-up I'm sure it must be easier for people to learn to write webpages today then it was when I learned; trying to decipher the mess of tables and font tags littered throughout a document.

Well I've rambled here... but my point is that today's standards remain poorly implemented by browsers and while gaining adoption, still remain rather ignored my developers. They hold promise to create a more accessible web, providing access to information for all types of people, on all types of platforms and devices with internet connections at various speeds. It enables Internet users of all social classes (that can at least afford a basic computer and dial-up connection) to retrieve information like equals. To me, that is the great nature of the WWW. We should make its potential a reality before we focus our efforts on implementing even more standards, that will surely only be half adopted while work on current standards comes to halt.

Thanks for listening to my rant :-)

Reply Score: 0

Too Many "Standards"
by Anonymous on Fri 16th Dec 2005 20:27 UTC
Anonymous
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"HTML5 is intended to preserve backward compatibility with the current HTML standard, HTML 4.01, and also with XHTML 1.0, the XML version of HTML. The specification sustains both the HTML and XHTML strands of W3C HTML, although it notes that implementations may choose not to."

This, together with two sets of standards (W3C and WHATWG) is a recipe for the perpetuation of the one true browser standard: "Quirks Mode".

Both W3C and WHATWG have good ideas - why can't they work together?

Reply Score: 0