Linked by snydeq on Tue 16th Aug 2011 16:46 UTC
Web 2.0 InfoWorld's Peter Wayner discusses the 11 hard truths Web developers must accept in making the most of HTML5 -- especially those who are looking to leverage HTML5 in hopes of unseating native apps. 'The truth is, despite its powerful capabilities, HTML5 isn't the solution for every problem. Its additional features are compelling and will help make Web apps formidable competitors for native apps, but security issues, limitations of local data storage, synchonization challenges, and politics should have us all scaling back our expectations for the spec.'
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RE[3]: HTML 5 == Pointless Bloat
by galvanash on Wed 17th Aug 2011 04:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: HTML 5 == Pointless Bloat"
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Idiotic crud like CSS and "semantic" tags (even old stuff, like the "em" tag) just make it harder for web developers to do their job well (as they can't really say how any specific browser might render it)

Hi! How are things back in 1992?

Seriously... So you want to go back to purely using tags to control presentation? Really?

I have been doing this since 1996 or so. You can not and have never been able to say how any specific browser might render things reliably. It has always been horseshoes and hand grenades until CSS became prevalent. It is still hit or miss to some extent, but much better than it ever was in the past. If you want to control presentation, that is what CSS is for - HTML is for describing document structure, linking, and embedding.

In hindsight I almost wish all browsers shipped with absolutely no presentation defaults at all and forced authors to implement complete CSS styling for their work. It would actually save me some trouble most of the time as the first step required when you want pixel perfect rendering across modern browsers is to reset all that crap anyway.

Realistically it isn't that way though because most of the time you really don't need pixel perfect rendering and the defaults generally behave similarly enough that if you keep things simple they work well. I have nothing against this approach to doing web pages - simple is often good... As long as you are not naive enough to thing that "good" means "identical" it is a perfectly valid way to do things.

One supposed advantage of semantics is that it's "important" for accessibility. This is misguided, as most accessibility stuff needs to be taken care of at the OS's level so that all applications (not just stuff displayed by a web browser) is usable;

It doesn't matter what is doing the accessibility. Please explain how the OS is supposed to do it without something telling it WTF it is looking at? You make it sound like semantic tags are a bad thing... You do realize most of those presentational tags from HTML 2.0 you seem fond of ARE semantic tags don't you? H1 doesn't mean "really big font", it means "Top Level Heading", it just also happens to render with a really big font in most browsers. There really are only a small handful of tags that were ever in HTML that can be considered purely presentational. The font tag for sure, i and b are really both - big, small, sub, sup - hell that is about it really, everything else is semantic.

The point is if you care how it looks you need to use CSS to control it - the tags purpose is to convey document structure. That is essentially what semantic means. If you want HTML without semantics... well you really don't have anything left. Hell, if you don't care about semantics just make a jpeg and use an img tag... Really, why not?

Then there's thing like search engines, which are already capable of producing extremely good results from things that lack any semantics; like PDF files, MS word files, text files, etc.

You do realize all of those things have semantics in them don't you? They may not always be explicit, but even text files have semantics (TITLE IN ALL CAPS). How do you think Google extracts information like the title form say a .doc file when the metadata is missing? It looks for the first heading in it. Same with pdfs. HTML just makes it more explicit and well defined. How is that a bad thing?

Basically, the only valid reason for any/all tags in HTML is to tell the browser how something should look.

You have a seriously misguided view of what HTML is, what it is for, and how it is actually used.

Edited 2011-08-17 04:26 UTC

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