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Here comes HTML5! Duck!

Date/Time Permalink: 06/15/07 05:53:09 pm
Category: General

Just when we were all getting so snug and cozy in our Web 2.0 world, along comes the new HTML spec. And it's a dilly!

Meet HTML5. Of course, you don't have to rush to change all your web pages right now. Oh, if only it were that easy! Instead, look forward to half of it being implemented in half of the browsers half of the time gradually over the next decade or so.

Some random thoughts on the changes:

I like the stricter content model. This is only going to mean that you have to be consistent. You can put either block or inline level tags inside a <div> or <li>, but not both in the same <div>.

I love the new elements! Unfortunately, it would help if they designed a prototype web browser to display each element in action and took a screen-shot of it, so we could have some idea of what it's supposed to look like.

I count 22 new elements, some of which sound like they're redundant. What's the difference between <section> and <div>? Between <article> and <blockquote>? And some of the others, <aside> sounds like it's trying to replace the CSS method of pull-quotes, and <header> and <footer> are things we already do in CSS <div> boxes.

Finally, some of these sound like wishful thinking. Yeah, I'm sure the magic <canvas> element will be smoothly implemented by every browser, right? Isn't "rendering dynamic bitmap graphics on the fly" what we already do in Flash, Java, and AJAX? At least the graphics part?

As for the new attributes, we were simply dying for them! I've been saying form elements need enhancements like auto completion, auto focus, and input mode for years.

And then we get to the changes. Nothing too startling. Who, out of all the people you've ever heard of, uses the <hr> tag for anything but separating a column of content into little sections, just like I'm doing here? It's easy and convenient. I almost wish we had a separate mini-HTML setof tags to be used just for blogging. There are some things good for a full web entry that just aren't practical in a blog post.

<b> and <i> now mean exactly what I've been using them for for years - was I doing it wrong before?

Now for the dropped elements. Can anybody explain to me why they're keeping <small> to make text small, but they're dropping <big>? Also, kiss the <center> tag goodbye. Useful, wasn't it?

That's all worth it, though, because they're getting rid of frames!!! Goodbye frames! Adios, see yah! CSS does everything right that frames were supposed to do, anyway.

And it goes on. It's like vaporware. Or CSS3. Or hell, CSS2. A nice daydream describing the rosy way the future looks, versus the iron-grim reality of the chaotic, non-standard web.

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