I wrote a little earlier about what I was looking forward to in HTML 5. I haven’t had a chance to really collect my thoughts about XHTML 2 vs HTML 5, to be honest I’d be happy to see progress on both fronts. I do have to say I lost interest in XHTML 2 early on when it seemed they were throwing some baby out with the bathwater. HTML is not the cleanest, most elegant language but the ease of picking it up is part of why the web grew so quickly. Even if that has forced browsers to cope with millions of pages of clunky, broken HTML.
I started going to meetings last year and I have to say it’s a great group of people that host some really interesting discussions and speakers. And I’m not just saying that because they let me give a presentation a few months ago.
At the last meeting Eric Meyer took some photos – one makes me look really important:
In the other, it looks like I dozed off in the middle of the discussion:
Oh well. The group screened the film Helvetica, which is the best movie I’ve ever seen about a typeface. I’d recommend it for anyone who has an interest in design, typography, or even 20th-century history.
Since I’ve moved out of town I won’t be able to make it to too many meetings in person. I want to set up videoconferencing, anyone have any recommendations for web cams, software, or services? I’m looking for something that is extremely easy to use, since my parents want to be able to do video calls too. I’ve heard some good things about Skype. Any thoughts?
The Word Wide Web has grown at an astounding pace and is pretty ingrained in a lot of our daily lives – you’re reading it right now. Part of the reason it has been so successful has been the flexibility and ease of use of the basic language of web pages, HTML.
Most web sites are developed in HTML 4 (first released in 1997) or XHTML (from 2000). Considering the rapid change all around the web, why hasn’t there been a new version, and what’s next for the Web? One reason we haven’t seen new versions is the aforementioned flexibility. There have been plenty of developments, from blogging software and other content management systems on the server side to CSS, AJAX, and embedded Flash video on the front end.
I haven’t taken a look in a while but Marcia Zeng mentioned the HTML 5 spec in an email recently and it got me interested in checking back in. I have to say, for the most part, it’s looking very interesting.
So I decided to put together a quick list of my top 10 new things in HTML 5:
The <nav> element. This will be great for the billions of navbars we web developers have been coding up for the past 10 years. Things like this will help reduce the problem of div soup and make structure more apparent.
The <header> and <footer> elements. See the last entry and add in the billions of page headers and footers we’ve produced as well. Semantically meaningful tags like these can only help browser plugin writers, search engine programmers, and other hackers to come up with cool new features.
The death of the dreaded <font> tag. This should have been banished as soon as CSS was widely supported. It was a pain in the rear to use back in the 1990s when coding by hand, and was even worse when inserted by GUI tools like FrontPage.
The continued usefulness of the <img> element. You may be wondering how we could make web pages without the image element, but XHTML2 only included it grudgingly, recommending everyone use <object> instead. The problem is that just about anything could be an object, the tag is almost meaningless. Why not replace all tags with <thing>?
The conenteditable API. This will be really interesting if it’s fully supported. In Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision for the web, documents would be easily editable. Wikis get us almost there, but a standard editing API would be even better.
The <figure> and <legend> elements. This will make it a little easier to associate captions and other text to images. Look for CMSs and image search engines to take advantage of these tags.
An open development process. Want to keep an eye on development? Got an idea or concern about the spec? Hop on one of the mailing lists. Open standards are great for promoting compatibility and competition, so open development of the standards just makes sense.