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  1. #1
    I solve practical problems. bronze trophy
    Michael Morris's Avatar
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    Is there any real point to the semantic tags?

    I mean, seriously?

    Code html:
    <header>
    </header>
     
    <div class="header">
    </div>

    Now don't get me wrong, I find the new semantic tags pretty nifty, but I'm not convinced the overhead of an htmlshim is worth it. Especially since older browser usually means older computer, which means unresponsive, slow, buggy mess of a site if you put too much javascript into it.

    The tags all fall squarely into 'nice to have', as opposed to 'necessary' territory.

    Or maybe I've become a grognard.

  2. #2
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Well they are only a proposal at the moment. By the time they become a standard all the computers currently in use would have been scrapped.
    Stephen J Chapman

    javascriptexample.net, Book Reviews, follow me on Twitter
    HTML Help, CSS Help, JavaScript Help, PHP/mySQL Help, blog
    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Jeff Mott's Avatar
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    I agree with you, Michael. Loading a JS shim in order to use tags that, for the moment, don't provide any benefit seems like a silly thing to do.
    "First make it work. Then make it better."

  4. #4
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Morris View Post
    I'm not convinced the overhead of an htmlshim is worth it.
    When I started web design, I got entranced by the standardistas telling me that you start with code that all browsers understand, and progressively enhance for browsers that can handle it ... So I'm a bit shocked now to find the same voices recommending that I build sites that only work for older browsers that have JS turned on.

    I've yet to see any good reason to use the new elements. Any semantic benefits they are supposed to carry haven't yet been realized yet, as I understand it. So I can appreciate that it's fun to experiment with this stuff, but to be building real-world sites with it—when it's still being written and changes a lot—makes no sense to me. Sounds like the same mistake that was made in the early days of CSS, when browser makers jumped the gun and got some of it wrong.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I recently read some girl's tech blog where she was pointing out reasons to still make sure your page still actually worked at some basic level without JS.

    Most of the comments (after the first few) there were bordering hateful. Not towards her, but towards the idea that any web dev should have to lift a finger (oh and it's not lifting a finger, it's freaking sysiphus rolling giant boulders up a nearly vertical mountain) to even consider the idea that anything at all should work in any way without Javascript.

    Quote Originally Posted by comment
    Come on, dude… what’s up with your C64? Are you still relying on that? Ever thought about a buzz word called “update” or similar?
    Yup, anyone blocking JS is equivalent to using a commodore 64...

    Because anyone with it off is either a tinfoil-hat-wearing idiot who deserves to die
    - or they're using such ancient technology that they deserve to die
    - or that their coporate firewall policy is ancient and/or tinfoil-hat-wearing and deserves to die
    - or their mobile is clearly not Android (latest versions only) or iSomething and who the hell uses a Blackberry/Palm/Nokia anymore anyway? They should buy a new phone or just die (since js runs so well on them...)
    - or their mobile is indeed brand new but they live in sh*tty data-plan-land (which, by the way, is mythical according to developers-- after all, where THEY live, data plans are cheap and internet access is ALWAYS available, so who the hell are these so-called "people" claiming there are areas with such "bad reception" of intertubes that they can't easily download 500k of Javascript to make a button wiggle around when they mouse over it (whoops, wait, they don't have a mouse... I meant "swipe"!)), and need to either move to a Big City or die
    - and besides, there's no such thing as HTML web pages anymore anyway, get with the future, every page is another Twitter and relies on massive amounts of jQuery and Ajax to even have the slightest use
    - because all data belongs in "the cloud" anyway, who the hell is using their own servers? What is this one-client-one-server HTTP thing anyway? Something ancient from the 90's that deserves to die
    -and besides that, writing HTML that works is hard.

    I don't think I finished reading the comments, as the whining of webweenies and so-called developers was deafening.

    There you have it, folks. "Real" web developers build absolutely everything in Javascript, because this is the future and if you're not Javascripting every last span, you're not modern and deserve to die (or go back to Land of Borat where you belong).

    Le sigh. So let's add tags with almost-zero semantic value and javash*t the hell out of them. It'll keep us hip and modern. Like using "cloud" in our company's name.

    (it's kinda too bad, that my above rant unfairly hits the real twitters out there, but honestly, most websites I visit, and my family visits, are not twitter or facebook and indeed work just fine with HTML+HTTP and a server. Really. Honest.


    just kidding, those sites don't exist anymore except as relics on the wayback machine, lawlz)

    *as a note, anyone who can't see any hyperbole at all in my above post, not even one little bit, needs to go get gene therapy cause they lost their humour-recognition system. Most developers won't bother making anything work without Javascript, but I'll admit they're not actually Javascripting everything. Except when they're using JS to fill in an empty <body> tag. Okay that's evil...

  6. #6
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    It's good to have you back firing on all cylinders, poes.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    You implying I've been 3 crates short of a shipment recently??

    Those chocolate-chip cookies you were going to send me in payment for rants had better be on their damn way, or I'm going to have to send you-know-who to your house again to break your you-know-whats and feed them to your you-know-what...

  8. #8
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    You implying I've been 3 crates short of a shipment recently??
    No, just ... well, not here ...
    Those chocolate-chip cookies you were going to send me in payment for rants had better be on their damn way, or I'm going to have to send you-know-who to your house again to break your you-know-whats and feed them to your you-know-what...
    No, I don't know what ... what?

  9. #9
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    You implying I've been 3 crates short of a shipment recently??
    I would have said 4 or 5, but meh ...

    Those chocolate-chip cookies you were going to send me ...
    I could never send anything like that. Any such thing I buy I must eat—compulsively—straight away ...

  10. #10
    Life is not a malfunction gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
    TechnoBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Those chocolate-chip cookies you were going to send me ...
    I could never send anything like that. Any such thing I buy I must eat—compulsively—straight away ...
    Did I ever mention I have a reputation locally as a great baker? Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, whatever* - just let me know when you're coming to visit.

    *But not scones. My scones are passable, but nothing to write home about. Even bears can't be good at everything.


  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Bear:
    we may take you up on that. whisky and cookies???? zomg nom

  12. #12
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    I absolutely couldn't care any less if someone using IE7 or lower is trying to browse my site.

    You don't have to worry as much about older versions of Chrome, Firefox, etc, because as far as I know they update automatically.

    Other technology doesn't wait for people to catch up, so why should our code?

    Now I'm perfectly fine with designing for lower resolutions, because not everyone can afford a giant monitor. But updating your web browser is free and easy, and with over 80% of people using Windows XP or higher, there isn't much of an excuse to still be using IE6, IE7, or some older version of another browser.

    I disagree with those who completely lock IE6 and IE7 users out of their sites---that's bad practice. Nobody should be barred from viewing your content because of the browser they're using. I'm just saying it shouldn't have to look pretty.

    Granted, this would all be different if we were talking about a site that a lot of people NEED to visit, like .gov or .edu sites. But I'm talking about my personal portfolio and blog here. I design for the future so I won't have to change my entire markup later on.

    And of course, there are those who preach about how evil Javascript is...the same people who will use lines upon lines of hacky CSS, a presentation language, to change the way an element behaves. How's that for semantics? Scripting is for behavior. Styling is for aesthetics, and nothing else. But since Javascript can potentially be exploited, people jump at the opportunity to disable it---which leads to developers using CSS for things that have nothing to do with presentation. Javascript is not the enemy. Compress it, and it's just as lightweight as anything else. I compress the scripts on my site; I just wish that Facebook and Twitter would do the same thing so I could have a follow button or like box on my page without loading an extra 50kb. It's that kind of garbage that gives JS a bad name, but it's unfortunately unavoidable if you want to be "hip" and "social"

    My point is this: the people who are using outdated browsers with javascript disabled make up a very small minority. I'm willing to bet most people using IE8 or lower don't even know what javascript is. So the HTML5 shiv is a reliable method. And even if it isn't, fewer and fewer people each day are using older browsers, probably because developers have finally decided to stop putting up with them.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spiritanium
    I design for the future so I won't have to change my entire markup later on.
    I think this was the initial attraction to most developers with the new HTML5 tags: we felt we were coding for the future.

    Well that, and we were promised more semantics. We were promised many things, and they were shiny and attractive. I don't blame anyone for salivating even a little over some of these tags. <hgroup>, not so much. Thank the gods they're taking that one out (again. maybe).

    Thing is, whenever a site gets renewed for any reason, the markup usually gets rewritten anyway. Usually because either someone is introducing or changing frameworks/CMSes/etc and of course the content. The sites where the markup doesn't get changed later on are generally those ones who haven't had an update from the authors in a long while.

    I blame CSS Zen Garden for this idea. It made us think we'd just leave the markup and change the whole site design with CSS. We didn't, though. And our CSS wasn't really all that future-proof either: every time we look at those vendor-prefixes for border-radius, we itch to just remove them and leave the cleaner-looking original "border-radius" declaration. And when we stopped supporting IE6, all those * html hacks could go. And when we stopped supporting IE7, all those *+html ones too.

    How's that for semantics? Scripting is for behavior.
    Except hyperlinks and forms. But even then, we've blurred it more with modern code: Paul Irish is even recommending people rely on CSS transforms, transitions and animations instead of Javascript for moving stuff around, because making those fat lazy GPUs finally do some of the work is more appealing. It will get more appealing to more devs as support grows.

    Besides, if scripting were for behaviour *instead* of for semantics or styling, then why are we using it to make browsers be able to read HTML? (answer: because we can, and because nobody found any better ways)
    That, and using Javascript for both creating HTML *and* for styling pages is a long, proud tradition in web development. DynamicDrive, my inner nostalgia wears your t-shirt.

    I just wish that Facebook and Twitter would do the same thing so I could have a follow button or like box on my page without loading an extra 50kb.
    It's probably more likely those 4th-party calls than anything else. The amount of tracking and advertising and data-gathering code attached to a single Like button can be amazing. Like watching a wasp eaten alive by newly-hatched little parasites. Narrated by David Attenborough. "Extraordinary!" he'd exclaim.

    I'm just saying it shouldn't have to look pretty.
    I think if you are building your site's main blocks out of new elements, it goes a bit beyond whether it looks pretty or not.

    When I was testing my createElement() code, I checked in IE7 with the inspector.
    When I wrote this:

    <aside role="complementary">
    <div><h3>a heading</h3>
    <p> text text text...</p>
    </div>
    ...rinse, lather, repeat...
    </aside>

    What IE (7, 8) got (until I figured how to properly write the JS) was

    <aside role="complementary/> (unknown tags get ignored)
    <div><h3>a heading</h3>
    <p> text text text...</p>
    </div>
    ...rinse, lather, repeat...
    </aside> (treated like a whitespace text node)

    The content inside the tags were still on the page, but since I had a
    <main>
    floated left and an <aside> floated right and both cleared by a <footer>, this really lead to a jumble. That's a bit further than I'd go for "pretty" vs "usable". Except with my current job, where I just don't care what they do anyway. They use placeholders for labels there, so, meh.

    My point is this: the people who are using outdated browsers with javascript disabled make up a very small minority.
    I have very particular views on minorities, I admit. In fact, I would even say that I have rather obvious biases, regarding minorities and minority groups.

    Whether developers support the users of older browsers, is up to each developer and (hopefully) based on actual user stats, and what the site is created to do anyway.


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