Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Stop Standardizing HTML 302

pfignaux writes with an interesting view on the place of centralized standardization in modern browsers. From the article: "When HTML first appeared, it offered a coherent if limited vocabulary for sharing content on the newly created World Wide Web. Today, after HTML has handed off most of its actual work to other specifications, it's time to stop worrying about this central core and let developers choose their own markup vocabularies and processing." Instead, the author proposes that CSS, Javascript+DOM, the W3C's accessibility framework, and Web Components are sufficient to implement the rendering of smaller, domain-specific markups.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stop Standardizing HTML

Comments Filter:
  • language (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:34AM (#43537037)
    There is also a benefit to having people share a common vocabulary, such as communication in broader languages like English, Spanish, etc. I have a hard enough time communicating with people in the same language!
  • by fazey ( 2806709 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:37AM (#43537071)
    If you break the html standard... each browser will interpret things even more differently than they already do. This means you now have to give a crap about what browser the visitor of your site is using, because the developers went off and did their own thing. I'm glad the author found some toys he likes... but this hardly makes an html standard useless. For example, what does this do for tomcat? What does this do for ASP.NET? The answer is nothing.
  • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:38AM (#43537083)
    <_MSIE_XZ92 MS_FONT_TP = "comic sans" Q_BINARY_BLOB = "89FF372198A" BRWSR_FOO_P = "unidiv/flimblargle">Great idea!</_MSIE_XZ92>

    This post optimized for viewing with with MSIE 9.3.
  • by concealment ( 2447304 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:39AM (#43537089) Homepage Journal

    The web worked when it had a simple standard that worked in every situation.

    We've put layers on top of that, and now it's chaos. A bloated, irregular, often incomprehensible chaos designed to allow people to make custom interfaces out of the web.

    The whole point of the web, versus having an application for every specific task (like we did on desktops before the 1990s, and like we now do on smartphones), was to have a standard and simplified interface.

    The web grew and thrived under that goal. It's become more corporate, nuanced, isolated, sealed-off, etc. under our "new" way.

  • Standardize! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:41AM (#43537119)
    CSS, HTML and JavaScript need to be standardized and built to work together. If you want to add your own libraries on then that is fine but I run into so many issues with different browsers handling my scripts differently, this is 100% due to nothing being standardized. I shouldn't have to use special operators or libraries to create the effects I want / need.
  • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:48AM (#43537179)

    Just eliminating Flash and Javascript for example would eliminate a vast majority of the world's browsing headaches.

    If you know of a language that will do what Flash and Javascript will do with no headaches, please share it with us.

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:55AM (#43537293)

    Yep, the author doesn't truly understand WHY HTML works and that's because it's interpreted by the browser a certain way. There already exist a plethora of differences between IE and firefox/chrome, de-standardizing HTML would make it impossible to create websites that look consistent to all users.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:57AM (#43537313) Journal

    We are so close to a Web-based operating system I can taste it.

    One of the things I like to say is, "In the long run, all file formats become programming languages". When somebody says they need a simple format for a config file or something, inevitably scope creep causes them to ask for something like a conditional (can you have a config setup so that if we're running offline it does this; but if the network is available it does that?). For the developer of the file format, *any* file format, it's a good idea to have a language developer's perspective.

    Now, once you look at programming languages you start to get drawn into operating systems. C was developed in conjunction with Unix. Forth tends to become an operating system. Lisp, although it runs in userspace is used as a shell via Emacs and some have compared that to an OS. They talked about building Java chips at one point, and a Java OS certainly would have been written to go with it--it's only natural.

    Thus I feel compelled to revise my little one-liner. "In the long run, all file formats become operating systems".

    The next time the boss says he needs a flat-text config file, think about what kind of scheduling algorithm you want to use.

  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:59AM (#43537335)

    Just eliminating Flash and Javascript for example would eliminate a vast majority of the world's browsing headaches.

    HTML needs an active companion language, an actual programming language

    The big problems inherent to Flash and Javascript are not that they don't work. It's that both involve letting arbitrary code run on your computer and their security isn't perfect.

    Replacing them with a new programming language that will run arbitrary programs on your computer is not going to solve that because a new language isn't going to have perfect security either.

    With a new, active language, you'd still get annoying ads, drive-by malware downloads, pages that load a several megabytes of crappy code to display three lines of text and all of the other problems that make people hate Flash and Javascript.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @12:01PM (#43537355)

    Ok, I'll take the bait. How in the hell is JavaScript *not* a programming language?

    1. It is a language 2. I write programs with it

    There isn't enough snarky elitism associated with it yet for it to be a "real" programming language. As soon as you can get to the state of natural obfuscation that Perl enjoys, you'll see an uptake with the true nerds.

  • To be fair... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @12:11PM (#43537479)

    His point was about web content being more dynamic than he thinks is required. A fair point, nowadays a straightforward web form with very limited scope is frowned upon if it neglects to do some sort of javascript trickery or another. He isn't after *more* capability, he seeks a more constrained experience and to have more developers exhibit a shred of restraint rather than mandate moderately more open ended access to the client facilities for superfluous bells and whistles. If a browser hangs up nowadays, it's almost certainly due to badly written javascript or javascript implementation gone insane in the face of valid javascript. Simplistic content doesn't choke up browsers and in a lot of cases, that simplicistic content model *could* suffice for the purpose. There are cases where javascript can enrich the experience beyond what is reasonable without it, but web developers immediately jump to the deep end without a second thought today.

    Now, in terms of 'powerful and flexible', I'd argue that inherently it cannot hold that crown precisely because javascript is restricted from doing things like opening arbitrary filehandles and such. This isn't a bad thing, but it means the claim of 'most powerful' is flawed. Javascript is a popular language not due to having 'the' best set of capabilities or the best syntax (everyone bundles some sort of 'library' precisely to bandaid over javascripts failing at the low level), it's popular by virtue of being ubiquitous.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @12:15PM (#43537543) Homepage Journal
    A computer program is defined [] as "a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result," and a programming language defines the syntax and semantics of computer programs. So what makes a scripting language not a programming language? What makes a script not a computer program? For all I can see, JavaScript is like Lua and Python: a dynamically typed programming language that is transmitted over the wire in source code form.
  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:02PM (#43539231)

    So is Conway's Game of Life, that doesn't mean amateurs should be writing code that runs on client's machines with it.

    There is no language in which amateurs should be writing code that runs on client's machines.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.