Why semantic mark-up

I'm slowly converting my blogs to XHTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Content and format will exist independently of one another. This makes for rapid "reskinning" of the sites, readability on PDAs and phones, and leaner code. That's not enough to get me to unlearn old HTML habits. (I may need aversion therapy to program new code snippets into my fingertips.)

My real motivations for complying with web standards are:

  1. Clean code. Some of the entries on this site still have mark-up from Netscape 1.1; there's probably some pre-Netscape Mosaic in there somewhere. I have tables nested in tables nested in tables. Lots of pages have the superfluous XML garbage that Word spews out. If you play web archeologist and dig down a few layers, you'll come upon "single-pixel gifs" for alignment and other anachronisms. This stuff takes too long to download. More importantly, it offends my sense of order.
  2. Consistent presentation. Until reading Zeldman, I'd forgotten how much time we designers used to waste creating workarounds for oddball browser behavior. XHTML and CSS are a path out of this mess. In the continuation section, I'll show how different browsers render this page.
  3. Spring cleaning. Yesterday's great ah-ha is today's commonplace. Some of my older writings appear prescient; many now seem naive. As long as I'm going to churn through old content, I plan to harvest the stuff of lasting value and dump the rest. Note the Research section to the right; that's where most of the good stuff will reside.

The front page of this site is a conventional set of tables. Here's what it looks like in the Opera browser:

Internet Explorer renders the same code like this, squeezing the heading into an odd layout:

Mozilla screws up the text alignment in the right column:

Life's too short to use programming tricks to accommodate browser variations. Here's my Workflow Learning Institute page, which is coded in XHTML, as rendered by three different browsers. They are identical.



Internet Explorer:

Rant alert. It really, really, really gets my goat that Microsoft, having illegally crushed Netscape, has abandoned Internet Explorer. Opera and Mozilla are easier to use, faster, and are laden with cool features. By contrast, IE is truly lame: no resizing of text, no tabbed windows, and klutzy controls. Having cut off its competitor's air supply, Microsoft has no motivation to improve its product, save that of satisfying its customers. Customer satisfaction doesn't seem to matter to Redmond. Message to Bill & Steve: We have long memories for crap like this. /rant.

Posted by Jay Cross at December 14, 2003 10:32 AM | TrackBack


Posted by: urlaub mallorca at July 9, 2004 12:24 PM

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