A Book Apart. New York, New This book is chock-full of examples of a design sensibil- ity that is distinctly around your iTunes music library. It was a pretty. Leading web design eBook libraries now available through Envato's flagship creative subscription service, Envato Elements. Get the entire A Book Apart catalogue for free! The winner will have eight great books appear like magic in their Readmill library. You can upload your EPUB or PDF books anytime on the web, import books from Dropbox.
- Envato enhances eBook library with A Book Apart, Smashing Magazine partnerships
- Designing the Series
- Announcing A Book Apart
- A Book Apart
- Select country
- HTML5 for Web Designers
- Company Mug
This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book.
Envato enhances eBook library with A Book Apart, Smashing Magazine partnerships
If you own the copyright to this book and it is wrongfully on our website, we offer a simple DMCA procedure to remove your content from our site. Start by pressing the button below! Born out of dissatisfaction with the pacing and politics of the W3C, and conceived for a web of applications not just documentsthis new edition of the web's lingua franca has in equal measure excited, angered, and confused the web design community.
And he does it in this book, using only as many words and pictures as are needed. There are other books about HTML5, and there will be many more. There will be page technical books for application developers, whose needs drove much of HTML5's develop ment.
There will be even longer secret books for browser makers, addressing technical challenges that you and I are blessed never to need to think about. But this is a book for you—you who create web content, who mark up web pages for sense and semantics, and who design accessible interfaces and experiences.
Call it your user guide to HTML5. Its goal—one it will share with every title in the forthcoming A Book Apart catalog—is to shed clearlight on a tricky subject, and do it fast, so you can get back to work. Using just the simple tags it contains, the human race has cre ated an astoundingly diverse network of hyperlinkcd docu ments, from Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia, to personal blogs and websites dedicated to cats that look like Hitler.
HTML5 is the latest iteration of this lingua franca. While it is the most ambitious change to our common tongue, this isn't the first time that HTML has been updated. The language has been evolving from the start. In he wrote a doc ument called "HTML Tags" in which he proposed fewer than two dozen elements that could be used for writing web pages.
Rather than inventing a new standard, Sir Tim saw the benefit of building on top of what already existed—a trend that can still be seen in the development of HTML5. The first official specification was HTML 2. Many of the features in this specification were driven by existing implementations.
For example, the market-leading Mosaic web browser of already provided a way for authors to embed images in their documents using an tag. The img element later appeared in the HTML 2. The latter half of the nineties saw a flurry of revisions to the specification until HTML4. At that time, HTML faced its first major turning point. The X stood for "eXtreme" and web developers were required to cross their arms in an Xshape when speak ing the letter. No, not really. The Xstood for "extensible" and arm crossing was entirely optional.
Designing the Series
No new elements or attributes were added. The only difference was in the syntax of the language. Having stricter rules wasn'tsuch a bad thing. It encouraged authors to use a single writingstyle. Whereas previously tags and attributes could be written in uppercase, lowercase, or any combination thereof, a valid XHTML 1.
As web designers embraced the emergence of web standards, led by The Web Standards Project, the stricter syntax of XHTML was viewed as a "best practice" way of writing markup.
But if authors published a document with an XML mime-type, then the most popular web browser in the world at the timeInternet Explorer—couldn't render the document. It seemed as if the W3C were losing touch with the day-to-day reality of publishing on the web.
Announcing A Book Apart
Instead, it was going to be a pure language, unbur dened by the sloppy history of previous specifications. It was a disaster. A rebellion formed within the W3C. The consortium seemed to be formulating theoretically pure standards unrelated to the needsof web designers. Representatives from Opera, Apple, and Mozilla were unhappy with this direction. They wanted to see more emphasis placed on formats that allowed the cre ation of web applications.
Things came to a head in a workshop meeting in Ian Hickson, who was working for Opera Software at the time, proposed the idea of extending HTMLto allow the creation of web applications. The proposal was rejected.
The W3C uses a consensus-based approach: issues are raised, discussed, and voted on. At the WHATWG, issues are also raised and discussed, but the final decision on what goes into a specification rests with the editor.
The editor is Ian Hickson.
In practice, politics and internal bickering can bog down progress. Butthe editor doesn't quite have absolute power: an invitation-only steering committee can impeach him in the unlikely event of a Strangelove scenario.
Both specifications were intended to extend HTML. Over time, they were merged into a single specification called simply HTML5. It would be inaccurate to say that it was going nowhere fast.
It was going nowhere very, very slowly. All of this stopping and starting led to a somewhat confusing situation. The format had been as good as dead for several years; this announcement was little more than a death certificate.
Strangely, rather than passing unnoticed, the death of XHTML 2 was greeted with some mean-spirited gloating.
A Book Apart
As you'll soon see, that's not necessarily the case. HTML5 is as sloppy or as strict as you want to make it. There are two groups working on HTML5. Perhaps the most confusing issue for web designers dipping their toes into the waters of HTML5 is getting an answer to the question, "when will it be ready?
What followed was a wave of public outrage from some web designers. They didn't understand what "proposed recom mendation" meant, but they knew they didn't have enough fingers to count off the years until The outrage was unwarranted. In this case, reaching a status of "proposed recommendation" requires two complete imple mentations of HTML5. Considering the scope of the specifica tion, this date is incredibly ambitious.
After all, browsers don't have the best track record of implementing existing standards. It took Internet Explorer over a decade just to add support for the abbr element. The date that really matters for HTML5 is That's when the specification is due to become a "candidate recommenda tion.
What really matters is when browsers start supporting features. We began using parts of CSS 2. If we had wait ed for every browser to completely support CSS 2. It's no different with HTML5.
HTML5 for Web Designers
There won't be a single point in time at which we can declare that the language is ready to use. Instead, we can start using parts of the specification as web browsers support those features.
It's an evolutionary rather than revolutionary change in the ongoing story of markup. Revolutionary fervor was applied to time itself.
For a brief period, the French Republic introduced a decimal time system, with each day divided into ten hours and each hour divided into one hundred minutes. It was thor oughly logical and clearly superior to the sexagesimal system. Decimal time was a failure. Nobody used it. The W3C rediscovered the lesson of post-revolutionary France: changing existing behavior is very, very difficult. One of the key principles is to "Support existing con tent. Most of HTML 4. Some of the other design principles include "Do not reinvent the wheel," and "Pave the cowpaths," meaning, if there's a widespread way for web designers to accomplish a task—even if it's not necessarily the best way—it should be codified in HTML5.
Put another way, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The HTML5 community shares the same pragmatic approach to getting a format out there, without worrying too much about theoretical problems. This attitude is enshrined in the design principle of "Priority of constituencies," which states, "In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementers over specifiers over theoretical purity.
If a browser vendor refuses to support a particular proposal, there's no point in adding that proposal to the specification because then the specification would be fiction. According to the priority of constituencies, we web designers have an even stronger voice. If we refuse to use part of the specification, then the specification is equally fictitious.
On the one hand, the specification needs to be powerful enough to support the creation of web applications. On the other hand, HTML5 needs to support existing con tent, even if most existing content is a complete mess. But if it goes too far in the other direc tion, the specification will enshrine tags and tables for layout because, after all, that's what a huge number of web pages are built with.
It's a delicate balancing act that requires a pragmatic, level headed approach.
For the first time, a specification also defines what browers should do when they are dealing with badly formed documents. Until now, browser makers have had to individually figure out how to deal with errors. This usually involved reverse engineering whatever the most popular browser was doing— not a very productive use of their time. It would be better for browser makers to implement new features rather than waste their time duplicating the way their competitors handle mal formed markup.
Defining error handling in HTML5 is incrediblyambitious.