So Eric Meyer is trumpeting the Blogger redesign. I have a couple of notes.
- It seems like this confirms that XHTML+CSS is not for casual professionals or consumers anymore. Either you have to be a hardcore hobbyist or a professional who does virtually nothing else, like Zeldman. They provide pre-selected XHTML-strict templates, but they had to go to a laundry list of luminaries to get them. The days of democratic HTML have given way to gatekeepers, either electronic or human. Fortunately the electronic ones preserve some of the democracy of the original HTML concept.
- The very first entry (the announcement itself) shows that semantic code that weighs less than comparable table-based layout is, shall we say, overhyped a bit:
Hmm….seems kinda familiar…
<table id="header"> <tr id="h2"> <td id="h3"> <a href="../../" title="Blogger Knowledge"> <img src="../../images/klogo100.gif" width="422" height="100" alt="Blogger" /> </a> <font color="#CCCCCC"></font> </td> </tr> </table>
OK, I threw in the font tag just to be mean, but I think you get my point. This is NOT “putting the hacks in a central CSS file.”
Really, all I want out of the XHTML Strict+CSS2 table-free advocates is an admission that the technology is still pretty immature, that there are still really big problems in adopting it as a full-on replacement for HTML, and that in current browsers it isn’t yet possible to completely fulfil the dream that they outline–easier maintenance, lighter weight (images and code), completely semantic code, and being able to use one source (XHTML) as the structured repository for content for several devices (wireless, disabled, standard browsers) simultaneously. I just want an acknowledgement that it costs more to produce and requires compromises, and that different situations may require different compromises–even, gasp, the occasional table for layout.
Really, can it be so much worse than the above example?
3 thoughts on “More ‘Semantic’ Code”
“It seems like this confirms that XHTML+CSS is not for casual professionals or consumers anymore. … They provide pre-selected XHTML-strict templates, but they had to go to a laundry list of luminaries to get them.”
What’s the big deal? If you’re going to provide canned templates, why not have them be written by serious professionals? And there’s a marketing angle as well — bringing in the “laundry list of luminaries” gives them another hook to get buzz around the redesign. (You’re writing about it, so it worked.)
And “casual professionals and consumers” aren’t limited to these templates — they are free to drop in their own HTML if they prefer:
The templates are there to give people who DON’T want to edit their HTML good, standards-compliant choices. Why is that a bad thing?
And with the example — yes, you could do the same thing with a table, but why would you want to? What are you gaining by marking it up as tabular data when it clearly isn’t?
And you’re not mentioning how CSS allows them to get their sidebar boxes — “Blogger Help”, etc. — with a nice DIV class=”sidebar”, instead of having to encase the entire page in a big table.
Is the Blogger example failing to display properly in some common use case? If not, it seems to me that the burden should be on anyone else to explain why they should have used a table, rather than the other way around.
Point 1) It’s not a bad thing, it just suggests to me that you can’t get Joe Designer to reliably give you XHTML Strict + CSS2 + table free. You need to go to the top of the game to get it. That suggests to me the stuff just isn’t as ready for mass consumption as some argue.
Point 2) My point wasn’t to put it in a table, it’s just that the design used had the exact same weight as if you’d used a table. Additionally, the code is only slightly more semantic than using a table–there’s a meaningless span tag in return for not describing the image as tabluar data. That seems like a pretty even tradeoff to me, semantic-wise.
If it was as easy as “coding to the standard” and using completely semantic code, the code would look something like this:
Once that code works reliably in the major browsers, I’ll switch completely. In the meantime, I may just have to use the occasional table:
I’m not sure what you and I did there is so much more terrible than what they did in the unedited blogger design. And I’m sure you remember how much wailing and gnashing of teeth is took the both of us just to get that page as table-free as it is!
on 1: “It’s not a bad thing, it just suggests to me that you can’t get Joe Designer to reliably give you XHTML Strict + CSS2 + table free.”
I still think you’re reading too much into their choice of launch partners… why would they miss the marketing opportunity to gather some buzz by buddying up with some well-known people? And
If they really cared about reliably outputting strict XHTML, they woudldn’t let you drop in whatever template code you want, no matter how “tag soup” it is. But they do. So I take their templates as being more in the CSS Zen Garden spirit of “hey, look at this cool thing you can do” than in any desire to install gates around the citadel of HTML.
on 2: “there’s a meaningless span tag in return for not describing the image as tabluar data. That seems like a pretty even tradeoff to me, semantic-wise.”
But the meaningless-ness of the SPAN tag is exactly its point — user agents that don’t do visual rendering know to just ignore SPANs. They can’t be as certain with TABLEs since those TABLEs might actually be rendering tables.
It’s the meaninglessness of SPAN and DIV that make them preferable to TABLE in cases where the substitution can be made.
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