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Archive for July 10th, 2007

The HTML standard

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

For the past couple of months, I’ve been following the development of the HTML 5 standard. I even joined the W3C HTML Working Group as an “Invited Expert” (I place quotations around that because it takes no more than an email to achieve that title).

The experience of watching this standard develop has been an odd one. With so many opposing viewpoints, it’ a miracle any decisions are even made.

When it comes to developing new standards, my experience is dwarfed by many of those leading the group. That’s why I’ve chosen to keep my mouth shut and watch the development from the sidelines. That’s not to say I don’t have my opinions on it.

The standard appears to be focused solely on solving today’s problems. They’re creating new elements to accommodate common types of information currently on websites. The <article> tag to contain articles. Perfect for a newspaper site, right? The <nav> tag for your site’s navigation. Each element has a clear purpose and was created to address a specific problem.

However, that doesn’t allow much for change. What about the unforeseeable problems of the future? How do we plan for those and make something that will adapt?

Those are questions I don’t have the answer to. I just hope someone does. Or else we’ll just be running in circles.

I’ve seen the <dl> tag used for just about everything except an actual list of definitions. Is that the same thing we’ll be saying about the <nav> tag in 5 years?