Thursday, October 29


I've been wanting to jump into web design and specifically web coding for awhile now, but have been held back because of the big mess of standards: which browsers support which features of which technology, and which don't. The "safe" thing to do right now, in order not to exclude the great mass of IE users out there, is to use HTML 4 and CSS 1, or XHTML 1 and CSS (1 or 2). It still seems like a hodgepodge, though, and I have no confidence Microstupid will ever make a standards-compliant browser.

So I decided, screw anyone using IE, just on principle, as well as to make learning modern web design more exciting and cutting-edge. I'm going to just start with HMTL 5, which seems perpetually in draft stage (sorta like beta software), but it's not that there's anything wrong with the standard (in fact there's a whole lot of cool stuff about it), it's the old chicken and egg game of waiting for browsers to support it fully. And IE is holding everyone else on the web back.

If you're interested at what new things are possible with HTML 5 and what it's all about, go here:

I'd like to switch my blog from Blogger to Wordpress, and totally re-style it and spruce it up (in fact I already have my Wordpress account set up, the name reserved, and have a Flikr account for hosting photos and a FileFactory account for hosting other kinds of files, like MP3s or homemade video which I could legally stream to my blog). And, ta-da, here's a guy who's already made a free template for Wordpress in HTML 5:

If you want to see a big gallery of sites that are already using it HTML 5, and some of the cool things they've come up with, go here:

Basically, HTML 5 does away with all the kludged-together standards and proprietary workarounds of yesteryear, everything from HTML 1-4, CSS 1-2, XHTML, much of what Javascript was needed for, some of what Flash was needed for, and so on. It also breaks free of its SGML roots, if that means anything to you (it will if you're a FrameMaker or RoboHelp user). It's basically a new markup language using almost the same syntax, but structured much more cleanly and incorporating a lot of external technologies (extensions) into the core language. And it's backwards compatible in the sense that it won't break older browsers or lame browsers (IE) that don't recognize its new bits - those parts just won't function or maybe won't even appear. The browser will ignore the "5" content as though it were just commented out. At least, that's the theory. I don't know the reality yet.

Of course, you can still augment your site with SQL, XML, or other backends if you need those functions (say, if you're a store and need to keep an inventory), and scripting languages like Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, AJAX, and plain Javascript will still function; in fact, most of them will work even better since HTML is more extension-aware (I won't bore you with the details). So basically, it's all good news, except that the large IE market out there might not be able to see/use the best parts of your site, like embedded video and audio (without extensions!) and SVG graphics. If you're running a business, this is bad. But I'm not running a business, and I don't care about people who use IE. In fact, I'll put a big old "IE sucks, get another browser and come back" badge right on my homepage or something; anything to encourage people to switch to something that plays nice.

Fun to have new things to learn and play with. Cloud computing. Web 2.0. Whatever trendy buzzword you want to use. Web pages aren't just to look at anymore, they do things now. Don't expect a blog move anytime extremely soon, though... I still have a lot to learn and I won't switch to a new host and a new code base until I've tested the heck out of it and am sure it will fly. Plus I'll need time even once I figure out how it all works to come up with a unique, cool template design that I'll be happy with for a long time. This one has served me well but it's ancient! I want a lot more control over audio, video, fonts, and pixel-level placement of page elements than this blogger template could ever give me. Plus links to things like a resume/CV and other pages for other parts of my life and other purposes besides blogging.

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