Thu, 25 Sep 2003

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i don't buy it

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While the author of this blog post about how it is difficult to write clean XHTML in a corporate environment makes very valid points (e.g., you can't control the output of the CMS, and most WYSIWYG editors emit borked code), I still can't stomach the fact that you have to compromise your professional integrity in order to satisfy the corporate master.

True, I have yet to earn a serious wage, and, while I fantasize about staying free from the corporate task master, chances are, I will be 0wn3d. (In fact, I probably am already 0wn3d, considering how much debt I have.) So if it's your job on the line, you just might have to cut corners. I can understand that.

But the thing is, there are advantages to properly coding, in terms of semantic correctness, and you throw these advantages away by using kludges and hacks like tables. Ultimately, I really think that content should be king, that content must be accessible, meaning being able to be read by XML parsers, being viewable on non-standard browsers such as cel phones and handheld computers, being transformable to PDF, and providing all the interop niceties that well-formed markup gives you, and if you can't get that layout perfectly right, a redesign may very well be a good idea. After all, all the content should still be right there, accessible, and self-describing. And if your corporate task master throws a fit that it doesn't fit the specs to the exact pixel, you should point out the fact that these intact interop niceties will save a lot of time and effort (and money) in the long run, while that piece of eye candy really isn't going to do much other than tax the patience of the next guy who has to maintain this slop (and possibly crash the browsers of their prospective clients.)

Sure, you shouldn't have to bear stigmata for using transitional code. There's no need to wear a scarlet letter. But I think that some of this criticism is necessary and bears hearing out.

As Internet Explorer grows obsolescent, as Mozilla and other Gecko-based browsers take the lead, as novel rendering engines like KHTML (which drives Konqueror and Safari) become more ubiquitous, as we move away from the personal computer as the only pardigm for displaying content from the Web, there is going to be a lot of breakage going on. And, while, perhaps, in the short term, it may be beneficial to web developers, as they'll have jobs fixing these sites, in terms of the big picture, it's just a big waste. If you tried your best, and got caught by the 11th hour, that's one thing, but to just blithely ignore these recommendations because this how you've always done it, it renders fine on all the major browsers, is extraordinarily short-sighted.

21:19:00 25 Sep 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 0 comments

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