The Joys of HTML5

HTML5 is SOOOooooo much nicer to program for than previous versions of HTML. Here’s why, but first a little context. We’re creating a power-user interface for the next version of our app using HTML5. It will be similar to tweet deck with multiple columns, and it needs to have all sorts of functionality crammed into the column views. This will require a lot of custom UI components and iterative work on UX. But it’s not so daunting a task when you don’t have to support really old browsers. Browsers which forcing you to compromise your user’s experience. I’ve been putting time into creating a Javascript library for HTML5 applications, and I’ve open sourced it with the name Simpli5 (hosting on github). Many of the things I’m doing there will make traditional Javascript purists cry in horror, but it’s focused on building rich applications that are easy to understand and maintain. But I’ll come back to Simpli5 later. Today it’s about HTML5 and the CSS and Javascript that comes with it. These are some of the golden gleaming granules of goodness that gives me goosebumps with HTML5. (now THAT is some alliteration!) CSS Selectors do what they’re supposed to. Using the child selector “>” I can remove blocks of CSS that exist solely to nullify cascading styles. I can add a margin to all but the first element using the sibling selector “+”. I can exclude using :not(.someclass) and skip items using :nth-child(odd). :hover works on all elements. And I can use a[href~=jive] if I want to highlight Jive links all special. CSS Styles prevent much of the need for extra HTML cluttering up the page for styling sake. I can layer on multiple backgrounds to elements (background: url(1), url(2), etc), round out corners (border-radius:5px), reliably use opacity for a whole element or for just the border/background color (rgba(0, 0, 0, .5)), and even create gradients and reflections. Everything I need for a Web 2.0 application . Between this and the selectors, I can cook up some pretty decent looking prototypes without any images at all. Javascript Consistency allows me to reliably make use of implicit getters and setters, add to the prototype of DOM elements (gasp, he wouldn’t dare!), select elements in the DOM using all the above mentioned CSS selector coolness (natively BTW), and all the Array

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methods and DOM methods that you SHOULD be able to use but usually can’t because you have to support browser X (being, of course, IE). HTML5 also has newer tags, micro formats, and such, but that hasn’t been something I’ve really benefited from so much. I’m not building a website. I’m building an application. And those have different needs. I’m excited to use some of the other new features such as the client-side storage and database for speed and offline support.