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posted by martyb on Tuesday July 02 2019, @04:39PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the lawns dept.

"Front-end" developer, Pete Lambert, writes about why front-end "web" developers should start to learn HTML. More and more developers are using only pre-made frameworks and quite unfamiliar with the fundmentals of the technology they are using, such as semantic markup. He notes that the continued failure to pay attention to the basics of semantics is slowly breaking what's left of the World Wide Web and suggests reasons to correct that and has some pointers to learning resources.

I’m a ‘frontend of the frontend’ kind of guy. My expertise is in HTML and CSS, so it’s easy for me to wax lyrical about why everybody should learn what I already know (for the record, I don’t know it all - we still have heated debates in the office about what the best way to mark up a certain component might be). This isn’t about ‘my job’s more important than yours. If you’re writing code that renders things in a browser, this is your job.

It’s about usability and accessibility. If you don’t think the semantic structure of your Web page or app is important then you’re essentially saying “Well, it works for me in my browser, ship it”. I don’t think you’d do that with your Javascript and you certainly shouldn’t be doing it with your CSS. Search engines need to read your content, not enjoy your swoopy animations or fancy gradients. Screen reader software needs to read your content. Keyboard users need to read your content. Who knows what technology will come next and how it will consume your app but I’ll bet my bottom Bitcoin it’ll work better if it can easily read, parse and traverse your content. The way these things read your content is that they know it’s actually content and not just strings of text wrapped in meaningless tags. They know what’s a table and how to present it, they know what’s a list and how to present it, they know what’s a button and what’s a checkbox. Make everything from divs and they’re going to have to work bloody hard to figure that out.

Earlier on SN:
How to Build and Host an Energy Efficient Web Site (2018)
Conservative Web Development (2018)
Dodgy Survey Shows 1 in 10 Believe HTML is an STD? (2014)


Original Submission

Related Stories

Dodgy Survey Shows 1 in 10 Believe HTML is an STD? 21 comments

GungnirSniper writes:

"Coupon code website VoucherCloud.net's publicity firm, 10 Yetis PR, recently released a press release on VoucherCloud's behalf. The release stated that of 2,392 American adults polled, 11% thought 'HTML [is a] Sexually-transmitted disease,' and 23% thought 'MP3 [is a] Star Wars Robot. The media, beginning with the LA Times ran with the story seemingly without digging into the facts and other sites echoed the story. 10 Yetis PR has a page showing screenshots of much of the coverage. iMediaEthics noted the survey results were not available at the time, and that 'Vouchercloud's publicity firm, 10 Yetis PR, lists its work in viral marketing and stunts on its website.' 10 Yetis PR provided similar poll results late last year that one in six UK residents have never visited their local bank branch.

Is this good publicity seeking by 10 Yetis for VoucherCloud, or simply poor journalism on behalf of the media who uncritically ran the story?"

Conservative Web Development 94 comments

Programmer Drew DeVault writes a blog post about conservative web development after poking at a few popular sites and finding that only 8% of the data downloaded among the megabytes of advertisements, scripts, and third-party scripts is actually related to content. This represents several usability problems. After walking through some of the more problematic symptoms he proposes several steps which can remediate the state of the web.

Today I turned off my ad blocker, enabled JavaScript, opened my network monitor, and clicked the first link on Hacker News - a New York Times article. It started by downloading a megabyte of data as it rendered the page over the course of eight full seconds. The page opens with an advertisement 281 pixels tall, placed before even the title of the article. As I scrolled down, more and more requests were made, downloading a total of 2.8 MB of data with 748 HTTP requests. An article was weaved between a grand total of 1419 vertical pixels of ad space, greater than the vertical resolution of my display. Another 153-pixel ad is shown at the bottom, after the article. Four of the ads were identical.

Aside: Opponents to javascript are often wrongfully framed as Luddites. However, I invite readers to connect the dots; see:
Exploiting Speculative Execution (Meltdown/Spectre) via JavaScript
Web cache poisoning just got real: How to fling evil code at victims
Rowhammer.js Is the Most Ingenious Hack I've Ever Seen and
Oh, great, now there's a SECOND remote Rowhammer exploit

[Ed note: SoylentNews is designed to use no Javascript for normal user interactions. (There are a few staff-accessible pages requiring it, such as the Story Editing page.) I don't know of anyone on staff who would seriously consider changing that. When this site was initially rolling out, we actually tested to make sure it would work on a text-only browser (Lynx) and even Mosaic! So, please enjoy your light-weight, performant web pages here!]

[TMB note: Except the "collapse/expand this whole damned thread" button.]


Original Submission

How to Build and Host an Energy Efficient Web Site 62 comments

Low-tech Magazine explains how to build a low-tech web site, using its own (solar powered) web site as an example. They cover both the web design and the actual hardware in use, an Olimex A20. The idea is to radically reduce the energy use associated with accessing the content, seeing as complex designs with Javascript have burdensome resource requirements that translate into increased use of electricity. Renewable power sources alone are not enough to address the growing energy use of the Internet. Their server is also self-hosted so there's no need for third-party tracking and cookies either.

Low-tech Magazine was born in 2007 and has seen minimal changes ever since. Because a website redesign was long overdue — and because we try to practice what we preach — we decided to build a low-tech, self-hosted, and solar-powered version of Low-tech Magazine. The new blog is designed to radically reduce the energy use associated with accessing our content.

Earlier on SN:
Conservative Web Development (2018)
About a Third of All Web Sites Run on WordPress (2018)
Please, Keep your Blog Light (2018)


Original Submission

The Web Is Now Too Complex To Allow The Creation of New Browsers 69 comments

Software developer Drew DeVault has written a post at his blog about the reckless, infinite scope of today's web browsers. His conclusion is that, given decades of feature creep, it is now impossible to build a new web browser due to the obscene complexity of the web.

I conclude that it is impossible to build a new web browser. The complexity of the web is obscene. The creation of a new web browser would be comparable in effort to the Apollo program or the Manhattan project.

It is impossible to:

  • Implement the web correctly
  • Implement the web securely
  • Implement the web at all

Starting a bespoke browser engine with the intention of competing with Google or Mozilla is a fool's errand. The last serious attempt to make a new browser, Servo, has become one part incubator for Firefox refactoring, one part playground for bored Mozilla engineers to mess with technology no one wants, and zero parts viable modern web browser. But WebVR is cool, right? Right?

The consequences of this are obvious. Browsers are the most expensive piece of software a typical consumer computer runs. They're infamous for using all of your RAM, pinning CPU and I/O, draining your battery, etc. Web browsers are responsible for more than 8,000 CVEs.3

The browser duopoly of Firefox and Chrome/Chromium has clearly harmed the World-Wide Web. However, a closer look at the membership of the W3C committes also reveals representation by classic villains which, perhaps coincidentally, showed up around the time the problems noted by Drew began to grow.

Previously:
An Open Letter to Web Developers (2020)
Google Now Bans Some Linux Web Browsers from their Services (2019)
HTML is the Web (2019)
The Future of Browsers (2019)
One Year Since the W3C Sold Out the Web with EME (2018)


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @04:54PM (9 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday July 02 2019, @04:54PM (#862453) Journal

    For now. VR world wide wank is next.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:29PM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:29PM (#862461)

      VR world wide wank is next.

      I thought that was Second Life.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:48PM (4 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:48PM (#862485) Journal

      HTTPS is just a way to move content more securely than HTTP, and knowing that the source is who it claims to be. That content can be of many MIME types including HTML markup, graphics, video, sound, scripts, style sheets, and many other types of content.

      Because I build apps, my view of the web browser is something like a "smart terminal" from back in the daze.

      --
      Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by fyngyrz on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:49PM

      by fyngyrz (6567) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:49PM (#862536) Journal

      From TFS:

      More and more  developers  script kiddies are using only pre-made frameworks and quite unfamiliar with the fundamentals of the technology they are using

      FTFTFS. Also:

      Companies are hiring such shallow, unskilled individuals because the companies themselves are not in it to do a good job; they in it to make money and the quality of the work is of no concern at all as long as it looks fancy and any problems can be pushed off until next quarter, when someone else is managing the project, and then they get to figure out how to make it go away with yet another newer, shinier, and yet somehow crappier implementation.

      For now. VR world wide wank is next.

      Oh, don't worry. The script kiddies won't know how that works, either. 😊

      --
      I want to grow my own food, but I can't find pizza seeds.

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:02AM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:02AM (#862581) Journal

      HTTPS is the systemd of the web. It is the devil, and is already broken. Based on trust, it is broken by default. And it's just such a pain in the ass when the smallest glitch pops up. But for ID purposes and tracking, I'm sure it's a winner.

      A better solution would target DNS as the real culprit in most security issues.

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by SomeGuy on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:00PM (30 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:00PM (#862455)

    More and more developers are using only pre-made frameworks and quite unfamiliar with the fundmentals of the technology they are using

    The thing is, this "fundamental" technology is complete and total shit. The only thing that surprises me is that people didn't start moving in this direction sooner. For too long idiots have considered HTML to be a "programming language" rather than just markup. WYSIWYG editors were a big thing very early on but fell on their faces as the browser wars kept breaking the rather vague HTML "standards".

    The only people who should need to worry about HTML are those creating wikis, content management systems, custom forum software, and so on.

    Would you write a letter using formatting markup commands like a 1970s mainframe typesetting system, or would you rather use a friendly WYSIWYG GUI word processor? (bitches about this very entry box and manual markup tags as well)

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:19PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:19PM (#862459) Journal

      If I'm writing text to appear on a web page, sure, I would like a nice editor that works at a high level.

      If I'm building an application, then at some level I need to think about how the application's output is rendered into a browser. How buttons and more sophisticated controls work. Etc.

      --
      Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:46PM (17 children)

      Would you write a letter using formatting markup commands like a 1970s mainframe typesetting system, or would you rather use a friendly WYSIWYG GUI word processor? (bitches about this very entry box and manual markup tags as well)

      Actually, I'd prefer a hybrid. The height of word processors was WordPerfect 5 for Windows, IMHO.

      Why do I say that? Because it allowed me to create stuff using a WYSIWYG interface, but also allowed me to use "reveal codes" mode and view *all* the formatting tags in the document.

      The advantages are obvious if you've ever used Word or LibreOffice Write. Sure, you can do WYSIWYG, but if some formatting gets mangled, you're SOL and need to start over. With "reveal codes" mode, if there was an issue I could find it easily and remove/change the offending codes. Good luck with that on "modern" word processors.

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:09PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:09PM (#862472)

        You were just typing it wrong.

        ;)

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:33PM (3 children)

        by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:33PM (#862478) Journal

        I thought there WERE reveal codes in libre office....hmmmm...will have to check some time when I'm off the fecking tablet.

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:58PM (2 children)

          I thought there WERE reveal codes in libre office....hmmmm...will have to check some time when I'm off the fecking tablet.

          Could be.

          I'll check out DannyB's suggestions [soylentnews.org]. Perhaps I missed a significant and useful feature of LibreOffice. If that's the case, all the better!

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:25PM (1 child)

            by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:25PM (#862517) Journal

            Found them!
            Go to View, then click Formatting Marks

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:34PM

              Found them!
              Go to View, then click Formatting Marks

              Yup. I see that. It's little bit more intuitive than the "Styles" pane that DannyB suggested.

              However, it's still significantly inferior to WP's reveal codes mode, which shows you plain text wrapped with tags for *every* single formatting option. See my reply [soylentnews.org] to DannyB for more detail.

              Thanks for looking that up though. It can be useful.

              --
              No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:36PM (7 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:36PM (#862479) Journal

        It must be frustrating that you've had trouble with LibreOffice Write.

        I've learned to love it. The Styles are its killer feature. Press F11 to reveal the Styles and Formatting. At first pay attention only to Paragraph and Character styles. A Paragraph style applies to an entire paragraph. Similarly a Character style applies to a range of characters.

        In Write, each time you press ENTER you create a new paragraph, to which a paragraph style would apply. Initially an empty document has the Default style for the first paragraph. Each paragraph style (such as Default) defines which style will automatically apply to the next paragraph.

        One of the first things I often do is create a "Code" style. It inherits from Default. It has a monospace font. The paragraph is indented a bit on both the left and right. One could assign other attributes such as a different background color (like very light gray, or black with white text, etc). This makes it easy to past in code fragments, and quickly change the pasted text to the Code style.

        The easy way to use a style is to click the paintbrush icon near the top right of the Styles and Formatting. Select a style from the list. Then click paragraphs in the document, and they immediately change to that style.

        Note that styles such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc are very useful. If you use them properly, then you can automatically create a table of contents. If you export the document as a PDF, it can include an outline into the PDF document which some PDF viewers can take advantage of.

        Microsoft Word does not have anything like the Styles feature, last that I knew.

        To each their own. Although I remember the WordPerfect, VisiCalc, Altair 8800, etc, I could never imagine trying to use any of them today compared to the tools we now have.

        --
        Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:21PM (6 children)

          Press F11 to reveal the Styles and Formatting. At first pay attention only to Paragraph and Character styles. A Paragraph style applies to an entire paragraph. Similarly a Character style applies to a range of characters.

          Yes. That is useful. But it wasn't at all what I was talking about and is much less intuitive use than the old WordPerfect "Reveal Codes" Mode.

          Essentially, reveal codes provides two panes, one with the WYSIWYG content and one with the text and formatting *inline* as editable tags in the text. This makes troubleshooting formatting issues much, much easier. This link shows reveal codes in action [wordperfect.com].

          Actually, it's kind of similar to the SN "preview" section (wysiwyg) and the comment section while your'e writing a comment. In the "comment" section, you see all the formatting tags, while in the "preview" section you see it as it would be displayed.

          Note that in WordPerfect, you can edit in both sections at the same time, or just use the WYSIWYG pane.

          This is quite different from "styles" in LibreOffice or the similar functionality in Word, and far superior IMHO.

          It must be frustrating that you've had trouble with LibreOffice Write.

          I haven't had "trouble" with it. I've used both LibreOffice and MS Office for decades without issue. I just *prefer* the functionality of "reveal codes" mode, which has (despite the fact that it kicks ass over pretty much any other format editing scheme) never been duplicated. That's sad.

          What's more, functionality like "reveal codes" would be a huge boon to those creating HTML too.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:29PM (5 children)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:29PM (#862521) Journal

            As I said, to each their own.

            If I had a large investment in having learned those reveal codes, I would probably like them also.

            Once ages ago (1982-1984) I used the UCSD p-System editor. I was extremely adept at it. Knew all the keystrokes. Just like watching an experienced Vi or Emacs user. In 1984 I started using GUI based editors and never looked back. As a result, I never learned Vim or Emacs. I've recently been learning Vim because it is very handy at the command line often, and I have started using some non-GUI installations in recent years. (for personal projects. Sometimes on raspberry Pi, or on VMs.) My point: I'm sensitive to the idea that people invest in learning things and are reluctant to change if what they've got works very well for them.

            --
            Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
            • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:41PM (4 children)

              If I had a large investment in having learned those reveal codes, I would probably like them also.

              That's was the beauty of the thing, you don't need any investment at all.

              Just use alt-F3 and it will show you exactly what the formatting is. No muss, no fuss, no selecting text and looking at a styles pane, it's *all* embedded tags in the plain text.

              Whether that be fonts/sizes, tabsets, line spacing, bold, italic, etc., etc., etc. absolutely every single formatting option is represented as tags wrapped around the text it modifies. Simple and elegant.

              But WordPerfect isn't mainstream any more and I haven't used it in decades.

              I can (and do) use LibreOffice and MSOffice just fine, but that one feature would make usability *significantly* better.

              And given that we're talking about HTML here, it would be even *more* useful in that space.

              --
              No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by fyngyrz on Tuesday July 02 2019, @09:02PM (3 children)

                by fyngyrz (6567) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @09:02PM (#862542) Journal

                And given that we're talking about HTML here, it would be even *more* useful in that space.

                Any good text editor provides for a preview pane where you can view HTML, Markdown, etc. in it's already formatted form, while the actual source code is editable in the plain vanilla pane.

                Most of them use OS-level HTML rendering engines, so generally, you do see exactly what you're going to get for most reasonable sets of HTML formatting.

                I use a macro language that gives me exactly what I want, generating the CSS and HTML according to my personal specifications. Works great, nothing out of reach or hidden. It brings the ability to create any reusable formatting tool or toolkit I like to every formatting job, with the additional strength of write-once/debug-once. That's what generated this post, in fact.

                For instance, when it turns out that some CSS thing needs a fix for browser X (not uncommon, because CSS is an out-of-control mutant), then (if I give a damn about browser X), it's one change to the macro and the entire suite of pages is fixed.

                None of which would do me any good at all if I didn't have a decent handle on HTML/CSS markup.

                --
                Patience: What you exercise when there are too many witnesses.

                • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Tuesday July 02 2019, @09:49PM (2 children)

                  by fyngyrz (6567) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @09:49PM (#862548) Journal

                  Sigh... in first para, "it's" should be "its."

                  I've known this for fifty years, and I still do it without thinking.

                  --
                  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single schlep

                  • (Score: 3, Informative) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @10:48PM (1 child)

                    Perhaps you should have this [ambians.com] tattooed on this inside of your eyelids:

                    It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it
                    is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It
                    isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs.
                                                    -- Oxford University Press, Edpress News

                    Just sayin'.

                    --
                    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
                    • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Tuesday July 02 2019, @11:14PM

                      by fyngyrz (6567) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @11:14PM (#862569) Journal

                      oy, lol

                      --
                      The only thing flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:25PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:25PM (#862518) Journal

        The other thing about LibreOffice Write's Styles, suppose you edit a style, such as Code and change it to show white text on black background, *poof* instantly all of the paragraphs of Code style instantly change throughout your document.

        Want there to be a 2 inch top and 3 inch bottom margin around all blocks of code? Just change the style.

        Want some Warning boxes in your document that point out potential pitfalls? Define a Warning style. It could have a 3 inch left indent, so that the box appears further to the right in the document. It could have a very different font weight, etc. You can fiddle with your Warning style, and all paragraphs like that change.

        I also use a Code character style. That way I can mark some characters within an ordinary paragraph as code. When I change the Code paragraph style, I make similar changes to the Code character style. But I only write very short phrases using the Code style.

        Next, I could create, say, a Filename style. It could inherit from the Code style such that by default a filename looks exactly like Code. (both of these are character styles, because I would write filenames within the main text of a document, within sentences, etc.) But if I later have an itch to make Filenames look different, I can change the Filename character style to differ from the Code character style.

        I hope that all makes since.

        --
        Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:47PM

          Sure. Styles work just fine in LibreOffice. I never said they didn't. And I've used them quite a bit myself.

          What I'm talking about is something more immediate that clearly shows current formats. That's so useful when you're not seeing what you expect to see. I'd love to say those are corner cases, but that happens *way* too often in both Word and Writer, with no *simple* way to see what's going on.

          As such, we're talking about different functionality. I was just lamenting that Libre/MS Office don't have a specific and very useful feature. That wasn't an attempt to badmouth your favorite word processor, just pointing out that such a feature is quite useful.

          And that it would be even *more* useful in an HTML editor.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:38PM (#862525)

        I love WordPerfect.

        Sure, it took 10 minutes to boot on my old Packard-Bell with win3.1, but it was such a good word processor.

      • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:11PM

        by Pino P (4721) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:11PM (#862688) Journal

        Have you ever tried opening a .odt (LibreOffice Writer) or .docx (Microsoft Word 2007+) document as a zipfile? There's an XML file inside with all the codes revealed. I concede that there may not be live synchronization between the two.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:43PM (4 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:43PM (#862481)

      I've recently hand-coded a couple of simple websites, and I quickly remembered that putting together some halfway decent HTML was not substantially harder than futzing with a CMS. Now, it helps that I'm fluent in HTML and CSS and JS, so I know how to quickly do what it is I want to do, but I'm also fluent in the PHP and MariaDb code somebody decided would be "standard" back in 1999 or so and I'm still not entirely convinced that all those layers of code make things massively easier.

      Among other things, I've found that CMS work goes a lot more smoothly when you can switch to a text-only editor, fix some busted-up HTML, and go back to the visual view when you need to do that. Because when there's flaws in stuff like FCKEditor, you're not going to be wanting to dive in and fix them yourself, and the alternatives are to hand-code your HTML again or hope that a new release is imminent.

      And of course the hand-coded site also runs much faster than the CMS-based site, because instead of "Run some PHP, load a bunch of stuff from MySql, build a page, send to browser, wait 15 seconds for the 148 JS libraries to load for all the latest whizbangs, ...", it's "Here's a copy of the file, here's a few images, here's the 20 lines of custom JS you actually need to worry about here, you're all set." And yes, you can address that time problem with caching, but that's yet even more complexity and more time when there isn't a cached version.

      I'm not saying "never use a CMS ever", but I do think there are more tradeoffs involved than many Wordpress jockeys think, and that an awful lot of code has been written in search of the elusive "Do What I Meant Rather Than What I Told You" mode to questionable effect.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:11PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:11PM (#862500)

        It is all the code that you don't have to update across all files, along with a ton of UI improvements. CMSs allow abstractions that would be functionally impossible to do with pure HTML/CSS and if you allow JS then you basically re-create a CMS anyway. Once you learn a certain CMS it is almost always easier to build a site with it.

        I will agree that for super simple sites it might be easier to hand code everything.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:21PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:21PM (#862514)

          It is all the code that you don't have to update across all files

          There are plenty of times I've been able to get a lot of mileage out of the following extremely complicated PHP snippets:

          <?php include('header.php'); ?>

          ...

          <?php include('footer.php'); ?>

          and still code most of the site in simple HTML / CSS / JS and runs extremely quickly.

          Once you learn a certain CMS it is almost always easier to build a site with it.

          You seem to think that my defense of hand-coding is due to my lack of familiarity with CMS's. It's not: I'm good enough at both Wordpress and Drupal to get paid good money to fix other people's foul-ups with them (and less frequently, create new sites and/or add new features and plugins and such).

          What I'm suggesting is that your "easier" comes with substantial trade-offs and downsides that you are probably not considering because pseudo-WYSIWYG is shiny.

          --
          The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:36PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @12:36PM (#862674)

            Nope, I mean advanced functionality that would involve more coding effort. As for wysiwyg editors you can always allow pure html. Except for the simplest of sites or some seriously custom and weird functionality I just don't see any reason not to use a cms.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by canopic jug on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:19PM

            by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:19PM (#862692) Journal

            There are plenty of times I've been able to get a lot of mileage out of the following extremely complicated PHP snippets:

            That's still too much PHP. If you just need some headers, footers, and maybe some menus, then you can do better with Server-Side Includes. Either use the XBit hack or add an output filter. After making a good template it becomes less work than using and maintaining a CMS, and is less risk than PHP.

            <!DOCTYPE html>
            <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
            <head>
            . . .
            <body>
            . . .
            <!--#include virtual="/header.html" -->
            . . .
            <!--#include virtual="/navmenu.html" -->
            . . .
            <!--#include virtual="/footer.html" -->
            . . .
            </body>
            </html>

            Both Apache2 and Nginx support Server-Side Includes. Though with Apache2, you should remember to configure it noexec, just out of principal.

            --
            Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:11PM

      by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:11PM (#862510)

      Would you write a letter using formatting markup commands like a 1970s mainframe typesetting system, or would you rather use a friendly WYSIWYG GUI word processor? (bitches about this very entry box and manual markup tags as well)

      Last letter I wrote was in markdown. I keep most of my notes and docs in TeX. If SILE had math package I'd use that. A good WYSIWYG GUI would definitely be nice. But it's neither required nor desirable if it means not having direct access to the markup.

      Anyhow, as he rumors go, SGML and family share the same origin story as Microsoft's Office Open XML standardization process: A government procurement group required IBM to produce human-readable sources so IBM came up with the worst possible markup to lock down the government on their tool chain and software. So, people being traumatized by HTML and XML is really nothing new. Just another sad side of the industry.

      --
      compiling...
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Z-A,z-a,01234 on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:49AM (3 children)

      by Z-A,z-a,01234 (5873) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @06:49AM (#862618)

      That's a nice way to show your ignorance.

      HTML + CSS is a device / OS / browser independent way of describe your document. It offers separation of structure and presentation. Quite powerful attributes, if you ask me...
      It was obviously impaired by the stupid economic interests of various key players, the most recent one being Google.

      In the last 15-20 years the web experience has gotten from bad to worse, so much so that it's currently impossible to see *any* content on almost all websites unless you have JS enabled.
      The size of webpages is insane. You could download 6-10 MB of shit to see 2 pages of text. And I do remember the adobe flash pages...

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Pino P on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:38PM (2 children)

        by Pino P (4721) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @01:38PM (#862705) Journal

        In the last 15-20 years the web experience has gotten from bad to worse, so much so that it's currently impossible to see *any* content on almost all websites unless you have JS enabled.
        The size of webpages is insane. You could download 6-10 MB of shit to see 2 pages of text. And I do remember the adobe flash pages...

        In part, you can blame payment processing costs for that.

        In a capitalist economy, it costs money to feed and house yourself while writing articles for a website. Any website not operated as a hobby or as a brochure for some other product needs to pay its writers somehow. Pay-per-page doesn't work when Visa and Mastercard demand a minimum transaction fee on the order of 0.30 USD. A monthly subscription doesn't work for readers interested in viewing only one document, such as an article found through SoylentNews, through a link shared by a friend, or through a web search engine.

        The traditional model to derive revenue from single page views has been advertising. But over the years, advertisers have become pickier about demanding that ad networks show their messages only to those readers most likely to be interested in them. To accomplish this, ad networks have engaged in widespread surveillance of readers to infer their interests, and dozens of ad networks competing for a single page view can add up to megabytes of crap. One common measure to ensure that ads are viewed is to make the site dependent on proprietary script run in the reader's web browser.

        More recently, a third business model has emerged called a benefit corporation [wikipedia.org]. This allows a company's charter to put a mission benefiting the public over the shareholder profit motive. SoylentNews, for example, is organized as a benefit corporation. But a benefit corporation is not available in all jurisdictions or in all situations. The Guardian has behaved similarly, offering perks for subscribing but not putting up a subscription requirement as many comparable publications have. The risk here is that if not enough subscriptions roll in, the site will have to close.

        The nuclear option is to close all websites that are not operated as a hobby or as a brochure for some other product. This option has its proponents on the green site (1 [slashdot.org], 2 [slashdot.org], 3 [slashdot.org]). But this would result in widespread structural unemployment, and it might reduce the demand for home Internet access to the point where ISPs no longer see economies of scale in providing affordable home broadband for those people who do primarily visit hobby sites. So is there a better business model to pay the writers?

        • (Score: 1) by Z-A,z-a,01234 on Friday July 05 2019, @11:51AM (1 child)

          by Z-A,z-a,01234 (5873) on Friday July 05 2019, @11:51AM (#863450)

          I see your point. I don't fully agree, since there are counter-examples like the youtube channels funded via Patreon (youtube pays way to little per view)
          I'll have to try a subscription to a newspaper and check if the premium offer has significantly lower size per page. I'm willing to bet that it will still be 70+% of the original, free version.

          Broadband is also manly used for video / audio and less for text. As long we have youtube and netflix, and prime, all good :)

          • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Friday July 05 2019, @03:25PM

            by Pino P (4721) on Friday July 05 2019, @03:25PM (#863504) Journal

            perks for subscribing but not putting up a subscription requirement as many comparable publications have. The risk here is that if not enough subscriptions roll in, the site will have to close.

            I don't fully agree, since there are counter-examples like the youtube channels funded via Patreon (youtube pays way to little per view)

            What I wrote in the previous comment applies equally to Patreon with a substitution of terms: "If not enough pledges roll in, the channel will have to close."

            Broadband is also manly used for video / audio and less for text.

            If the Internet is cut back to only hobby sites, you might end up having to go back to dial-up. Would you prefer dial-up?

    • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:32PM

      by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:32PM (#862863) Journal

      Strange. I'm writing a lot of documentation in very simple CSS and HTML simply because it reduces a lot of overhead and will have staying power for decades. Of course, this isn't for clients, it's just personal junk I'm coding. But that is a very good reason to use it.

      Of course, I'd rather use WYSIWYG, but I have documents decades old that are difficult to pull up (and a few that are impossible) in modern word processors.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:35PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:35PM (#862462)

    If only our expectations had stayed at static or very limited functionality websites, then I would agree HTML is the foundational skill.
    But it's not. Even the author admits you ought to add CSS.
    HTML plus CSS just runs out of steam very quickly.
    And the Semantic Web never was a reality. HTML microformats were the biggest "semantic" success, just to show you how little was achieved.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:00PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:00PM (#862492) Journal

      I skipped the semantic web and a lot of fads that have come and gone in the last decade. HTML + CSS + JS are the foundation of rendering whatever you are trying to present. I do think of the web browser as some kind of rendering engine with an interactive interface. I do have some level of frameworks on top of it all in both the browser and the server such that I think in higher level terms like forms, controls, tables, and other things. Yet I still have to touch HTML, CSS and JS sometimes to make it all work. It is always there. It's not going away soon -- despite what fads may come along.

      Now some things were genuine improvements. We've come a long way from (blech!) IE6 (yuk!). Standardization is very nice now. It makes good sense how the CSS styles the HTML. (which is why I like LiberOffice styles in Writer) If you use JQuery, it's use of CSS selectors to select elements to affect fits in perfectly with your CSS / HTML / JS knowledge.

      --
      Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:49PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @05:49PM (#862467)

    Whether you code in C, D, Go, Java, Python, or whatever, you NEED to know assembly language, for at least one CPU. In order to avoid the idiotic assumption that the high-level code you write works by magic, and be ready to restate the inevitable things that compiler goes gaga on, in whatever way that results in usable code.

    Whether you use GTK+, Qt, WxWindow, or whatever, you NEED to know X and WinAPI. In order to avoid the idiotic assumption that the high-level code you write works by magic, and be ready to work around the inevitable bugs and failures, using the lower-level function calls.

    Etc, etc, etc...

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:10PM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:10PM (#862473) Journal

      Whether you code in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, you NEED to know JavaScript and Rust.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:01PM (3 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:01PM (#862494) Journal

        Why Rust?

        I have nothing against it, but I've never needed it yet. So far.

        Are you thinking of compiling it to code to execute within the browser?

        --
        Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:16PM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:16PM (#862501) Journal

          Firefox's got the Rust inside.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:06PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:06PM (#862508)

            The already pathetic marketshare is going down fast, and the toolset is going down with it. Poor Rust, we hardly knew ye...

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:15PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:15PM (#862512) Journal

            I understand that FireFox has Rust inside. Rust code is compiled down to platform / os specific code.

            As a web developer, how would knowing the implementation language of some browser(s) be beneficial?

            Are you suggesting that all browsers should implement some kind of Rust layer accessible as an alternative to JavaScript and WebAssembly?

            As it is now, can't Rust and other languages be compiled to either WebAssembly directly or indirectly via LLVM?

            Any clarification or improvement of my mental model appreciated.

            --
            Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:43PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:43PM (#862482) Journal

      It is nice to understand the system at some level from the atoms up to the application software. Understand some basics about the microprocessor. Assembly language. Low level languages. Operating systems. Higher level languages. And beyond.

      Notice that I left out compilers. You can understand assembly language, yet think that compilers are somehow magical in how they translate high level languages.

      At whatever level you work, it is useful to understand the foundations and layers beneath you, because you can reason about how what you do may impact the performance. In terms of memory or disk use, and speed.

      If you write Java (as I do), it is good to understand the JVM.

      If you write Python, for example, it is good to understand how your code is executed. Interpreted or compiled.

      --
      Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:00PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:00PM (#862493)

        And if you write Kotlin, then choke on your avocado toast you effin' hipster.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:03PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:03PM (#862497) Journal

          I have an interest in Kotlin. I haven't used it yet. I work on a large Java codebase. But I also have my own fun projects. So far I've had a lot of fun with Clojure. There's too many fun things to play with and too little time.

          At my age it would be amusing to be called a hipster.

          --
          Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:36PM (#862524)

      Knowledge of the CPU's assembly language really helped my career at one point. I was part of a group that was subcontracting into a telephone switch manufacturer. They had one small item that was stumping their own programmers and engineers, so they gave the task to our group, and after a couple of our guys failed, they gave it to me.

      Long story short: you could assign phone numbers in memory to keys on the phone's keypad, and choose to sort them into numerical order. The subordinate CPU had a time limit to sort that list, which was in a contiguous array, and it usually failed. Everyone tried every type of sort they could think of: quick sort, merge sort, etc. I finally got it to work, and guaranteed to work every time, with a bidirectional bubble sort.

      Why did that work? Because all the other sorts were comparing non-contiguous items, and moving non-contiquous items, and each time a compare or move was done, the way that particular CPU did pointers meant each compare and swap took 4 CPU cycles. But the bubble sort compared or swapped only contiguous items, operations that took only 1 CPU cycle each. (in other words, an INC or DEC was faster than a JMP) The other sorts were always using too many CPU cycles for the time available.

      The thing was, we weren't coding in assembly, we were coding in a Pascal variant. But I looked at the actual object code generated, and no one else had thought to do that.

      After the onsite meeting where I explained all this to the customer programmers and engineers, and proved it would always work within the time constraints, I got a promotion. Of course, I was still too young to realize that discretion is usually better than publicly rubbing your customers' noses in it, and they didn't renew our contract the following year. (hey, *they* wanted the meeting, not me)

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by krishnoid on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:06PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:06PM (#862470)

    Search engines need to read your content, not enjoy your swoopy animations or fancy gradients. Screen reader software needs to read your content. Keyboard users need to read your content.

    What if you could have Bingle-Duck bias your search results for ADA-compliance and screenreader/keyboard access? That might give the disabled [sic] more leverage in requesting improvements to websites to make them more accessible and let you slice and dice entire areas of interest for the accessibility dimensions you're interested in.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @06:48PM (#862486)

    I swear this sounds like an article from around 2001 about Web standards and how one should not code just to IE.

    What's old is new again.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:38PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @07:38PM (#862504)

    Can do more with it than just make icons, like this for instance
    https://www.genolve.com/svg/en/genolve-wordpress-plugin.php [genolve.com]

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02 2019, @08:38PM (#862527)

    "My expertise is in HTML and CSS." So, two steps above a janitor. That's like saying, "I'm an expert in the alphabet."

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday July 03 2019, @02:36AM (4 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @02:36AM (#862593) Homepage Journal

    Anyone have a good way to write category-theoretic diagrams in HTML?

    • (Score: 2) by arslan on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:53AM (2 children)

      by arslan (3462) on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:53AM (#862628)

      Raw html alone is probably not enough, I'd use SVG mixed in with Html - think of SVG as special html elements to deal with vector graphics.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday July 04 2019, @02:31AM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday July 04 2019, @02:31AM (#863009) Homepage Journal

        You can embed text within SVG? (I'm specifically thinking of mathematical notations (mathML would be nice here) within the diagrams.)

        • (Score: 2) by arslan on Thursday July 04 2019, @07:13AM

          by arslan (3462) on Thursday July 04 2019, @07:13AM (#863054)

          Yes, you can have text elements inside of SVG or any other html elements next to it.

    • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:35PM

      by Common Joe (33) <common.joe.0101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 03 2019, @07:35PM (#862867) Journal

      I was experimenting with diagramming in SVG, but I used Java to generate reusable / customizable SVG code and mix it in with the HTML. I had mixed results in that endeavor. Some of it turned out pretty well. Other parts were left me wondering what I had done six months later.

      It's an idea, though.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03 2019, @05:44AM (#862611)

    Search engines need to read your content, not enjoy your swoopy animations or fancy gradients.

    PHB's often reward eye-candy above all else. They are like mental children in a candy shop.

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