Tag Archives: html5

HTML5, who is bad enough to take on canvas?

HTML5 Superfriends

I recently went to New York to hang with some people who are interested in HTML5 and figure out what I thought about the future of this web standard. I’m a skeptic by nature, so I went into our little quest expecting to be unimpressed by HTML5, but in fact, it isn’t so bad, and even has a few additions I’m excited about.

Down with Pseudocode!

On the other hand the spec itself drives me crazy because I feel like pseudocode is a poor substitute for properly and clearly stating what you are trying to achieve. It is easy to mask your agenda in pseudocode and harder for people to sort out later what was intentional versus incidental.

#html5 .pseudo-code { display: none;} Thought experiments don’t belong in a spec & pseudocode can’t replace properly specifying requirements.


Additional Elements

One of the things that pleased me about the spec was what was not in it. While there are a bunch of additional elements that seem unnecessary, they haven’t gone too badly overboard. I suggested a sanity test of the data used to gather these classes because sometimes they got the name correct, but the use-case wrong. I won’t go into it here because it will be on the section titled “footer” in a document we will publish shortly.

Multinode Elements

I think we need a mechanism to define more complex structures than one element allows. I’d like to be able to define the small lego that make up the building blocks of my sites. The existing elements in the HTML 5 specification are more than sufficient, I’d just like to have a mechanism to define combinations of those that repeat throughout the site. It would also be great to be able to define error handling, for example, what happens if the browser finds a module with no body? Or automatically insert presentational junk so it doesn’t clutter dev code or add bytes over the wire.


It should be possible to do more with less javascript. I’d like to see browser support for common aspects of web pages as well as web applications. Practically every site in the known universe has toggle blocks, tabs, carousels, or accordion menus. I’d like to seen native browser support and CSS styling, so that these element incur no particular performance cost.

Woot! for mashups being compatible with standards

The addition of the section tag means we can mashup content from different sources without worrying about messing up a table of contents or site map generated from the pages of the site. Very cool. I thought section was completely stupid, but it has this cool feature, so now I’m satisfied.


Who isn’t excited about canvas? It pushes the boundaries of what we can do in our webapps and websites. Very very cool. On the other hand there is a giant gnarly unsolved technical problem with the canvas element. How do we provide universal access to an element that exists primarily via JavaScript? What would the API look like that insures that anyone can get the data goodies out of canvas and interact with its controls? What do browsers need to implement to make this workable? How can app developers get started today without ruining the accessibility of their work?

Standardistas meet JavaScripters, JavaScripters meet Standardistas. There. Much better. There are a few of us who span both worlds, but remarkably few considering how much our work overlaps. Maybe I should have said Ajaxian meet A List Apart, A List Apart, Ajaxian. You would probably like each other if you got to know one another. Though you don’t speak the same language, you both really care about users. ;)

Bespin raises questions about universal access to the canvas tag

Bespin raises questions about universal access to the canvas tag

We have a really cool technical problem to solve (In my book, really cool == hard, otherwise it would be boring!). If we are going to build bigger and more complicated stuff out of canvas (holy crap Bespin!), and we want to display data via interactive charts and controls, how in the world do we make this stuff universally accessible? How can we make sure search engines can see the data? How do people access it on any device? Without sight? Without a mouse (like cell phones).

We want the stuff we build to be used as widely as possible. So JavaScripters, what do you want from browsers? What could they do now that would make your life far easier? We need to solve this now, before this thing (HTML5) goes into Last Call and we end up with a half-baked solution. We’ve only just gotten started thinking about all the cool stuff we can build with Canvas, but the specification needs suggestions now. Where is the developer bad-ass enough to figure it out? Is there anything we can learn from flash? SVG?