This extended category features articles on client-side and server-side programming languages, tools, frameworks and libraries, as well as back-end issues. Experts and professionals reveal their coding tips, tricks and ideas. Curated by Dudley Storey. .
Disclaimer: This post by Jeremy Keith is one of the many reactions to our recent article on the pursuit of semantic value by Divya Manian. Both articles are published in the Opinion column section in which we provide active members of the community with the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas publicly.
Divya Manian, one of the super-smart web warriors behind HTML5 Boilerplate, has published an article called Our Pointless Pursuit Of Semantic Value. I’m afraid I have to agree with Patrick’s comment when he says that the abrasive title, the confrontational tone and strawman arguments at the start of the article make it hard to get to the real message.
Update (November 12th 2011): Read a reply by Jeremy Keith to this article in which he strongly argues about the importance of pursuing semantic value and addresses issues discussed in the article as well as in the comments here on Smashing Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article is published in the Opinion column section in which we provide active members of the community with the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas publicly. Do you agree with the author? Please leave a comment. And if you disagree, would you like to write a rebuttal or counter piece? Leave a comment, too, and we will get back to you! Thank you.
Allow me to paint a picture. You are busy creating a website. You have a thought, “Oh, now I have to add an element.” Then another thought, “I feel so guilty adding a div. Div-itis is terrible, I hear.” Then, “I should use something else. The aside element might be appropriate.” Three searches and five articles later, you’re fairly confident that aside is not semantically correct. You decide on article, because at least it’s not a div. You’ve wasted 40 minutes, with no tangible benefit to show for it.
This is not the first time this topic has been broached. In 2004, Andy Budd wrote on semantic purity versus semantic realism. If your biggest problem with HTML5 is the distinction between an aside and a blockquote or the right way to mark up addresses, then you are not using HTML5 the way it was intended. Mark-up structures content, but your choice of tags matters a lot less than we’ve been taught for a while. Let’s go through some of the reasons why.
Designers hold CSS close to their hearts. It’s just code, but it is also what makes our carefully crafted designs come to life. Thoughtful CSS is CSS that respects our designs, that is handcrafted with precision. The common conception among Web designers is that a good style sheet is created by hand, each curly bracket meticulously placed, each vendor prefix typed in manually.
But how does this tradition fit in a world where the websites and applications that we want to create are becoming increasingly complex? If we look back in history, deep into the Industrial Revolution, we will see a parallel with what will happen with our handcrafted style sheets once the complexity of the products that we want to build becomes too great.
Getting into Android development can be quite a challenge, particularly if you’re new to Java or Eclipse or both. Whatever your past experience, you might feel tempted to start working away without checking that you’re making the best use of the IDE. In this article, we’ll go over a few tips, tools and resources that can maximize Eclipse’s usefulness and hopefully save you a few headaches. You might of course already be familiar with some (or all) of them and even be aware of others that we haven’t covered. If so, please do feel free to mention them.
I’ve used Eclipse for Java development on and off for a few years, having recently started learning Android casually. I’m surprised at the lack of easily digestible material online about basic aspects of Android development, such as the topic of this article. I’ve found some useful information out there in disparate locations that are not particularly easy to come across. Most of the online content is still in the official Android Developer Guide, but it has to be said that it is pretty limited in practical material.
Many Web companies spend hours and hours agonizing over the best domain names for their clients. They try to find a domain name that is relevant and appropriate, sounds professional yet is distinctive, is easy to spell and remember and read over the phone, looks good on business cards and is available as a dot-com.
Or else they spend thousands of dollars to purchase the one they really want, which just happened to be registered by a forward-thinking and hard-to-find squatter in 1998. They go through all that trouble with the domain name but neglect the rest of the URL, the element after the domain name. It, too, should be relevant, appropriate, professional, memorable, easy to spell and readable. And for the same reasons: to attract customers and improve in search ranking.
Before we start, I’d like to pose a question: when was the last time you asked someone to review your code? Reviewing code is possibly the single best technique to improve the overall quality of your solutions, and if you’re not actively taking advantage of it, then you’re missing out on identifying bugs and hearing suggestions that could make your code better.
None of us write 100% bug-free code all of the time, so don’t feel there’s a stigma attached to seeking help. Some of the most experienced developers in our industry, from framework authors to browser developers, regularly request reviews of their code from others; asking whether something could be tweaked should in no way be considered embarrassing. Reviews are a technique like any other and should be used where possible.
I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the libraries and scripts our readers on Smashing Coding use on a daily basis.
Editor’s note: This article is the second piece in our new series introducing new, useful and freely available tools and techniques presented and released by active members of the Web design community (the first article covered PrefixFree, a new tool be Lea Verou). ZURB are well-known for their wireframing and prototyping tools and in this post they present their recent tool, Foundation, a framework to help you build prototypes and production code that’s truly responsive.
You’ve probably already heard about responsive design, which is website design that responds to the device constraints of the person viewing it. It’s a hot topic right now, and with good reason: alternative devices outsell desktop PCs 4 to 1 already, and within three years more Internet traffic in the US will go through mobile devices than through laptops or desktops.
All of this is forcing a convergence on what Jeremy Keith calls the “one Web”: a single Web that doesn’t care what device you’re on, how you’re viewing content or how you’re interacting with it.