Archive for August, 2009

Schadenfreude blogs

Sometimes I have a bad day, and on those sort of occasions I like to refresh myself by laughing at people who are stupider, uglier, or otherwise less fortunate than myself.

Here’s my list of schadenfreude blogs.

Got any favourite schadenfreude sites?

(Last Updated on 6 October 2009)

HTML 5: what’s hot, what’s not

As HTML 5 hurtles towards Last Call (or “first last call” as co-chair Sam Ruby called it) there has been a lot of tidying up of the spec.


Farewell bb element

I didn’t know much about the bb element, except that it a button that saved the page as an offline app. It was removed over concerns that it would be scripted or obscured with something else to trick users into pressing it and therefore downloading evils onto their system.

You can do the same stuff with an option in the browser’s chrome that can’t be naughtied with.

Missing you aready, datagrid

Datagrid was a kind of interactive table thingie—think spreadsheets.

It’s gone because the spec wasn’t up to scratch, and precisely no-one had implemented it in the browser (although it is in Adobe Flex and the Dojo toolkit).

I regret that it won’t be available, but expect to see its return in HTML 6.

Toodlepip, cite attribute on article and section

The cite attribute was allowed on these two new elements for syndication purposes. So, if you dragged in a story from an RSS feed, you could wrap it in article or section and use the cite attribute to point back to the source website.

On the principle that hidden metadata is wrong and evil unless someone in the cabal suggested it, the pubdate attribute stays on article and section. I think Jeremy Keith’s suggestion that it be made a boolean attribute of the time element is interesting:

<h1>Lovely article</h1>
<time datetime="2009-08-18" pubdate>
Tuesday 18 August 2009 </time>

This way, you can still give a publication date (the parser would only notice the first pubdate per article or section, but it’s visible metadata, and therefore lovely).

Outstanding issues


The time element is still hamstrung by not being able to markup very ancient dates, or “fuzzy” dates like “December 1935” making it useless for museum or history websites. To me, this is a big disadvantage with the element, for no good reason.


This element has been redefined to represent small print or other side comments. (Small print typically features disclaimers, caveats, legal restrictions, or copyrights. Small print is also sometimes used for attribution, or for satisfying licensing requirements).

Every browser supports the small element surrounding block-level elements, and it would be useful (if not of major significance) for the spec to allow this.


legend is specified as a child of figure and details, although it’s unstyeable in all current browsers. Remy Sharp and I have suggested re-specifying header to replace legend or—better still—dream up a new element. (Bug report, Remy’s blog post “Saving Figure & Detail“).

content element

You can mark up all the peripheral stuff on your webpage with new elements, but you can’t tell assistive technologies where your main content begins. Anne van Kesteren is flirting with the idea of a content or main element.


Stay tuned for an overview of the maelstrom of HTML 5 politics.

And, by the way, if you’re interested in HTML 5, please vote for my South By Southwest HTML 5 panel.

(Last Updated on 3 September 2009)

HTML 5 at South By South West: vote for me!

I’m doing a panel at SxSW with Steve Faulkner, Remy Sharp and another to be announced.

HTML5: Tales from the Development Trenches

Panel description

HTML5 is coming. Originally called “web applications 1.0”, it brings new semantics, JavaScript APIs for drag and drop, offline storage, generating images, plugin-free video and form validation. It’s upset semantic web advocates, accessibility evangelists and baffled developers. Cut through the crap: learn what it is and what it does.

Questions we’ll discusss

  1. What is HTML5? It’s more than just HTML5, right?
  2. When can I start using HTML5, and what’s available *right* now?
  3. How does accessibility work in HTML5, and what about ARIA?
  4. What about XHTML, XML, XForms, RDFa and all that jazz?
  5. What if the browser doesn’t support HTML5?
  6. Is it gonna make Flash obsolete?
  7. What about Microsoft?
  8. What are the best and worst bits about HTML5?
  9. How does HTML5 affect JavaScript, and it’s interaction with the DOM?
  10. What are the commercial advantages of moving to HTML5 for my business / How do I get my boss to let me start working on HTML5 today?

Please vote for this panel and send a glam Brightonian JavaScripter and two middle-aged accessibilistas on holiday.

Martin Kliehm has a dedicated HTML 5 accessibility panel which looks pretty snazzy too.

.Net magazine awards

.Net magazine has me up for their Standards Champion award. I won’t ask you to vote for me, as my friends and colleagues Patrick Lauke and Molly Holzschlag are up for the same award (as are many other mates).

Good that Opera has three of its Developer Relations team up for this award—more than any other browser. (And I notice that Opera Unite is a nominee in the Innovations category, too.)