Monday, August 2, 2010

web is a mess…where is the hope?

Recently I am helping designing and coding a web site, which I thought would be a small project… I did know about the difference between old IE and other “standard” browsers and some hacks and work-arounds, but I failed to realize it would be so painful to do all things “right”.

In stead of insisting everything should look exactly the same in all browsers, I think it is natual that some design details could degrade in older browsers, like round corners and text shadow. The real troublemaker turns form elements, each browser (depending on the operating system and even system theme) displays them differently – an awful nightmare :( There aren’t any standard to style them, the only solution is to employ JavaScript to hide the original form and render a fake one with div and spans. Thus select element becomes an unsorted list with a CSS’s and scripts, which seems very bizarre…

Maybe it is time to re-invent the web. People have been talking about this for decades, but I see little progress. I don’t believen HTML5 is a solution, though it’s really hot. Semantics is important, but I don’t believe it the key issue. Web pages are no longer simply documents, but applications, and we are distributing service instead of content. JavaScript has many bad parts but is blessed as well, devil or angel, it should be the core of web. HTML should be fundamentally changed to be a better present layer of JavaScript. A lot of functions carried out by browser natively should be given to JavaScript or other future client-side code. With more power and freedom of client code, coding for web could certainly bring more good things to users.