The View-Source Web
A line in Frank Chimero’s article Everything Easy Is Hard Again, published a couple months ago, has stuck with me:
That breaks my heart, because so much of my start on the web came from being able to see and easily make sense of any site I’d visit. I had view source, but each year that goes by, it becomes less and less helpful as a way to investigate other people’s work.
One of the ironies of this is that HTML5 makes it easier than ever to make readable, simple HTML. I especially like two things:
- Quotes for attribute values are optional (when there are no spaces), and
- There are semantic tags for things where before you had to guess at the author’s intention. We have
article, and similar now.
So I adopted the semantic HTML5 tags, simplified a few things, and now the source is as easy to read as any HTML I’ve ever written.
Lesson learned: the discoverable and understandable web is still do-able — it’s there waiting to be discovered. It just needs some commitment from the people who make websites.