On Web Sites and Harumphs

So, I’ve been largely radio silent for a while now, as I’ve been pondering where I want to write and about what, and trying to get some new projects up and running. This is currently leading me to designing a new wordpress theme for wanderlu.st, which in turn is leading me to researching HTML5 and CSS3. There are some great resources out there for each, but ultimately a lot of it is moot since no browser actually fully supports EITHER yet. They’re too new.

So why not just blow it off and use CSS/CSS2 and XHTML, you might ask, and rightly so — if even the bleeding edge doesn’t support it, how long before the general public has it adopted? Well, I’ve noticed a little trick in how web browsers render things that (thus far) allows me to adopt HTML5 without breaking anything. Basically, when we talk about a browser understanding an HTML tag, what we’re really saying is that it’s been told how it should render that tag by default, which things it should inherit from, and so on and so forth. So, while it’s a bit of a kludge, you can TELL your browser how to render a given tag via CSS. You just have to tell it a LOT of things, instead of just the things you want to change (you can’t take for granted what things display inline and which things display as a block, or inline block, et cetera, you have to tell it what it should behave as).

Now, I’m sure this will all bite me in the ass as I continue, leading towards getting the design exactly how I want it, and then discovering some major browser doesn’t work like that. But so far, it’s been working like a charm in both Safari (Webkit engine) and in Camino (Gecko engine). Need to test against Firefox (Gecko engine again), Opera, and IE6, 7, and 8. Also need to make sure I’m not using the tags incorrectly compared to how they’re specified in the standard. Until proved otherwise, I’ve opted to be optimistic!