Today I read an article by Matthew Butterick about web standards that I think everyone should read (it’s long but very interesting). I’d like to know your thoughts on this as I think Matt makes a great point.
He’s got some good points – but I think he generalizes a bit much. For supposedly knowing how to program, he makes a really poor case for it (or doesn’t really understand it).
I was with him (mostly) until he started droning about using Python to generate HTML and CSS. Sorry, but some of the shittiest projects I’ve ever been on have involved needless markup generation because the engineer was too lazy to get a front end developer on it or learn it himself.
The issue I’ve seen so far in my web dev experience? Too many people don’t understand other people’s roles in the process. Designers put together piss poor composites that aren’t compatible with what browsers can do. Companies do stupid things like making IE7 a priority and throwing out stupid terminology like “Web 2.0!” in their specs. Back end developers spend hours trying to hack something that a front end developer would be better off doing and in the end it’s a horrible mess that someone else has to clean up. Front end developers bitch that no one understands their job but can’t really help a great deal on the design or back end aspects and are blown off as just being HTML and CSS data entry slaves. :P
It kind of sounds like he’s a designer that is frustrated with what can and can’t be done in a browser at the moment. I agree that there could be improvements in how the W3C works but I don’t see his solution working. :)
But I am not a designer – so to me a lot of it comes off as a designer whining that his mockup can’t be converted pixel perfect. I’m positive some of you guys interpret it differently.
@chrisburton Python was actually my first programming language before I moved on to C++, C#, and then to front end web development. The syntax is supposed to be easier to understand and read because it’s very close to a human readable language (honestly, I prefer C# if I had to choose). That said, the only thing I ever really used it for was a few cutesy games and one frustrating as hell web project.
But good to know it is also used in type design. :)
The way I read Matt’s talk was perhaps misunderstood on my part but I don’t believe what Michael is suggesting is what Matt was really talking about. In fact, I think Michael may have misunderstood. I’ll have to reply to that in the morning/afternoon tomorrow.
I think web standards you currently have to use with 5 different vendor prefixes as fallback seems useless now, but in a few years you just need the standard syntax. Without standards, even after another 20 year, you’d still need vendor prefixes for everything.