Total HTML Agnosticism

Avatar of Chris Coyier
Chris Coyier on

A couple of good posts on technology agnosticism lately.

Brad Frost says the design system itself is higher level than any particular technology:

… it doesn’t bet the farm on any one technology, the system is able to adapt to inevitable changes to tools, technologies, and trends.

Jonathan Snook thinks Mustache is good choice for otherwise technologically agnostic templating:

I like it because of its simplicity and because it requires the heavy work with the data to be done before it sees a template.

Here’s a slide I used at a recent workshop:

What I was mostly referring to is total HTML agnosticism. It doesn’t matter (to me) where the HTML comes from.

  • Did Drupal produce the HTML? Fine.
  • Is the HTML in JSX? Fine.
  • Is it a Mustache template? Fine.
  • Am I editing totally raw HTML like elite hacker? Fine.
  • Am I piecing together partials in Nunjucks. Fine.
  • Is this a Rails ERB thing? Fine.

What I care about is the final output. Whatever creates the final HTML, it’s on me to make it clean, manageable, accessible, semantic, and performant.

To be clear, I do care about the technology stack. I’m aware of the benefits and tradeoffs of different technologies (or at least I try to be aware, and can do research). It’s just that when I have my front-end developer hat on, the thing I care most about is that final chunk of HTML that hits the browser.

So a minor side note, I bet a nickel knowing HTML well and being a generally agnostic developer will make you more employable.