I've been writing HTML since 1997, and what's interesting to me is how little really has changed in all that time. In that time period, we've gone from HTML 3.2 to HTML5, but even with those updates the basics of HTML are not all that different.
But the Fads Have Changed Drastically
When I first started learning HTML, the
IMG element had only just been added to browsers, and so most web pages were very text heavy, with the more modern sites using images almost at random. Some of the images that were popular at the time, included:
- graphical lines — the most common one was a rainbow, but I've seen everything from wood to drops of blood (yes, I used drops of blood for a line on a page once)
- under construction — little men with pick axes and yellow signs
- mailboxes — a popular one was an animated mailbox where the mail flag would go up and down
These days, it's very rare to see a moving mailbox, person at work, or a rainbow rule. It's not that you can't use these in your designs, it's just that they've gone out of fashion — they were a fad.
But fads like images are not the only things that have changed since I got started doing web design.
What's interesting to me is that most of these fads are still valid HTML. But if you use them, there is sure to be someone who will jump down your throat accusing you of “ promoting out of date concepts so novice coders [stop] reading the internet [get] bad coding advice. ”
- image maps — The
AREAelements are still perfectly valid HTML in HTML5, but they went out of favor about five years ago. It's unfortunate because that means that developers spend a lot of time and energy creating complex scripts and CSS apps that could be easily recreated with an image map.
- tables — There are a lot of well meaning web designers who are almost pathologically afraid of tables. Yes, it's less accessible to use tables for layout, but that doesn't mean you should never use them.
-->comment tags, it's still valid HTML. The concern, however, is that some CMS tools may break if there are comment tags in the script. If you're using a CMS, you should leave out the comment tags. But remember, this does not mean that the comments are invalid. It means that the CMS is not written to handle valid HTML. Food for thought.
- frames — While the
FRAMESETelements are obsolete in HTML5, the
IFRAMEelement still provides framed content. It may not be cool to use them, but they are still valid HTML.
- embedded flash — I don't necessarily like Flash, and it doesn't work on iOS devices, but using Flash is not invalid HTML (as long as you use valid HTML to do it, that is). HTML5 is good for a lot of things, but so is Flash. Don't let the HTML5 fad steer you away from Flash when it makes sense.
Don't Make Decisions Based on Fads
Trust me, as long as your site loads and gives them what they need, your customers won't care if you're using uncool technology.