The last three episodes of The Web Ahead have been very interesting for me. I feel like I, and these three guests, collectively got some big rants off our chests. We were all advocating for standards-based, progressive-enhancement-techniqued, semantic HTML markup at the root of all things web — sometimes with a lot of passion.
Not too long ago, it seems such advocacy was unnecessary. For a moment there, it felt like front-end developers all agreed. But lately it seems that agreement has eroded (if it ever real existed). I see more and more people advocating techniques that ignore good markup.
Somehow these three episodes go together. I have a feeling that we are seeing the beginning of a big new debate — one where the future of coding the web is at stake. Will web developers push the web into being an engineering platform, ignoring progressive enhancement and pushing HTML off to the side as a technical hassle not worth our efforts? Or will the last 15 years of the web standard movement's efforts to value semantic markup prevail?
I won't repeat the whole debate here, at least not yet. Listen to these three shows, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
- Episode #64: Accessibility with Dale Cruse
- Episode #65: The Future of the Web Stack with Simon St. Laurent
- Episode #66: Web Components with Peter Gasston
I also touched on some of this in my keynote at Fluent Conf. You can watch the video or read the transcript.
I'm curious to hear what other people think about this — especially those folks who I've learned from, who have been advocating for semantic markup for decades.
Do we have a problem here?