From my diary

I’ve continued working on the PHP scripts for the new Mithras site.  It’s slow, because I don’t do much development work in PHP.  The reason for doing this is so that I can work on the site from anywhere, work or home; and so that it will support things such as footnotes, not found in standard HTML.

I was struck today by the conviction that HTML is travelling in the wrong direction.  I remember the first HTML.  It was simple, and anyone could master it.  Today I learned that all of the attributes on the horizontal rule element, the plain old <hr> tag, are to be unsupported by HTML 5.  If you wanted a single line, all you had to do was <hr size=1>.  Now, to achieve the same effect … well, I did a google search, and had to experiment to find a CSS syntax that would work.

There is a disease that affects software products.  It happens when the developers forget that 99% of the time, the user is doing a few simple things; and start concentrating on the 1%.  In this case the HTML developers are so busy trying to separate presentation from content — a mantra of much software development, and not a bad thing — that they have forgotten that the first, most important thing is that creating a web page should be SIMPLE!!!  Idiots.

I’m still under the weather, but I also opened Daryn Lehoux’s book on ancient weather and calendars, and made a start.  I was deeply impressed by the opening pages, which gave a remarkably clear reason why such calendars were necessary, and nicely anchored it in farming in modern society.  Someone give this man a professorship: he has managed to produce a seminal piece of work on a very difficult, highly technical subject, and has done it in such a way that any reasonably educated man may get up to speed.  Marvellous!

3 Responses to “From my diary”


  1. jun

    unsupported? yeah right. If browsers seriously stopped supporting hr or any other old tag, they would be in big trouble with users. The W3C consortium that sets the standard for what tags go into HTML may get rid of some tags, but the browser companies will keep them around unless they’re really stupid.

  2. jun

    One thing is does mean however is that if you use an HTML 5 doctype the browser may do something weird with your page if you use unsupported tags. Most people doing a simple webpage however don’t use doctypes, just [html][head][title]some title[/title][/head][body]…[/body][/html] That will throw the modern browser into “compatibility mode” where it will still support the good old stuff like hr and tables

  3. Roger Pearse

    How complex it has all become! And most of that to support things that most people will never do!!