The Novelty of Advanced Rendering on the Web

html5canvasWeb design has come a long way since the days of Netscape Navigator.  We went from the blink and marquee tag to CSS transitions, HTML 5 Canvas, and more.  You can do things in web browsers now that used to be limited to plugins such as Flash.  jQuery itself has beautified the web in more ways that many could imagine, creating a new field of study for designers and developers alike in the Javascript world.

It isn’t all smiles and sunshine, however.  The more complicated the implementation, the more likely it is to fail.

Those who have talked to me at any length about web design know that I’m a “simpler is better” designer; I keep my code as clean, minimal, and compatible as reasonably possible.  This current portfolio is a little beyond what I’d normally do, and took a lot of extra code to ensure compatibility and graceful failure.

The reason for that philosophy is simple: There are still countless people using older browsers, and even if they are using a new browser, implementation of advanced features are still being tweaked and tested, meaning more maintenance is required to ensure that a website continues to render properly.  I’d rather do it once, and know it will render right, than do it once and have to fix it as browsers change.

That doesn’t mean that newer standards can’t be adopted; HTML5 is certainly viable (with some Javascript tweaks to allow older browsers to render HTML5), and I wholeheartedly recommend using it.  If you’d rather avoid the Javascript cludge, XHTML Strict is still a fine choice.  Just because I’m not using the bleeding edge doesn’t mean I can’t utilize smart markup and CSS.

So, as the title shows, I consider these more advanced methods of rendering a novelty, still.  There are people that use them, but until standards get solidified and the percentage of older web browsers in use goes down, I’d much rather ensure that as many people as possible can utilize my websites without fail.  That isn’t to say I won’t develop sites using these new techniques, but I would limit the number I do.

Where is that screenshot from, you ask?  Why, the W3C wiki!