HTML6: “More about fixing the basic web user experience”
After his recent HTML6 proposal ruffled a few feathers, we sat down with Bobby Mozumder to hear his thoughts about the existing “basic web usability problem” and how his approach would make HTML a templating language.
JAXenter: What would you say to web developers that think HTML was designed to be a markup language and should stay that way?
Bobby Mozumder: If you take the strict definition of HTML as only for document text markup, then HTML moved way beyond that decades ago. HTML has popular non-text/interactive elements like <FORM>, <SCRIPT>, <CANVAS>, and <META>, as well as attributes like DATA-*, none of which are used to markup text and didn’t exist in its first 1993 spec.
The motivation of the popular dynamic JSON API design pattern – some comments claim language updates shouldn’t be motivated by current design trends.
This is more about fixing the basic web user experience, and not just about adapting the popular JSON API design pattern.
The basic web usability problem still exists, that is, full-page reload when clicking on a link. There’s a clunky delay after you click on a link because server has to regenerate the full page and sends it to you. This delay can give a bad impression of your website. Compare this to something like Instagram, a native app, which feels fast and smooth and very responsive.
“The browser would take care of all this for you”
How about the claim that unsuccessful attempts like these have been made before? How can we know if this approach will be more successful?
With this I’m looking at the outside community for feedback, and the reaction has been positive so far. I did try to make it as simple as possible. A data model can be declared with:
Anchor elements would be used to fill models with data from API endpoints whenever people click on links:
And finally, when new data is loaded, the document is dynamically updated through model references:
Some people might be worried about familiar development processes being interrupted with new innovations. How much readjustment do you think web developers would need to make if HTML goes in this direction?
“Because they’re familiar with it, or because it’s good design?”
The things you work on should be used to improve on your product, not to fix basic flaws of the web. If you look at something like Instagram or other native apps, they have amazing responsiveness for a great user experience. Why aren’t web sites like that by default?
What are the chances that W3C will take an interest in this proposal?
People are talking about this on the W3C mailing lists, but nothing is automatic. This will be a long, difficult process, so everyone (not just me) needs to constantly push hard to make things happen, perhaps over years. I hope other web developers get involved in the W3C mailing lists, too (public-html, whatwg) as well as influence the browser makers to implement this.
“This will be a long, difficult process”
Also if you want to contribute or just follow along, I put the latest version of the proposal at: http://www.github.com/
But definitely everyone should push the W3C and the browser vendors to make something like this happen!