Ex Die in Diem



I’ve written before about web standards, and I do think that they are important and worth paying attention to: one of the really nice things about the web is the transparency afforded by openly available standards and software that supports them. Frankly, if I can write a website by hand that renders how I want it to (font baselines in Windows notwithstanding), that’s a sure sign that someone a lot cleverer than me was involved at some stage. Being able to automate it with my awful python skills is icing on the cake.

If you’re interested in HTML and CSS, it’s worth taking a look at the source of these webpages: I work hard to make sure that things are readable, and that everything is as sensibly named and tagged as possible. Reading HTML is how I learned to write it, so I’m keen to pass on that knowledge where I can. You should get on fine for the most part without too much commentary, with the exception of my home page/about me/landing page/error destination.

The reason this all-purpose page is harder to read is because it is marked up not only in valid (X)HTML 5, but also using a microformat, some additional markup which doesn’t change anything about the appearance of the page in a normal browser, but which allows a computer to more accurately work out what the information in the page actually means. This kind of semantic data is useful in theory, but to be honest I haven’t seen any real benefit at all to this approach beyond inspiration for what to put in an about page. The reason I’ve gone to the effort is that I enjoy the understated elegance of such a solution.

This is a robust semantic markup which nestles in amongst the HTML of my homepage, flagging sections for further processing in case that might be helpful. It’s comprehensive, and although I introduced it by saying that it makes the source harder to read, it has much less effect than the munging of my email address that I use to avoid spam. Every time I remember it’s there, I smile, and just because of that I keep it around, updated and relevant.

Because technology isn’t only about utility: sometimes, it’s just there to make us happy.

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