Web nowadays

In a context of “Whatever happened to the Semantic Web”, someone on the internet said, “Modern HTML is really nothing more than div tags everywhere, with a handful of span tags. We went from abusing tables to abusing the entire document.”


Instead of noting a foo, instead of a <foo>…</foo>, I have a <div class=”foo”>…</div> with my .foo defined off in some other file.

It seems I spend entire days coaxing and cajoling stupid CSS, like pushing on a rope, googling about to discover tricks and techniques with unintuitively encoded names and hidden implicit dependencies on other invisible things.  Tables are so 1990’s they say, just use grid, they say, no, you should use flexbox. No, make a career change and learn this nice zigabyte framework instead, that every one of your users can download, no, this new one instead, no no, keep the old one too, there are still IE users out there.

Concurrently write and maintain four separate documents in four separate languages, HTML, JS, CSS, and of course English (and if there’s a backend, throw in like Python, Django templates, and just for the polyglot heck of it, SQL).  Sometimes I have to give up on the received purity and say, to heck with that, I gotta use a dang table here.

Sometimes the struggle completely exhausts my patience and I replace the tottering tower of cards with some simple javascript to Put That There.  Then I have to feel guilty and unprofessional even though I solved a problem simply, cleanly, quickly, and effectively, because that the next maintainer will pooh-pooh my legacy code, throw it away, and redo it (perhaps prettier on the screen) with this week’s hip new framework.

On the other hand. suppose I want to publish a quick little thing, say a robot driving simulator, that my audience can run on their Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi, or (for all I know) their Chromebook.  My first, best, worst, and only choice is to target the web browser.  So I have to suck it up and get on with it, but occasionally my complaining and bitterness leaks out into the occasional blog post.

Now you darn kids get off my lawn.


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