A Love Letter to HTML & CSS

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Ashley Kolodziej — Might 2021

Expensive HTML & CSS

I see you.

Within the again there, behind JavaScript and React and PHP and all these “actual” programming languages, I see you. And I respect you.

I’ve seen the YouTube movies. You’ve been condensed right down to a sixty-second blip on the trail to greater and higher issues, a one-trick div pony in the back of the race. You’re a assist character. Everybody is aware of HTML lately. Even when that’s not the case, it’s not exhausting to be taught, they are saying.

I do know it’s not true.

You’re the basis of the Web. You’re the bridge between people and knowledge. Once we say HTML isn’t an experience in and of itself, once we take you without any consideration, we depart behind the folks and programs who entry that data utilizing net crawlers and accessibility know-how.

They are saying you’re not an actual programming language just like the others, that you just’re simply markup, and technically talking, I suppose that’s proper. Technically talking, JavaScript and PHP are scripting languages. I bear in mind when it wasn’t cool to know JavaScript, when it wasn’t a “actual” language too. Typically, I really feel like these distinctions are meaningless, like we constructed a vocabulary to carry you (and by extension, ourselves as builders) again. You, as a markup language, have your personal distinctive worth and strengths. Understanding find out how to work with you finest is a real experience, one that’s too usually neglected.

Markup requires systematic pondering. What construction is the most effective match for this content material? How can we make this content material simpler to find and parse in the fitting order? What tags do we have to guarantee a display screen reader will parse your data appropriately? I would like you to know I understand how essential you’re, and I nonetheless ask these questions.

I consider you each time I take a look at an internet site in VoiceOver and uncover it’s utterly unusable, with my keyboard’s focus leaping away to locations I can’t truly work together with and no clear sectioning and headings to assist navigate.

And to my longtime buddy, CSS. I would like you to know I perceive you’re a lot greater than only a fairly face. Positive, your principal job is to, nicely, fashion markup. However why ought to that be any much less celebrated than the opposite languages? You’re the visible translation of knowledge. What good is all the data on the earth if we will’t simply perceive it? You maintain the keys to hierarchy and distinction and structure, the keys to visible communication.

Your language is an artwork. I acknowledge your significance, the steadiness of efficiency in rendering and specificity and predicting when and the place different programs or designers may wish to override one thing. Positive, you fashion, and also you fashion nicely. However what the world forgets typically is you’re, at coronary heart, a planner: the cascading a part of Cascading Type Sheets. Oh, to be JavaScript the place you are able to do no matter you need, everytime you need, and alter markup and kinds on the fly. Don’t they know inline kinds are a number of the most particular kinds round?

I do know, and I respect that. There’s a time and place for specificity, and I cherish your means to handle that. I like your system of overrides, of pondering forward to what ought to and shouldn’t be modifiable by one other developer simply. I discover the appreciation of specificity and !essential and distinction and all the attractive little belongings you do nicely more and more misplaced within the pursuit of the most recent and shiniest frameworks.

However I’m nonetheless right here for you, HTML and CSS. And I’ll proceed to indicate everybody I can how a lot you each have to supply. As a result of with out that foundational care and experience, we wouldn’t be capable of talk this data in any respect. You’re the languages on the core of equitable data distribution, and I would like you to know that even in the event you aren’t within the highlight proper now, I keep in mind that.

Even when it typically feels I’m the one individual on the market who nonetheless does.

With love, Ashley Kolodziej

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