Why HTML Sucks

Have you ever spent hours trying to work out why your latest CSS design doesn’t work, only to find you had a single character wrong in your code?

A few days ago I spent 1.5 hours trying to finalise a design for a client, only to find out that all the layout issues were the result of an extra bracket that was accidentally left in the CSS code. This is such a waste of time and money. It’s lost revenue because we like to charge on a per project basis here, not per hour (in the majority of cases).

I often blame CSS for many days and nights of hair pulling. Things were much easier in the days of table-based layouts right?

Then it hit me…

The challenge with modern web design isn’t the result of CSS, it’s a problem with HTML itselfHTML is too forgiving!

Think about it. Is it harder to find a problem with your simple HTML layout code or harder to debug a simple PHP application? It’s harder to find the problem with the HTML layout because web browsers are too forgiving. PHP on the other hand will usually stop in its tracks when there’s a problem. Even better, it will tell you the line number the error is on!

Sure, there are services such as the W3C Markup Validation Service that can find these errors, but it would be nice if it were integrated into all web browsers to the point where the HTML won’t ‘run’ if there’s clear errors (such as double brackets, missing inverted commas etc).

/end rant :)

9 Responses to “Why HTML Sucks”

  1. The Scribe of Rotten Hill Says:

    I agree. I was shocked when I first started to write html after around 20 years of “proper” programming.

    To be fair though, Firefox is pretty hot on pointing out css errors. A little too hot sometimes.

  2. Stif Says:

    I completely agree. If I spend some time designing for example 3 webpages for a webshop that are visualy attractive and correspond to css and html best practices. I can write the backend code for that webshop in half the time. It’s depressing how much time one has to spend making things visualy attractive and supported by most common browsers while writing the application code keeps getting easier. Why hasn’t anyone tried to make writing webpages easier. I can’t be the only one who thinks:
    HTML and CSS suck!!!

  3. Anon Says:

    I agree too but it will never happen. If you implement strict html parsing you will doom the html to a non evolving state because backward compatibility will be painful.

  4. NFL Lockout Says:

    As a programmer I have never had much use for plain HTML. Honestly I prefer the functionality of proper application code.

  5. Jean-Pierre Rupp Says:

    Fast-forward a few years, and all web browsers have XHTML support. If you publish your page with the .xhtml extension, chances are your HTTP server will serve it with MIME type “application/xhtml+xml” instead of “text/html”. If this is the case, your web browser, particularly Mozilla Firefox, will read the page as XML, and will be much less forgiving handling the code. Most modern web browsers can read pages served as XML.

  6. rolfen Says:

    HTML is limited and not flexible or elegant enough, you have to resort to hacks… The bad part is you’re often halfway through something when you realize that what you are trying to do will not work, and you have to start over using another method. All it’s features are crippled. absolute positioning? ok, but you will loose containment rules. divs? ok but you cannot vertical-align to the middle. etc.

  7. Mary Wallace Says:

    I completely disagree HTML rocks! editing it is easy.

  8. NullOp Says:

    HTML, in short, is a horror story. I don’t know why were still using it. Probably because its easy to get something on the screen but it totally sucks otherwise.

  9. apoorva Says:

    html seriously sucks like hell.i need to rack my brains to understand it.!!!!!!!!!!!!

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