In June I had the pleasure to speak at the FFWD.PRO conference in Zagreb, Croatia, about HTML5, progressive enhancement and new features and suggested APIs.
I had previously spoken with Marko Dugonjic and said that he should really organize a conference in Croatia. Said and done, he acted on it and created FFWD.PRO! So, naturally, I wanted to be there and take part of it! It was a well-organized conference targeted at web professionals in general, with the main focus on user experience.
It had a good mix of speakers and a broad spectrum of topics was covered.
The presentation: Leave No One Behind with HTML5
My presentation tried to cover both where we have been coming from, and various enhancements and possibilities we get with HTML5. Below follows a video of the presentation:
When HTML5 got defined one of the things that was planned for was extensibility in terms of data that should be in the HTML, but not visible. The data-* attributes allow us to store extra information on HTML elements without needing to use a non-semantic element or pollute the class name. In essence this is what we did with custom attributes before.
These data attributes can be used in many ways, some are a bad idea but others are a good plan. The rule of thumb is that content that should be visible and accessible should not be stored in them. The reason is that assistive technology is not likely to be able to access them and search crawlers don’t index them either.
The syntax is dead easy. Say you have an article and you want to store some extra information that doesn’t have any visual representation. Just use data attributes for that:
Sadly enough it seems there is nothing that is so simple and useful that doesn’t come with a price. In this case the main issues to consider are that Internet Explorer does not support the dataset but you’d need to read them out with getAttribute() instead. The other issue is that the performance of reading data-attributes compared to storing this data in a JS data warehouse is bad. Using dataset is even slower than reading the data out with getAttribute().
That said, though, for content that is not to be shown they are a great solution and maybe we can get them into the next IE soon.
It is always nice to have the opportunity to get to travel and meet developers in various communities in the world: to understand their context, challenges and interests!
In April I was in South America, and part of that included giving two talks at a MDN Hack Day (well, evening) in Sao Paulo in Brazil. They were filmed with a handcam from front row by Laura Loenert, but I do believe that the videos with sound, combined with the slides, can prove to be useful for sharing – see them as the bootleg version. :-)
Besides, I prefer that we share what we have – even though it might be rough – than having a lot of material that never gets out there.