In this age of HTML5, CSS3, and anti-Flash it seems as though we may be slipping away from our roots. Or are we?
The rise of (my) Web standards
I lived by those rules. I still do. But am I stuck in the past while everyone is moving forward?
The new Web
Back in the day we’d all have scoffed at such a thing, comparing it to a “This site looks best in IE6” badge straight out of the 1990s. What’s changed since then? Why is this now an acceptable practice? I understand that Apple is a progressive company, bringing the web in its best form to the largest population possible, and making it look great, but that’s my point. Is this new school of thought going to transform itself into common practice?
The entire point behind breaking away from closed platforms such as Flash (yes, it’s a closed platform no matter how much marketing gets put behind it) is to build a universally accessible Web. Devices are advancing, yes. Browsers are advancing, yes. But does that give us the liberty to put the fruits of our labor on a back burner now that we’ve reached some sort of plateau in the evolution of the browser?
I’m not dogging Apple
Depending on your choice, you can end up at a really well put together version of Gmail:
To me, Gmail remains to be one of the best implemented modern Web applications because of this very attribute.
Where are we headed, really?
Do we need to move beyond this self-imposed requirement of providing a gracefully degraded version of our application? If so, would it not be a (short) matter of time before that school of thought trickles all the way down to the Coda Slider we plan to implement? In essence, what’s the difference? We’d all be thrilled if we could just make that AJAX request and call it a day without having to first build an alternate version, but is it the right thing to do as professionals?
I’m not only concerned about that 1%, I’m (perhaps) more concerned about how it affects the overall implementation. Working from your degraded version is going to result in a much more stable environment upon which to build your behavioral layer. Skipping that valuable step can and probably will result in a less structurally sound document.
I have a tendency to remain loyal to influential circumstances that have shaped me as a professional, but I’m curious how (if?) these events are affecting other designers and developers, if at all. Do you continue to be curious about degraded versions of modern Web applications? I could be way off base in even thinking about things to this level, and if that’s it by all means feel free to call me out on it, but there’s something under my skin about what’s going on. Thoughts?