We’re back with our (semi) regular round up of answering readers HTML5 related questions. Right, let’s not mess about any longer and dive straight in with the questions.
Multiple use of tags
Daniel Davis asked:
Just a quick confirmation please.
Am I right in thinking that nav, like header and footer, can be used more than once in a single page? For example, surrounding a menu at the top of the page and surrounding next/previous buttons at the bottom.
Come to think of it, is it fair to say that all tags except html, head and body can be used more than once?
Thanks in advance, doctor.
I’ll be back soon about my dodgy knee.
You’re correct all the elements you mention can be used more than once a page. If you see this article about the header and this about the footer – they show that you can use them multiple times on a page. Also you don’t really need html, head or body tags, as all browsers will assume them anyway but it’s also safe to leave them included.
Or instead of using firefox 3.5 engine, we can use Mozilla Prism to convert it to web app, and then bundle it, is it possible?
Technically it should be possible. Certainly the HTML5 offline applications API (via the manifest) gives you all that ability to create a client side app and it run locally without a web connection.
However, the browser is the problem. Prism might be a good way to deploy this as a standalone app, but I don’t know if Prism is running the latest Gecko engine (or whether that comes with the JS engine, etc) – and even if it does – Firefox 3.5 currently has a pretty severe bug with the offline applications: it doesn’t work!
I have logged the bug with Mozilla and I know they’re working (in fact, I believe they’ve fixed it and are now testing).
The alternative is to use Fluid (a Webkit based app) – but again, that’s only if they have updated to the latest Webkit and thus including the offline applications API (that said, quickly looking at the Fluid site, their in-progress version may have the latest Webkit).
Regarding launch from start up scripts – you could achieve this though the custom scheme handlers (but this is just Firefox IIRC): http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/browsers.html#custom-handlers
Equally, there may be an API that you could exploit via the standalone browser, either Prism or Fluid.
— Good luck! Remy
MIME or DOCTYPE, which one prevails
Pedro Estébanez asked:
I have found this site a very good resource for web developers and I thank you for your effort.
Now, my question:
There is a lot of discussion about hot to tell the browser we are using HTML5 or XHTML5 by setting the Content-Type HTTP header. But then I don’t know the true role the DOCTYPE plays (apart from keeping quirks mode from being activated and validation).
For example, if I compose my documents as XHTML with an according DOCTYPE and my server serves them as text/html, why XML mode is not triggered in the browser?
Thanks in advance.
Also see this (linked in Bruce’s article) for some advice on using the right mime type. http://www.webstandards.org/learn/articles/askw3c/sep2003/.
— Cheers Rich
Mike Taylor asked:
In Section 188.8.131.52 of the current HTML5 spec, the outline algorithm is described–yet it’s not super clear in what ways this is useful to users or developers. It would be great if some more light could be shed on the topic!
Thanks for the awesome blog, btw.
The outliner basically allows you to easily see the heading structure of a site. The outline can then figure out from the heading structure where in the outline it should sit, should you want to only parse a section of the code into another site or page for example. (I realise this isn’t totally clear). Also check out the HTML5 Outliner for checking your work.
Bruce covered it a little bit in his section article –
“With very few exceptions, section should not be used if there is no natural heading for it. Check your work in the HTML 5 outiner tool. If you see any instances of “untitled section” that corresponds to a section, you’re probably doing it wrong. (It’s fine for a nav or aside element to be untitled, however).”
We’ll try and cover it in more detail in a future post but I hope this helps for now, Rich.
HTML5 and xmlns
Ad Taylor asked:
I hope this isn’t a stupid question BUT …
If I am using the html5 DOCTYPE and I am still using xhtml syntax do I need to define the xmlns in the html tag (i.e. xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”)?
Thank you for taking the time to do this.
We said, Not a stupid question, but a simple answer: No!
— Ta Bruce (HTML5 Shrink)
Developing to a changing spec
Sam Rayner asked:
I read the Super Friends Guide to HTML5 Hiccups – http://www.zeldman.com/superfriends/guide/ and it’s worried me a little.
I’ve recently been developing personal projects using HTML5 as I find I learn best ‘on the job’ and wish to become familiar with the new spec by putting it in to practice. However, it sounds like I’ve misinterpreted bits and often used new elements such as footer in the way the Super Friends describe rather than in line with the spec.
I really want to continue enjoying the benefits of HTML5 in my own non-critical web work but it seems I run the risk of having to return to it all at a later date and amend stuff due to changes in the spec.
What do you think the best course of action is? Continue with 5 but keep going back and fixing old projects? – Could become a real hassle.
Continue with 5 and leave non-visual discrepancies as they are (the code may be slightly off but it’s styled fine)? – Goes against all of my natural instincts to do things right.
Return to 4 and use class names as apposed to the new elements for the time being?
I realise this is the risk I take developing with a developing spec but I’m worried if I wait until everything is set in stone I’ll still be using HTML4 years from now!
Thanks a lot,
I understand your concerns with the spec changing from day to day. It’s hard to keep up with (there’s 6 of us and that’s tough enough).
Although I’m sure you’re aware in footers case, its content model has now been changed to allow it to act more like header.
I think essentially you have three choices for your development or a combination of the below currently:
- Continue working as you are with new HTML5 elements and change them as the spec becomes more defined
- Use HTML4, with HTML5 class names (as you suggested)
- Use only the simplified doctype and those elements that will only be benificial in the future or add progressive enchancement (e.g. inline elements such as time.)
Its going to be a while until we can use HTML5 in development projects but in my opinion there isn’t any reason to not use it on personal projects now. You have to judge it on a case by case basis, but whichever parts you do you will be futureproofed to some extent.
— Cheers Rich
HTML5 and Browser Compatibility
A lot of people ask this type of question regularly so here’s a few links that we think are useful.
That about wraps up this round of questions, we’ll be publishing more soon, but in the meantime don’t be afraid to keep asking the doctor about HTML5.