Not two weeks after being pleased with myself that I could subtly rejig the design without only a few lines of CSS, I decided on Friday to completely redo this site.
Not only did I change the layout but I've made some major changes under the hood, too. I decided to have my first attempt at an HTML5 page. Granted, it might just fall apart at any moment in any given browser but...hey, it might not.
On the subject of HTML5, Mark Pilgrim (he of the 'Dive into...' series) brought up an interesting point in the WHATWG Blog last week on the topic of whether XHTML was actually a good idea in terms of enforcing XML syntax on an HTML document:It provides no perceivable benefit to users. Draconianly handled content does not do more, does not download faster, and does not render faster than permissively handled content. Indeed, it is almost guaranteed to download slower, because it requires more bytes to express the same meaning -- in the form of end tags, self-closing tags, quoted attributes, and other markup which provides no end-user benefit but serves only to satisfy the artificial constraints of an intentionally restricted syntax.
And, I guess, it is a good point that a well-formed XHTML document will be larger than the equivalently well-formed HTML document. If, however, developers are given a strict set of rules and a strict validator and told "make your page according to these rules, this alarm will go off if you've done it wrong", they're less likely to fall into bad habits than if they are told "These are mostly rules but sometimes suggestions, this alarm will only go off if you got things very very wrong". Mark Pilgrim is, quite rightly, focusing on the user's point of view but it just seems to me that users will also benefit from more maintainable, better structured code.
Of course, none of this actually matters yet and won't for the next five years or so. It probably won't matter then, either. It is only the interwebs, after all.