Exploring HTML5: Aside, Header, Footer, Section Tags

Following Steve Jobs hints, Keep an Open Eye has invested a lot more time in HTML5. Here is a curious discovery derived from sessions at W3schools and Quackit [try them you will like them]:

There is an explosion of what could be construed as structural tags in HTML5 – <article>, <aside>, <header>, <footer>,  and others. One would expect them to position their content on the web page regardless of where they are inserted in the HTML file. Not exactly! Instead, they appear to be just alias names for <div> tags with no positioning smarts or savvy. This allows HTML files to be a little more meaningful. But you as HTML coder are still completely responsible for proper positioning and layout of the new HTML5 tags.

Now in contrast, the much maligned <table> tags do automatically provide savvy positioning as in this example:

Note that despite being put at the top of the table definition, the <tfoot> content is moved to the bottom of the table and likewise for the misplaced <thead> tag. It is the kind of service that was expected of the new HTML5 tags; but may be Steve and Ian will deliver this later.  However, it is not mission improbable in Web development. See what the people at DHTMLx and Sencha[EXTjs] provide in their JavaScript frameworks and their Panel layout tools. Users can place the panel code in any order, the frameworks figure where to place the panels on the page. Now that is service!

4 thoughts on “Exploring HTML5: Aside, Header, Footer, Section Tags”

  1. Nobody will deliver that later. header and footer aren’t supposed to be moved around; they’re semantic declarations, not physical positioning declarations. HTML is getting away from physical declarations as hard as it can.

    Also, Steve has nothing to do with any of this. This is up to the W3C (and to a lesser degree, the Safari team, in that they need to decide whether to be standards compliant.) All Steve delivers is polemic and illegal anti-competitive behavior of the style he used to say was worth breaking Microsoft up to prevent the possibility of in future times.

    Please read the standards in question, and stop being such a douchebag fanboy.

    1. John –
      I agree that header and footer may have traditionally reserved space on output page’s layout; but why does that have to be duplicated in the flow of tag declarations in the HTML file. The thead and tfoot tags shown in the post example demonstrate that browsers have been more than capable of auto-ordering HTML tags as required. The DHMLx and EXTjs framework example[you have to visit the links]show to what extent this “layout to pre-ordained design/template” is done in the JavaSCript frameworks.

      In fact HTML5 === DHTML5 as JavaScripting is embedded all over the HTML5 place – particularly the canvas tag but a number of others. Also there are so many new scriptable actions as all HTML5 tags having event properties and actions like draggable, onDrag, onDrop etc. I fully expects to see a Joomla or WordPress theme in which users drag and drop plus resize the various blocks to their hearts content – and then the theme takes care of emitting the HTML5 tags and code in the right order. This is late 1990’s Java dashboards for BI all over just DHTML5 scripted.

      As for being a fanboy of Steve Jobs , you definitely did not read Keep an Open Eye’s most popular posts:
      Apple vs Adobe: Vetting Steve Jobs Flash Assertions – 1,577 hits
      Apple vs Adobe: Are Apple’s MacOS/X Graphics Drivers to Blame – 26,899 hits
      Steve Jobs Explains No Flash – 512 hits
      Here I partly agree with you: Steve Jobs has become ever more imperial and much less admirable within the last 2-3 years. Nowhere more so by excluding not just Adobe’s Flash, but Sun’s Java, and any code generator package from use with iOS4 and devices like iPad, iPhone and iPod. He has also said look to HTML5 for iOS4 development. Now Apple is owner/controller of the Webkit browser interface [used by Google Chrome, Apple Safari and half a dozen small players]. He also has key patents on video, touch and gestures in the mobile domain – so I suspect that Steve Jobs will have a lot to say about what makes W3C HTML5 recommendations and what gets rejected for “whatever reasons”.

      Your Editor

  2. I like to think of the new tags as knowing the div family’s first name. This is Header Div and his wife, Article Div. This is their daughter, Footer Div. Nothing has really changed, we just now know to call them something else.

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