• 14 (unregistered)


  • LCrawford (unregistered)

    I must be missing something - I still write HTML. In the old days, it was Pagemaker and Dreamweaver. What tools do people use now to avoid manual HTML page layout?

  • someone (unregistered)

    No one writes HTML anymore.


  • (nodebb)


  • my name is missing (unregistered)

    With strong spans one can build a mighty bridge.

  • Supersonic Tumbleweed (unregistered)

    Thanks for gzip compression, gzip gods!

  • Raj (unregistered) in reply to LCrawford

    Don't worry, I write HTML too. Same for a lot of people.

    Thing is, Remy and TDWTF editors in general are Windows developers. They see tech through the lenses of Visual Studio so they make statements like that one about HTML because that's how asp.net works.

    See, years ago, to make the bridge to web development easier for its army of Visual Basic customers, Microsoft has put together this development approach where developers simply drag widgets on a designer screen and double-click on them to attach server-side code; the IDE generates the JavaScript behind the scene. The end results as you can expect is horrible HTML, CSS and JavaScript, but it serves its purpose. Windows developers can create web apps easily, and while it's not pretty the framework does cover most of the moving parts (identity, details, web services, etc). But it makes those developers a different tribe and they're the first to forget that.

  • (nodebb)

    I can't look at that code listing without hearing Vikings singing in the background.

  • Joseph (unregistered)

    You can use this extension to allow pasting into sites that disallow it: https://github.com/jswanner/DontFuckWithPaste

    It really shines if you have 50-character auto-generated passwords. (Use a password safe!)

  • (nodebb)

    Well not sure what does MS Word do now, but a few years back I had to handle HTML produced by copy&paste from MSWord into an online WYSIWYG editor. I'm not gonna name the companies and I do not know which editor it was, suffice to say I ended up with an invalid mess of spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans in spans, all with loads of classes and styles, some of them incorrectly quoted (yes, the HTML export from Word did not work correctly with fancy fonts with doublequotes in names). An empty line between paragraphs was about twenty nested spans containing a  . Not nice and empty spans either, they all had at least a style or a class attribute. For a text of 500 characters, there was 106 KB of "HTML".

    Through some Perl and plenty of ugly regexps (you can't throw THAT invalid HTML at a parser and expect it to do anything sensible) I got it from 106 KB to 6 KB with the only visible difference when rendered being the paragraph separators being one pixel wider.

  • Thomas (unregistered)

    Anyone else now have a certain Monty Python song stuck in their head? Span, span...

  • (nodebb)

    Looks like the infamous Systems Engineering Development V-cycle, only rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. Brillant!

  • Colin Cowie (unregistered) in reply to Raj

    I am a windows developer, or rather a developer who develops using a windows laptop and visual studio. I have never once dragged a visual element from a toolbox onto the designer version of a screen. I can't imagine many serious developers do. I also write html directly into our angular components, and then write the component typescript that wires up the component, as well as accessing all of our back-end REST api services. We used to develop in silverlight which did have the designer concept, but switching it off and editing plain XAML was the first thing we ever did when working on a component.

  • Donald Knuth (unregistered) in reply to Colin Cowie

    No, spot on. The borkedness of any of those things is pretty high. Slow, buggy and generally likely to bugger up your page.

  • robby the robot (unregistered)

    The first paragraph is the WTF. Or to be charitable it's the changing a static text and image based medium into the basis for applications which should make anyone say WTF.

  • Appalled (unregistered)

    I grew up on Cold Fusion and then on to PHP, but I lucked out. Intranet sites for 2 manufacturing companies All HTML was manual, standard App/Site header footers by includes, the rest of the page by hand, typically Echoing verbiage, buttons/anchors/URLs, then TR/TD's inside data retrieval loops. Wouldn't have it any other way. Perfect control over fonts, shading, backgrounding, events, ballons, Tooltips, Anchor jumps, hidden fields as needed, you name it. I pity the poor Widget yankers that cannot respond to user formatting requests because they don't know HTML well enough.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to robby the robot

    I agree. I've been working in "web app" development for 20 years, and it still feels like we are forcing the browser to do things it is not designed to do. How many times will the industry re-invent the approach (CGI, Java, PHP, Classic ASP, ASP.Net WebForms, ASP.Net MVC, Angular/React/JS Library du-jour, etc.) before addressing the root problem?

  • (nodebb)

    All of this makes me yearn for "simple" command line stuff. Thank goodness I can still do that.

  • (nodebb)

    Writing your own HTML is the only way. These widget generated pages are infuriating me as a user. The time it takes to generate the HTML especially on the client, using these silly frameworks, and the resulting terrible performance literally makes my smartphone hot. Native, high performance HTML and vanilla JavaScript all the way.

  • Charlie (unregistered)

    Another vote for still writing HTML.

    A while back my employers changed their logo and "corporate palette", decreeing that all web pages must be modified.

    The old, hand-written HTML was the easiest - we converted it all to CSS very quickly and made it possible to flick back and forth from the old to the new look with a mouse click, zen garden style, to show non-techies what was going on. The stuff generated out of fancy tools was extremely painful and time consuming to convert, so much so that it was simply replaced... with the output from the latest generation of fancy tools.

    Fast forward another couple of years, and now corporate wants everything adaptive and mobile friendly. So we write a couple sets of CSS files and bam the old stuff is done in no time, and again we can demo it live for the non-techies, and again the fancy stuff requires a complete rewrite.

    So today the old, hand-crafted HTML with C and PHP backends is the most trouble-free, secure and reliable stuff we have, because it got polished and refined over time. Security, usability and appearance issues were dealt with as they appeared, quickly and effectively, because simplicity makes maintenance easy.

  • Lorens (unregistered)

    I don't know if it is still the case, but not too many years ago I had friends using a major multi-million-user ISP that had written its own webmail client. The mails it sent were HTML-only, and EVERY SINGLE character was individually wrapped in its font definition. Even if there were no font changes at all in the mail.

  • xtal256 (unregistered) in reply to Colin Cowie

    "I am a windows developer, or rather a developer who develops using a windows laptop and visual studio. I have never once dragged a visual element from a toolbox onto the designer version of a screen. I can't imagine many serious developers do."

    Yeah, a serious developer would never use a tool that makes their job easier!

  • xtal256 (unregistered)

    Fyi, I am a Windows developer who does use a drag-drop GUI editor, and it's far better than trying to hand code it all. For the custom stuff that the editor cannot do, then I use code.

  • (nodebb)

    Okay, it begins with h2. It has a class "content-title", leaving the formatting to css. But wait, there is style right there, "text-align: center;". Then the inner module or whatever it is, decides to make it strong. Then the nested spans just agree with each other that the font-weight should be 400. The further inner 12 spans are there, just so. Then there is the one font tag to rule them all!

    And all this just to say "Welcome to the ...". How about the rest of the contents?

    And imagine the number of layers of software architecture which generate this stuff. (At least all the modules seem to close the tags that they open.)

    And the nice formatting? That seems to be the work of the DOM inspector. Usually such stuff is generated all in one line. We don't need newlines where we are going.

  • löchlein deluxe (unregistered)

    :squint: spans are inline, whitespace after inline tags isn't discarded, those linebreaks should result in visible (horizontal) spacing in the output. Oh dear god, please don't let this be yet another person of no clue who tried to center the heading with a wysiwyg editor 'cause fuck the styleguide.

  • (nodebb)

    TR... is right-click blocking in 2018.

  • adardame (unregistered) in reply to Colin Cowie

    I took a c# class recently. At least 4 chapters of the book were dedicated to learning how to drag and drop properly. They gave some brief explanations on how to write it in manually with some comments on why it was completely unnecessary.

  • James Dunne (google)

    Yeah this looks like someone's pasted this right from Word into a WYSIWYG editor. Perhaps multiple times. That always causes span spam galore.

Leave a comment on “Boldly Leaping Over the Span”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article