Is INPUT tag valid when used outside of a FORM tag?

Here is an update from the “learn something new every day” department – using <input> tag outside of (or, in other words, without) <form> tag is perfectly valid.  It’s valid in the newest HTML5 spec, and it was valid with earlier versions of HTML and XHTML too.

Interesting, that today was the first time I came across this, after doing HTML for almost 20 years.

Echo – lazy-loading HTML5 images with data-* attributes via JavaScript

Echo  is quite handy for web developers.  On those pages that feature a lot of images, things can get slow and the server might get too much of an abuse (with more traffic thrown at it).  One way to work around this is to only load those images that are in the visible part of the screen.  Here is a demo of how it works.  Just keep scrolling down and notice how by default you have a blank.gif image shown, with a standard loading indicator and a split second later you see the actual image which was supposed to be in there.

Simple, easy, elegant – and that’s how I like it.

HTML5 splits into two standards

xkcd standards

Just when web developers got a little bit of hope, Slashdot reports on the bad news.

Until now the two standards bodies working on HTML5 (WHATWG and W3C ) have cooperated. An announcement by WHATWG makes it clear that this is no longer true. WHATWG is going to work on a living standard for HTML which will continue to evolve as more technologies are added. W3C is going the traditional and much more time consuming route of creating a traditional standard which WHATWG refers to as a ‘snapshot’ of their living standard. Of course now being free of W3C’s slower methods WHATWG can accelerate the pace of introducing new technologies to HTML5. Whatever happens, the future has just become more complicated — now you have to ask yourself ‘Which HTML5?’

Even if it sounds good, it is actually really bad.  HTML5 is already complicated enough, and all major browsers support a different subset of it, and even those things which are supported do differ in the way of how.  Splitting the standard just complicated things further.  The fact that this is not exactly new, doesn’t really matter.  Saying that it won’t be harmful, is silly.  As is the whole point of a “living standard”.  Like a few people mentioned in Slashdot comments, “living standard” is an oxymoron. The whole point of standard is to provide a static point of reference.  Splitting is not a solution to the problem.  It’s quite the opposite.  Consider this xkcd comics for illustration, which is nothing but the truth.

Parallax scrolling showcase

A colleague sent me this link to a collection of parallax scrolling website designs. Some of them are really awesome, especially considering the fact that they are implemented in HTML5 – no flash or other proprietary plugin required. I particularly liked how the car assembles and disassembles on the Smart USA website and how the glass of beer empties and refills on the Smokey Bones website. Unbelievable, creative, and inspirational!

SlideShare moves from Flash to HTML5

SlideShare is a social network where people share presentations and other documents.  If you ever attended any conferences, talks or group meetings, chances are the slides for that were uploaded and made available on the SlideShare.  Until now, though, using those slides was a bit awkward, since they were always converted to Flash.  Your browser had to have a plugin, it was difficult or impossible to copy-paste text from slides, search was weird, and access from the mobile was very limited.  Gladly, SlideShare announced that they are moving from Flash to HTML5 which by itself should fix all those nuances and provide for some more useful features.

Here are their reasons for switching:

  1. The exact same HTML5 documents work on the iPhone / iPad, Android phones/tablets, and modern desktop browsers. This is great from an operations perspective. This saves us from extra storage costs, and maximizes the cache hit ration on our CDN (since a desktop request fills the cache for a mobile request, and vice-versa). It’s also great from a software engineering perspective, because we can put all our energy into supporting one format and making it really great.
  2. Documents load 30% faster and are 40% smaller. ‘Nuff said on that front, faster is ALWAYS better.
  3. The documents are semantic and accessible. Google can parse it and index the documents, and so can any other bot, scraper, spider, or screen-reader. This means that you can write code that does interesting things with the text on the slideshare pages. You can even copy and paste text from a SlideShare document, something that was always a pain with Flash.

Read the full story to learn about some of the difficulties they experienced during this migration.