The third day of An Event Apart has its own name: A Day Apart. It is “a one-day learning event dedicated to a special topic.” The topic varies from city to city. Not all An Event Apart cities had Days Apart this year, but next year every two-day conference will be followed by one.
DC’s 2010 A Day Apart covered the HTML5 in the morning with Jeremy Keith and CSS3 in the afternoon with Ethan Marcotte. Though perhaps you could have learned the same material through free, purely online sources, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about these standards from real live people.
Understand HTML5 with Jeremy Keith
As many speakers had with their own subjects throughout An Event Apart, Jeremy lead with an abbreviated history of HTML to ground our discussion. I learn something new—there was no “HTML 1.0.” Tim Berners-Lee created something called “HTML Tags” in October 1991, and then in November 1995, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) came out with HTML 2.0. Jeremy aptly described the 90s, the early days of HTML, as “the wild west days of the web.”
Throughout the lesson, the audience was entertained by the reveal of some of the new features of HTML5. The doctype change is particularly exciting:
- HTML 4.01: <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd”>
- XHTML 1.0: <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd”>
- HTML 5: <!DOCTYPE html>
That’s it! Beautiful, huh? It also demonstrates one of HTML 5’s design principles: support authors and do not harm existing content and use cases. The HTML 5 doctype is the smallest number of bytes needed to trigger standards mode in IE. Doctypes were originally created for validators, not browsers, so HTML takes the opportunity to simplify things for authors.
To introduce some of the new elements to us, Jeremy incorporated a partner activity—match the new elements to their definitions! It turned out to be tricker that it sounds, created some connections between conference neighbors, and helped me to remember the tags better than if I had simply read them online. Nice.
HTML 5 is pretty exciting.
My recollections of Ethan’s workshop about CSS3 are up next!