Apple.com (Not Really) Updated to HTML5
Apple has released a revamped version of its web site today, ostensibly in HTML5. Except it doesn’t use anything from HTML5.
That Apple wants to move to the platform that it touts as the Flash-killer is not surprising. Apple refuses to allow Adobe Flash on its mobile devices and claims everything Flash does can be done in HTML5. While not totally accurate, it’s certainly part of Apple’s motivation along with its long-standing claims to support standards. I followed this for a while until it became just senseless bickering:
A few very pro-Apple sites have already carried the news about Apple’s new move to HTML5, citing the new look, one even offering a screen shot of the first four lines of the HTML as proof that it’s HTML5.
Except when you look past the first few lines of the code, or really past the DTD which identifies the page using the new minimalist HTML5 DTD, all similarities to HTML5 cease. I’m going to go after the low-hanging fruit here, mostly because I am writing this on a self-imposed deadline. When I opened the source code, I looked for some telltale HTML5 elements, specifically
canvas (that last one is supposed to be the Flash killer). I found none of them.
Instead I see the standard tag-soup of
divs being jammed into roles now replaced with the new semantic and structural elements of HTML5. As an example, this screen shot shows the HTML that drives the footer, all wrapped in nested
divs. These could be replaced with the HTML5
I understand that browser support is probably the driving concern here. Apple may not want to implement elements that don’t have support in many current browsers. But this half-baked approach, which may be copied by Apple die-hards and HTML5 n00bs alike, does more damage to HTML5 than just leaving the site in HTML4. No, this is a case where prioritizing the marketing message along with ongoing battles with Adobe and now Google are causing Apple’s web development team to fail to implement the specification as it is intended (or will be, when it is final). Which calls into question just how well they will implement any aspect of it, including its attempts to supplant Flash.
Apple isn’t the only one making this HTML5-but-not-really mistake:
Sadly, we are at a point in time where people are implementing HTML5 the way they implemented HTML4 (as in, poorly). It’s like we just invented the screwdriver but everyone is using it to pound nails.