Why We Should Start Using CSS3 And HTML5 Today


For a while now, here on Smashing Magazine, we have taken notice of how many designers are reluctant to embrace the new technologies such as CSS3 or HTML5 because of the lack of full cross-browser support for these technologies. Many designers are complaining about the numerous ways how the lack of cross-browser compatibility is effectively holding us back and tying our hands — keeping us from completely being able to shine and show off the full scope of our abilities in our work. Many are holding on to the notion that once this push is made, we will wake to a whole new Web — full of exciting opportunities just waiting on the other side. So they wait for this day. When in reality, they are effectively waiting for Godot.

Just like the elusive character from Beckett’s classic play, this day of full cross-browser support is not ever truly going to find its dawn and deliver us this wonderful new Web where our work looks the same within the window of any and every Web browser. Which means that many of us in the online reaches, from clients to designers to developers and on, are going to need to adjust our thinking so that we can realistically approach the Web as it is now, and more than likely how it will be in the future.

Sometimes it feels that we are hiding behind the lack of cross-browser compatibility to avoid learning new techniques that would actually dramatically improve our workflow. And that’s just wrong. Without an adjustment, we will continue to undersell the Web we have, and the landscape will remain unexcitingly stale and bound by this underestimation and mindset.

Adjustment in Progress

Sorry if any bubbles are bursting here, but we have to wake up to the fact that full cross-browser support of new technologies is just not going to happen. Some users will still use older browsers and some users will still have browsers with deactivated JavaScript or images; some users will be having weird view port sizes and some will not have certain plugins installed.

But that’s OK, really.

The Web is a damn flexible medium, and rightly so. We should embrace its flexibility rather than trying to set boundaries for the available technologies in our mindset and in our designs. The earlier we start designing with the new technologies, the quicker their wide adoption will progress and the quicker we will get by the incompatibility caused by legacy browsers. More and more users are using more advanced browsers every single day, and by using new technologies, we actually encourage them to switch (if they can). Some users will not be able to upgrade, which is why our designs should have a basic fallback for older browsers, but it can’t be the reason to design only the fallback version and call it a night.

Select[ivizr]2 is one of the many tools that make it possible to use CSS3 today.

There are so3 many4 remarkable5 things6 that we, designers and developers, can do today: be it responsive designs with CSS3 media queries, rich Web typography (with full support today!) or HTML5 video and audio. And there are so many useful7 tools8 and9 resources10 that we can use right away to incorporate new technologies in our designs while still supporting older browsers. There is just no reason not to use them.

We are the ones who can push the cross-browser support of these new technologies, encouraging and demanding the new features in future browsers. We have this power, and passing on it just because we don’t feel like there is no full support of them yet, should not be an option. We need to realize that we are the ones putting the wheels in motion and it’s up to us to decide what will be supported in the future browsers and what will not.

More exciting things will be coming11 in the future12. We should design for the future and we should design for today — making sure that our progressive designs work well in modern browsers and work fine in older browsers. The crucial mistake would be clinging to the past, trying to work with the old nasty hacks and workarounds that will become obsolete very soon.

We can continue to cling to this notion and wait for older browsers to become outdated, thereby selling ourselves and our potential short, or we can adjust our way of thinking about this and come at the Web from a whole new perspective. One where we understand the truth of the situation we are faced with. That our designs are not going to look the same in every browser and our code will not render the same in every browser. And that’s the bottom line.

Yaili’s beautiful piece My CSS Wishlist on 24ways14. Articles like these are the ones that push the boundaries of web design and encourage more innovation in the industry.

Andy Clarke spoke about this at the DIBI Conference earlier this year (you can check his presentation Hardboiled Web Design on Vimeo15). He really struck a nerve with his presentation, yet still we find so many stalling in this dream of complete Web standardization. So we wanted to address this issue here and keep this important idea being discussed and circulated. Because this waiting is not only hurting those of us working with the Web, but all of those who use the Web as well. Mainly through this plethora of untapped potential which could improve the overall experience across the spectrum for businesses, users and those with the skills to bring this sophisticated, rich, powerful new Web into existence.

For Our Clients

Now this will mean different things for different players in the game. For example, for our clients this means a much more developed and uniquely crafted design that is not bound by the boxes we have allowed our thinking to be contained in. However, this does come with a bit of a compromise that is expected on the parts of our clients as well. At least it does for this to work in the balanced and idealized way these things should play out. But this should be expected. Most change does not come without its compromises.

In this case, our clients have to accept the same truism that we do and concede that their projects will not look the same across various browsers. This is getting easier to convince them of in these times of the expanding mobile market, but they may still not be ready to concede this inch on the desktop side of the coin. Prices might be adjusted in some cases too, and that may be another area that the clients are not willing to accept. But with new doors being opened and more innovation, comes more time and dedicated efforts. These are a few of the implications for our clients, though the expanded innovation is where we should help them focus.

In short:

  • Conceding to the idea that the project will not be able to look the same across various browsers,
  • This means more developed and unfettered imaginative designs for our clients,
  • This could lead to increased costs for clients as well, but with higher levels of innovation and
  • Client’s visions for what they want will be less hindered by these limitations.

For the Users

The users are the ones who have the least amount invested in most of what is going on behind the scenes. They only see the end result, and they often do not think too much about the process that is involved which brings it to the screens before them. Again, with the mobile market, they have already come across the concept of varying interfaces throughout their varied devices. They only care about the functionality and most probably the style that appeals to them — but this is where their interest tends to end. Unless of course, they too are within the industry, and they may give it a second thought or more. So all this talk of cross-browser compatibility really doesn’t concern them, they really leave all that up to us to worry about.

Users only ever tend to notice anything if and when something does not work the way they expect it to from one place to the next. In most cases, they are willing to show something to a relative, friend or colleague, and suddenly from one device to the next, something is different that disrupts their ability to do so. That is when they actually take notice. But if we have done our jobs correctly, these transitions will remain smooth — even with the pushing of the envelopes that we are doing. So there is not much more that is going to change for the users other than a better experience. Average user is not going to check if a given site has the same rounded corners and drop-shadow in two different browsers installed on the user’s machine.

In short:

  • Potentially less disruptions of experience from one device to another and
  • An overall improved user experience.

For Designers/Developers

We, the designers and developers of the Web, too have to make the same concession our clients do and surrender the effort to craft the same exact presentation and experience across the vast spectrum of platforms and devices. This is not an easy idea to give up for a lot of those playing in these fields, but as has been already mentioned, we are allowing so much potential to be wasted. We could be taking the Web to new heights, but we allow ourselves to get hung up on who gets left behind in the process — and as a result we all end up getting left behind. Rather than viewing them as separate audiences and approaching them individually, so to speak, we allow the limitations of one group to limit us all.

Perhaps a divide and conquer mentality should be employed. Image Credit17

So this could mean a bit more thought for the desired follow through, and we are not suggesting that we strive to appease one group here and damn the rest. Instead, we should just take a unified approach, designing for those who can see and experience the latest, and another for those who cannot. It wouldn’t mean more work if we design with those users in mind and produce meaningful and clean code up front and then just adjust it for older browsers. Having to remember that not everyone is afforded the privilege of choosing which browser they are using. And if necessary, this approach can be charged for. So it could lead to more revenue along with exciting new opportunities — by bringing some of the fun back into the work that being boxed in with limitations has robbed us of.

In short:

  • Conceding to the idea that the project will not be able to look the same across various browsers,
  • A more open playing field for designers and developers all around; less restricted by this holding pattern,
  • More exciting and innovative landscape to attract new clientele,
  • Division of project audience into separate presentational approaches and
  • Probably less work involved because we don’t need the many hacks and workarounds we’ve used before.

So What Are We Waiting For?

So if this new approach, or adjusted way of thinking can yield positive results across the browsers for everyone involved, then why are we still holding back? What is it that we are waiting for? Why not cast off these limitations thrown upon our fields and break out of these boxes? The next part of the discussion tries to suss out some of the contributing factors that could be responsible for keeping us restrained.

Fear Factor

Fail better18
The fail awaits, and so some of us opt to stay back. Image by Ben Didier19

One contributing factor that has to be considered, is perhaps that we are being held back out of fear. This might be a fear of trying something new, now that we have gotten so comfortable waiting for that magic day of compatibility to come. This fear could also stem from not wanting to stand up to some particular clients and try to make them understand this truism of the Web and the concessions that need to be made — with regards to consistent presentation across the browsers. We get intimated, so to speak, into playing along with these unrealistic expectations, rather than trusting that we can make them see the truth of the situation. Whatever the cause is that drives this factor, we need to face our fears and move on.

It’s our responsibility of professionals to deliver high-quality work to our clients and advocate on and protect user’s interests. It’s our responsibility to confront clients when we have to, and we will have to do it at some point anyway, because 100% cross-browser compatibility is just not going to happen.

Comfortable Factor

A possible contributing factor that we should also look into is that some people in the community are just too comfortable with how we design today and are not willing to learn new technology. There are those of us who already tire of the extra work involved in the testing and coding to make everything work as it is, so we have little to no interest at all in an approach that seemingly calls for more thought and time. But really, if we start using new technologies today, we will have to master a learning curve first, but the advantages are certainly worth our efforts. We should see it as the challenge that will save us time and deliver better and cleaner code.

To some extent, today we are in the situation in which we were in the beginning of 2000s; at those times when the emergence and growing support of CSS in browsers made many developers question their approach to designing web sites with tables. If the majority of designers passed on CSS back then and if the whole design community didn’t push the Web standards forward, we probably still would be designing with tables.

Doubt Factor

Doubt is another thing we must consider when it comes to our being in hold mode, and this could be a major contributor to this issue. We begin to doubt ourselves and our ability to pull off this innovative, boundary pushing-kind-of-work, or to master these new techniques and specs, so we sink into the comfort of playing the waiting game and playing it safe with our designs and code. We just accept the limitations and quietly work around them, railing on against the various vendors and the W3C. We should take the new technologies as the challenge to conquer; we’ve learned HTML and CSS 2.1 and we can learn HTML5 and CSS3, too.

Faith Factor

I want to believe20
Faith can be a good thing, but in this case, it can hold you back. Image by fotologic21

Undoubtedly, some of us are holding off on moving forward into these new areas because we are faithfully clinging to the belief that the cross-browser support push will eventually happen. There are those saying that we will be better off as a community if we allowed the Web to evolve, and that this evolution should not be forced.

But this is not forcing evolution, it is just evolution. Just like with Darwin’s theory, the Web evolves in stages, it does not happen for the entire population at once. It is a gradual change over time. And that is what we should be allowing to happen with the Web, gradually using and implementing features for Web community here and there. This way forward progress is happening, and nobody should be held back from these evolutionary steps until we all can take them.

“It’s Too Early” Factor

Another possible contributor is the ever mocking “It’s too early” factor. Some members of the online community faithfully fear that if they go ahead and accept this new way forward and begin designing or developing in accordance, then as soon as they begin completing projects, the support might be dropped and they would need to update the projects they already completed in the past. It’s common to think that it’s just too early to work with new standards until they are fully implemented in many browsers; because it’s just not safe to assume that they will be implemented at all.

However, one needs to understand the difference between two groups of new features: the widely accepted ones (CSS3’s media queries, border-radius or drop-shadows or HTML5 canvas are not going to disappear) and the experimental ones (e.g. some OpenType features are currently supported only in Firefox 4 Beta22). The widely accepted features are safe to use and they will not disappear for certain; the experimental features can always be extracted in a separate stylesheet and be easily updated and maintained when necessary. It might be a good idea not to use experimental, unsupported features in large corporate designs unless they are not affecting the critical design elements of the design.

Validation Factor

We cannot forget to mention that there are also many of us who are refusing to dabble in these new waters simply due to the fact that implementing some of these techniques or styles would cause a plethora of vendor-specific pefixes to appear in the stylesheet, thus impeding the validation we as professionals strive for.

Many of us would never put forth any project that does not fully validate with the W3C, and until these new specs are fully standardized and valid, we are unwilling to include them in their work. And because using CSS3 usually means using vendor-specific prefixes, we shouldn’t be using CSS3. Right?

Jeffrey Way’s article But It Doesn’t Validate24

Well, not quite. As Jeffrey Way perfectly explains in his article But it Doesn’t Validate2625, validation is not irrelevant, but the final score of the CSS validator might be. As Jeffrey says,

“This score serves no higher purpose than to provide you with feedback. It neither contributes to accessibility, nor points out best-practices. In fact, the validator can be misleading, as it signals errors that aren’t errors, by any stretch of the imagination.

[…] Validation isn’t a game, and, while it might be fun to test your skills to determine how high you can get your score, always keep in mind: it doesn’t matter. And never, ever, ever compromise the use of the latest doctype, CSS3 techniques and selectors for the sake of validation.”

— Jeffrey Way, But it Doesn’t Validate2625

Having our work validate 100% is not always the best for the project. If we make sure that our code is clean and accessible, and that it validates without the CSS3/HTML5-properties, then we should take our work to the next level, meanwhile sacrificing part of the validation test results. We should not let this factor keep us back. If we have a chance for true innovation, then we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be restrained by unnecessary boundaries.

All in All…

Whatever the factors that keep us from daring into these new CSS3 styles or new HTML5 coding techniques, just for a tangible example, need to be gotten over. Plain and simple. We need to move on and start using CSS3 and HTML5 today. The community will become a much more exciting and innovative playground, which in turn will improve experiences for as well as draw in more users to this dynamic new Web, which in turn will attract more clientele — effectively expanding the market. This is what could potentially be waiting on the other side of this fence that we are timidly facing — refusing to climb over it. Instead, waiting for a gate to be installed.

Until we get passed this limited way of looking at the situation, only then will we continue falling short of the full potential of ourselves and our field. Are there any areas that you would love to be venturing into, but you are not because of the lack of complete cross browser compatibility? Admittedly, I was a faith factor member of the community myself — how about you? And what CSS3 or HTML5 feature are you going to incorporate into your next design?

Will You Use HTML5 / CSS3 In Your Next Design?

Will you use HTML5 / CSS3 in your next design project?27Market Research28

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  1. 1 http://selectivizr.com
  2. 2 http://selectivizr.com
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/07/19/how-to-use-css3-media-queries-to-create-a-mobile-version-of-your-website/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/06/17/start-using-css3-today-techniques-and-tutorials/
  5. 5 http://www.alistapart.com/articles/responsive-web-design/
  6. 6 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/10/11/local-storage-and-how-to-use-it/
  7. 7 http://caniuse.com/
  8. 8 http://www.modernizr.com/
  9. 9 http://selectivizr.com/
  10. 10 http://html5boilerplate.com/
  11. 11 http://opentype.info/blog/2010/08/14/better-web-typography-with-opentype-features/
  12. 12 http://24ways.org/2010/my-css-wish-list
  13. 13 http://24ways.org/2010/my-css-wish-list
  14. 14 http://24ways.org/2010/my-css-wish-list
  15. 15 http://vimeo.com/17137962
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsgalpert/5071561135/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsgalpert/5071561135/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettyuglydesign/4673681658/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettyuglydesign/4673681658/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/408096004/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/408096004/
  22. 22 http://opentype.info/blog/2010/08/14/better-web-typography-with-opentype-features/
  23. 23 http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/but-it-doesnt-validate/
  24. 24 http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/but-it-doesnt-validate/
  25. 25 http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/but-it-doesnt-validate/
  26. 26 http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/but-it-doesnt-validate/
  27. 27 http://polldaddy.com/poll/4226870/
  28. 28 http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    I’m a fan of playing with HTML5 and CSS3, but I guess the biggest factor preventing me from completely switching over is the compatibility issue, even though I know it’s impossible to cater to every single browser out there! My next project will definitely use HTML5 and CSS3, and hopefully I’ll adopt (and embrace) it sooner rather than later for my main site.

  2. 102

    I thought Smashing Mag was all about Usability…

    and standards.

    HTML5/CSS3, in reality, has neither.

    ” just because you can, doesn’t mean you should..”

    Whats the next shiny new thing? the iPad2?

    • 203

      But what you should look to do is push the bounderies of Usability and standards by trying to use the elements of Html5 & CSS3 that you can! If we dont push forward we will never progress.

      I do agree though to a point though it is a problem for usability and standards which we need to keep in mind on every build.

  3. 304

    Can’t believe how well this site is doing. Most likely due to these kind of great articles. Total Votes: 4,459. I’ve been using HTML 5 for a while and i have to admit, surely you can hear a clear “WTF!?” trough my door but it’s a learn-while-using process. Having a lot of fun of it and it really allows you to write some beautifull code.

    Kind regards from the Netherlands,


  4. 405

    I really want to start using more Html5 & CSS3.

    I started using some basic elements but the problem i face is that some of our clients only use IE6. This is a massive problem for me as we need to then develop for that browser so the client is happy with the product.

    Also Html 5 is still only classed as “Experimental” under W3C Validation & our clients sites need to validate by law to be WAI & DDA complient. I can’t see me getting into HTML5 & CSS3 just yet but i really hope to start bringing more elements of both into our builds.

    But we should push the limits to see what will work or we will never move forward.

  5. 506

    A lot of the commentators seem to be hiding behind “IE” as a reason not to embrace it but these people are failing to see a number of the benefits.

    Some examples:
    Wireframing in PhotoShop isn’t as important when you can knock up a demo site in HTML5 and CSS3 in a fraction of the time.

    On all the ecommerce sites I have stats to there are huge increases in mobile/tablet sales. HTML5 and CSS3 make it MUCH easier for non-PC to order and fill in forms. Should we ignore this market which is growing by the hour?

    I can create CSS3 versions of a site 30% faster than being stuck in PhotoShop for hours creating all the curved corners, shadows etc

    By correctly labeling the elements with tags such as , , etc you are helping search engines know what is and isn’t important on a page.

    Most jobs I see these days require mobile/HTML5 and CSS3 knowledge…hmmm, actually, stick the stone age guys and girls, I’ll have more luck when I need another job!

    I have some websites (intranets) where IE6 use is above 90% so I don’t use HTML5 or CSS3

    I have some websites where IE6 accounts for under 10% so I use some HTML5 and CSS3

    I have some websites where mobile users are the biggest buyers so I use purely HTML5/CSS3 while still supporting non-HTML5 browsers who get a less whizzy (but still usable) version

    • 607

      I like this article & tend to agree on the validation side of things as long as it’s semantically correct & useable when css is tuned off – http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/but-it-doesnt-validate/

      To me it sounds like your a freelancer Simon? Going straight to build in my opinion isn’t the right way for us as a company. The problem we face is that 90% of the time the design we start with is vastly different to the end product. Also our designers are “designers” not front-end developers like myself ( i can design, build & develop ).

      Another problem is really is IE6 as we have done work for NHS & others that only use ie6 & it needs to look right to them.

      Html 5 & CSS 3 is something i am pushing for within my company & less support for ie6 on a visual basis. We do need to push forward & brake the rules some times to get things moving.

      • 708

        I contract for a company with 1,000 in the web team but I do also freelance. I have always block and visual wire-framed in PhotoShop but HTML5 allows me to build a block wireframe quickly and easily. From there I can start to add styling with just a few lines of CSS so I can see if I’m heading in the right direction for the client.

        I would NEVER recommend HTML5 and CSS3 for companies who use IE6 almost exclusively but that kind of IE6 browser percentage isn’t commonplace. What I’m trying to say is HTML5 and CSS3 are tools that shouldn’t be disregarded point blank because in the “very near future” they will both play a very important role in designs.

        I love the simplicity and structure of HTML5 and I love the time-saving benefits of CSS3. I only use both in a fraction of my work but I still use them because the benefits I listed above out-weight the minuscule percentage of IE6 users who have JS turned (based on sites I have analytical access to).

  6. 809

    If your website makes £1million a month
    5% of your users are IE6 (£50k a month)
    I don’t make £50k a month… and it only takes me maybe a few more minutes, hours to fix something to work in IE6. Holding back on CSS3 and HTML5 won’t provide more than £50k extra a month.

    I tend to make sure it works, add frills using CSS3 and HTML5 like shadows, rounded corners and gradients. Ie6 users aren’t going to moan about your site not looking that much better as the rest of the web probably looks crap to them anyway.

    I think the only way to tackle IE6 is for the large websites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google) to boycott it and then they’ll be forced to upgrade or live in a cave happily :P

  7. 910

    I have used HTML5 on about 3 websites now so far with support for ALL of the major browsers, IE6+.

    I think the problem here is CSS3 and NOT HTML5. All HTML5 is are a few extra elements, some that will work and others that will not, like the video tag.

    To use HTML5 semantically, you can use it today. Tags like section, aside, nav, header, article can all be used NOW to give more meaning, it’s just that you wont SEE anything different, but it WILL mean something different to those who will consume it better.

    I build all my websites with CSS2.1 then add CSS3 features to pretty it up. I will never rely on CSS3 but for those who took the time to upgrade to a decent browser, they’ll be rewarded with a slightly prettier website. But, all in all, everyone can get the content.

    • 1011

      Special css3 tags like shadow and rounded corners work fine in saf,chrome,ff.
      When viewed in IE, it just ignores the line of code without changing the appearance of the layout. I say yes, build using css2, but add these small css3 goodies and it will be ok.

      I think its ok to play around with some of CSS3 features, just not go over the top.

  8. 1112

    I have no qualms about selective CSS3 and HTML in my widely-disseminated work (that which older and less apt users are expected to interact with) so long as it is supported by the current and last versions of major browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE) – and by that I mean as long as IE 7/8 support it.

    In my personal work, however, I actively discriminate against IE users – being that browsers are free there is no good reason for the utilization of IE by the types of users that I cater to.

    Use should be carefully considered for the next several months or so, but no designer/developer should ignore CSS3 and HTML5 until they are fully supported by the browser versions that the majority of people are using. These languages paint a bright future for the web and nearly boundless possibilities for those who will develop it, so it would be a mistake not to work with them now in some capacity.

  9. 1213

    HTML5 are some new tags, the canvas one usable with Javascript and some offline , draft tags.
    Css3 is a great innovation with animations and other cool stuffs.

    But if we go ahead, Javascript programming is a disaster. For video, simple effects (menù, slideshows etc), WEB DESIGN and similiar, in the next 5 years all websites will be done in HTML and CSS3 + some javascript with Adobe and Microsoft IDE upgraded.

    BUT for serious RIA and WEB APPLICATION, the way are only 2:

    1) Silverlight
    2) Flash

    The data management, Databae interactions, complex async calls to methods, and SECURITY must be done with robust languages like C# (Silverlight environment) and good tools for augmenting programmers productivity. On this blog you are not programmers, are designer. So, asking a developer to use Javascript, the mess of open source library with no tools, no debugging instruments like visual studio, NOW in 2010 is a suicide.

    And this only to use 4 or 5 new stuffs, like round corners and some animation that can be done in Flash and Silvelight in 3 minutes.
    Flash is a standard de facto, Silverlight now reach 65% people out there and is Cross platform/browser in and out and will reach 90% people in the end of 2011.

    Also in 2011 Silverlight and Flash will reach Android and Windows Phone 7.
    Only iOS is out for Steve choose, but a few million ipads are ridicolous conpared to thousand million Desktop PC and iphone is too small for a serious and complete navigation. Also there are hopes because Apple will decrease maket share if will not open to Flash and Silverlight as the competitors.

    In conclusion, HTML5 (that is HTML + SVG + CSS3 + JavaScript + [server side language combined with AJAXcalls ] + database) will be used for NORMAL websites in about 1 or 2 years to let people upgrade the browsers, and Software house to do the tools for animations , but will always give problems to designer cause browser inconstistency.

    For huge, complex and data driven applications like games and great websites and web applications, plugins will be the best choice ever cause GREAT TOOLS ,super productivity and a level of abstraction from browsers that let developer not take care of Javascript inconsistency cross browsers.

    In conclusion, in 2012 when Html5 will be mature we will have Flash 11 and Silverlight 6 with real 3d and other stuffs + HTML5 for websites and great design/simple apps, but no complex web applications (only giants can use Js to do this).


    • 1314

      YOU are a serious kook.

      No none gives a shit about 1999 flash intro animations.
      Flash websites are so 2005. When a user comes to a website, they want see it quickly and not wait for some stupid menu animation or preloader effects….


      • 1415

        I was not talking about “stupid menu animation or preloader effects….”
        If you read carefully, i said that for these we will use HTML5 :D

        The “so 2005″ website, depends on WHO design the website, NOT the technology. Even in JavaScript you can do a boring shining intro animation., tsk.

        From what you write i can deduct you are not a developer, and probabily even not a web designer, but a simple apple consumer “Steve influenced”.
        Am i in right? You don’t know what you are talking about.

        I was talking about RIA.
        JavaScript is not good for RIA, NOW in 2010, MAYBE in 2 or 3 years.

        There are no tools, all handcoded, browser inconsistency, slow performances, difficult to debug, no databinding, low security.
        Do you understand what i’m talking about?

        Flash is a standard de facto, and like Silverlight have great tools, and it’s a mature technology.

        The world will be better if only the DAMN apple give all world developers the right to choice what f*ck tech to learn and use.
        Now the world is quite stopped cause Steve Jobs and his sheeps, waiting for the immature and DRAFT tech marketed as “HTML5″, and Google is taking advantage of this cause it have no dev tools like Microsoft and Adobe and want to damage them. Google earn on advertising, Apple on hardware, MS and Adobe on software.

        Using or not using html5 , they fight, they make a lot of money and we developers must pay this.

        HTML5 is not ready yet, we need tools, we need to be more productive, we need browser consistency, we need books, we need a clear and complete set of “what’s new”, and not “some” new features and perhaps something else GOD Steve knows when.
        We have nothing of that. PERIOD.

        The web is becoming another mess of not standard compliant webites running to the not existent eichtiemmeellefive. Go Apple, go and sell your f*king useless ipads, sheeps are buying.

  10. 1516

    I agree with Michael.

    Much of the above discussion related to “not being able to use HTML 5 because of Internet Explorer 6″. I just thought I’d point out that when Microsoft developed IE6, they did consider that you might add new tags at some point in the future, so there is a simple JavaScript shim that makes HTML 5 work in IE6.


    If you don’t like the idea of the JavaScript shim there is a non-JavaScript method that is designed to have an easy-conversion later when you decide HTML 5 is well supported:


    I’m not entering the discussion about HTML vs FLASH vs SILVERLIGHT at this stage, suffice to say that anyone who thinks ebay and Amazon are not complex web applications may be misleading themselves somewhat. The same goes for anyone who thinks you can’t debug JavaScript.

  11. 1617

    We love CSS 3 & HTML 5, but are holding back (particularly HTML 5) simply because of the IE6 reasons stated by so many others. However, we do have a slightly different approach to whether or not we use them: we look at the client’s audience demographic. If they’re targeting consumers or small businesses (who are more likely to use Firefox or a newer version of IE), we’re more likely to use CSS 3 than if they’re targeting larger corporations or the public sector (who, as we know, are more likely to be using some ancient version of IE).

  12. 1718

    If us developers continue to develop for IE6, well users will continue using IE6 period. As long as sites are still showing up properly on IE6…what is the whole point of upgrading!!!!

    I am all for this article and since browsers are free these days simply putting a browser detector saying “Hey…you have an old browser from the year 1999 please upgrade to today’s current browsers” If the user really wants use the site well people will change and when they do and see the difference the web will change much quickly.

    I understand we have clients but hey seriously tell them to move or find other clients and leave your old client with an old browser.

    Just look at google…They don’t support IE6 anymore!!! They are still surviving…

    So seriously lets move on!!!!

    P.S I still can’t believe people still use IE6!!!!

    • 1819





  13. 2021

    Fat Free Interactive

    December 16, 2010 12:13 pm

    The bottom line is that HTML5 has many features that can be used on even older browsers. Adaptation of techniques has been slow, but if we want to be successful at what we do, making excuses on why not to use HTML5 is a huge mistake.

    There’s no reason even the basic HTML5 layout should not be used on all projects.

    • 2122

      Very true! Even if you don’t feel comfortable using features like and with a flash fallback then you should at least use the basic HTML5 elements such as , , etc so you can deliver a more semantically correct website.

  14. 2223

    Special css3 tags like shadow and rounded corners work fine saf,chrome,ff.
    When viewed in IE, it just ignores the line of code without changing the appearance of the layout.

    I think its ok to play around with some of CSS3 features, just not go over the top.

  15. 2324

    Ironic how smashingmagazine.com is using XHTML 1.0 Transitional…

  16. 2425

    Common mistakes : “i have nth percent IE users” with n beeing a big number. Sometimes the analytic tool is wrong, and counts the bots in. I mean all that crappy spam bots, not googlebot, msnbot, slurp… They represent a big part of the Internet traffic and pretend to be IE6 for the majority of them.

    “it would cost millions of dollars to upgrade the browsers for a company”. No, except if the IT department is really shitty. Upgrades and installations can be made silently. One solution would be to install Chrome Frame and configure the proxy so it would add the switch to every page coming from the internet.
    One browser, two rendering engines with ie6’s one used only for the internal creepy software (and even for a selection of internet webservices if needed)

  17. 2526

    Reality check #1: clients and the end customer don’t give a flying fudge what version of HTML is used so long as it works.

    Reality check #2: HTML 5 works IN ALL BROWSERS.

    There is nothing stopping us moving the industry forward and using new techniques today. For those that want to carry on using old ways and hiding behind small minded views and adopting backwards looking approaches to the modern web, fine. Go the way of the dinosaurs for all I care.

    HTML 5 is here. It works. Start using it. You have nothing to lose.

  18. 2627

    Not too many people know about this but CSS3 PIE is a great tool to bring CSS3 into the picture. It is an HTC File that lets you use gradients, round borders, and text/box shadows in IE7 and IE8. Google CSS3 and check it out, it completely blew my mind when I saw it so now I use CSS3 on a daily basis. This is how we let CSS3 break into the nets!

    • 2728

      I recently used HTML5 and CSS3 on a project along with html5shiv and CSS3 PIE to fill in the IE gaps. I found my development time to be shorter and compatibility across browsers was excellent. The end result was a more economical project for the client in exchange for a stripped down IE 6 experience using a very minimal no-frills stylesheet.

      Now if a client insists on IE 6 compatibility I will do one of two things: refuse the project, or make it known that IE 6 is time consuming and will be much more expensive. Then we can look at the site stats to decide if it’s worth the huge price increase to deal with that big bag of hurt.

  19. 2829

    I am an end user and unfortunately I think you’ll find that a lot of government employees have to access the internet via IE6. You wouldn’t want to deprive these lunch-hour-surfees of a good surfing experience (or shopping = kaching for your client) by not supporting IE6 imho.

  20. 2930

    kurniawan joko purnomo

    January 12, 2011 6:47 am

    Absolutely yes, cross browser is matter . We must aways update our knowledge and our technology into our design.

  21. 3031

    I want to say, don’t be slave of validators and of old browsers.

  22. 3132

    I love HTML5 and CSS3, but it’s so hard to develop something nice because it just looks like cr@p on browsers like Firefox 3.6 and IE 6-8 which are mainly used by the vast majority of users.

    The day these browsers just jump in the bandwagon regarding the new web technologies instead of differentiate with “features” that “enhance” the experience of browsing using their browser then the web will be a much happier place.

  23. 3233

    Obviously there are mostly developers commenting here. As a newbie who is just learning and about to embark on a first website (not for a client), wouldn’t you say ‘Go forward young man. Build it with HTML5 and CSS3’?

  24. 3334

    Thanks for this post. I wanted to know what books and tutorials out there that teach html5 and css3 from a graphic designers standpoint for beginners. I want to hit the ground running.

  25. 3435

    Most of you are missing the entire point. Those clients who have older browsers need to be urged to upgrade. Also, havent you people learned to COMBINE everything?

    As stated, html5 is a combination and addition of older and newer markup. It’s not entirely a new thing or concept. While they elements are cool and now possible, havent we all wished for these elements for the past 5-10 years already? Now that its possible you guys all of the suddent want to back out and turn your backs on it?

    Look to the future. Look to mobile development. Look to the new design. STOP MAKING WEBSITES THAT REMIND ME OF THE DIAL UP 1990s LOOK! Innovate, be creative, and be precise. Use the right tool for the job.

    Please stop wasting time and commenting negatively on HTML5 CSS3. Learn to be the future and yet provide a solid standard for your clients with older browsers and use the right tools for the job. Sheesh, people. So freaking stuck up and elitist. Open your mind and open the possibilities for the free web. If people are lacking on upgraded browsers than its their fault. IE6 was released AGES ago. Face it, people who havent upgraded yet probably wont and are therefore useless for our target audience. They probably dont have a clue about what html even is.

  26. 3536

    HTML5/CSS3 is perfectly valid to use and it has been for awhile with support continuously growing. So you may have to hold IE’s hand a bit (older versions), that’s not the end of the world. Any developer worth their salt would recognize this and instead of digging in their heels find ways to embrace this change and evolve.

    I got tired of seeing so many references regarding IE6. Please refer to the following site set up by Microsoft themselves:


    In addition to that popular systems like WordPress have dropped support for IE6 with references of doing the same for 7. (*Cheer!*)

    Bottom line… Educate Not Enable!

  27. 3637

    This is so damn confusing. I have to do what I gotta do to please my clients, and that means that I have to develop for IE6, but it makes being a web designer difficult and boring. Now, I hear that this modernizer and html5shiv can do something to make HTML 5 work in older browsers with JS. I just need someone to confirm this so I can go learn how to implement them on my websites. Even 1 percent of IE users could be thousands of dollars of lose/year so I want to make sure that IE6 gets support.

  28. 3738

    I think it’s good that web designers are being given new tools. Let’s not forget why the new methods have been introduced. It’s all about reducing the amount of requests being sent by the browsers.
    Reducing the requests and making the users’ browser render certain images and styles that before needed to be downloaded as another image gives more bandwidth for other uses and reduces the amount of download time.
    We can’t all get fast download speeds for our mobile devices. Personally I’m in a blackspot at home and always use my wireless connection instead.
    If the file size is reduced, it leaves room for more other mobile users’ data, giving (hopefully) a better and more reliable service.
    For example, can you imagine what it’ll be like when everybody sends out a New Year Picture message?
    If you have a continually growing amount of mobile users, you need to avoid what usually happens at New Year.
    You can read my site page here http://www.blueflux.eu/HTML5.html or read my blog http://www.blueflux.eu/MyBlog.html.

    They’re both an ongoing project and a little unfinished but you’ll get the idea.

    It’s always going to be difficult to put down on canvas what you want to express when the canvas is never the same size.
    So for now, the best option we have is to reduce the canvas size a little and add a bit on the side that we really don’t want to, so the guy/girl with the humungous screen!! Can still see a ‘complete’ design.
    There’s also a few little workarounds coming out. For example, I made the HTML5 page as a way of practicing the new techniques and finding out why there was misconception that ‘Flash is dead’ beginning to emerge.
    However, someone reminded during a conversation that there is no IE9 for XP users. XP is still everywhere.
    This made me look at my new HTML5 page and I thought, ‘why I have I just made this, maybe I should leave it for another few years?’.
    Or, now I have to design web pages with the new stuff, and check to see how it looks on IE8 or under without the support for this new stuff.
    Anyway, there is a chrome frame plug-in for IE https://developers.google.com/chrome/chrome-frame/
    and I also found this: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/html/three-ways-you-can-use-html5-on-your-website-today.html#fbid=OZx17LoBBIh

    Martin @bluefluxgraphic

  29. 3839

    In my opinion, today’s world is fast growing and moving with the new advanced technologies everyday, so in this busy life and to upgrade ourselves with the technologies and the world, the need for all time online is necessary for those who are with stock and share markets, who are with real estate business and also for those who awaits for their friends comments or shared pictures by using social media, we should have the smart phones and these all can happen if we are using modern browser techniques that can be device dependent.

    HTML5 is device dependent and thus media queries by using css3 with HTML5 make websites responsive, Iphone / Mobile apps needs HTML5 as it has the ability to reduce the external plugins like flash.


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