[whatwg] How to make HTML5 easier to teach (Was: several messages about HTML5)
webmaster at keryx.se
Sat Feb 24 03:24:16 PST 2007
Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Sat, 24 Feb 2007, Keryx Web wrote:
>> If I as a teacher would want anything from a spec, it would be that it said
>> "this is wrong" and "this is right" in such a way that it becomes an
>> instrument in grading. --- The
>> technology must enforce it upon them.
> Could you elaborate on this, maybe showing some concrete examples of what
> you mean? I'd love to make the spec easier to use for education.
Speaking from __my__ experience, and the experience of those (too few)
colleagues that I've met in Sweden who teach standards based web
development, it is hard too make the student understand that something
is wrong if he/she "get's away with it".
In my case that has led me to demand that all student's who want more
than the lowest grade must use a strict doctype. The only problem with
those doctypes, that are not intuitive, is that inline-level content is
not allowed as children of the form-element. As soon as I explain "well,
that's the rule..." most students do it right.
Since there is a ton of examples claiming to teach best practice that
uses the transitional doctype, I must carefully enforce the
__philosophy__: (S)eparation of content, design and behavior,
(S)tandards compliant code, (S)emantic code. In this process terminology
does matter. I always correct a student that says (designing with divs".
("You are not designing with divs, you are designing with a CSS grid!")
The current tripartite doctypes are a tool. One can explain how things
are "deprecated", that is allowed to ease the transition of existing
material, but really not good to use, and that with the preferred strict
doctype layout without CSS is practically impossible.
I would like the spec to clearly state what is allowed for backwards
compatibility only and what is the preferred way of marking up content.
I would like a spec that clearly says that some ways of marking up
content is detrimental to accessibility and perhaps also usability. E.g.
frames, including the iframe, or tables used for layout. You would not
believe how many colleagues of mine who actually teach that frames are a
good thing. My nephew, who studies i a nearby city, even had frames as a
required feature of his work!
I would also like to see that the conformance checking software would
give me a graded output:
1. Warning - technically allowed but bad practice
2. Error - not according to the spec
3. Fatal error - most browsers will not be able to parse at all
Putting a students work through a validator (be it HTML, CSS or WAI) and
showing that it is not only my personal view, but hard facts, that
influence my grading, makes the students feel more comfortable in what
they are expected to learn and that they receive fair grades.
Of course some things, such as interaction design and aesthetics, are
impossible to grade with a machine. And yes, I know that it is possible
to write valid code that is unsemantic, so one must look at the code
manually as well.
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