Writing HTML like it's 1993 with Molly

Speaking of bugging, I ran into Molly again as I left Dave Bowman‘s presentation for lunch. (I swear Molly, I wasn’t waiting in ambush for you!) I had meant to ask her this question before Dave’s presentation, but we broke off as not to miss too much.

Some time ago, Scott had the luxury of seeing a presentation by Molly and Eric Meyer at Yahoo. He wrote about a quote they’d read off:

If you’re writing HTML like it’s 1993, you’re doing your job.
- Eric Meyer and Molly Holzschlag

Molly had read my blog entry about it, noting that I’d “taken them to task” over the idea. Admittedly, I felt a little low — who am I to be slagging two of the major standards gurus? I never meant to sound like that! But I can certainly see why I could be coming across as, well, an ass.

The issue I had with the quote is that I don’t want people, especially folks who are trying to encourage others to develop in a certain way or who have previously used tools and are now hand-coding, to do things the wrong way.

For the record, and this was straight from Molly’s mouth, the idea of writing HTML like it’s 1993 is more of a joke than a suggestion. The core idea, however, is still correct: write a document as it was meant to be written. Don’t try to infuse layout or presentation into something that shouldn’t have it.

That’s the problem with a lot of so-called developers out there. They create documents laden with reams of presentation that does nothing for layout, confuses search engines, ruins accessibility, and ultimately causes problems for users (although it’s easy to argue that it shouldn’t). If you reset the clock to an earlier period, before all of this garbage was even possible, there is hope.

That spawned off a long conversation about backgrounds, blogging, and education as a necessity within our field as we waited for lunch. Like I said, Molly’s a great person to talk to. If you ever get a chance to meet her, I highly recommend it.

And sorry, Molly, for sounding like a jerk. At least you know now where I was coming from.

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