HTML5 Evangelism: Adobes The Expressive Web

What might of gotten lost in Adobe’ s announcement of its HTML5 development Tool, Edge, was the equally important release of Adobe’s HTML5 Evangelism site, The Expressive Web. Adobe appears determined to seize the lead in HTML5 development. As the screen shot below shows the Expressive Web is certainly HTML5 snazzy.

The Expressive Web has a lot of the feel of CSSZen Garden with two or three added helpers for developers. First,  the Expressive Web does not have the simple download the HTML and CSS links that CSS Zen Garden has. But then I thought of CTRL+U keyboard shortcut available in most browsers and the super-powered CTRL+SHIFT+K in Firefox or CTRL+SHIFT+J for Chrome’s great debugger, etc, etc. So The Expressive Web Can be forgiven for this omission. However, the added helpers are really several steps beyond CSSZenGarden.
1)Browser Support shows the likelihood that a feature will work and at what version number for the following browsers:
Apple Safari, Apple iOS,  Google Chrome, Google Android, Microsoft IE,  Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Opera Mobile. The data is derived from the superior caniuse.com HTML5 benchmark website. This gives users a feel for how well supported a HTML5 or CSS3 feature is among major browsers. Goto caniuse.com for many more browsers and their HTML5 support status. But there is more.
2)Feature Detection and Fallback Strategies are invaluable tips.  Fallback strategies gives tips on what users can do if a particular HTML5 or CSS3 feature is not well supported in the browsers your clients will be using. These fall back ideas can be god-send helpful. Feature Detection shows the Modernizr JavaScript detection code that developers can use to make sure that the  users browser supports a HTML5 or CSS3 feature – or to invoke the fallback code just suggested.
3)Examples and Resources are 2-3 actual website examples that use the HTML5/CSS3 feature being discussed. This is where developers can visit and see like in CSS Zengarden  some compelling examples of 2 or 3 Web sites using the HTML5 or CSS3 feature on display. Even better the Resources section shows the  W3C official documentation and sometimes a helpful discussion from a 3rd party website like Sitepoint. Finally, there is a list of 5 to 7 links to additional websites like Smashing Magazine or css3maker that provide a wealth of great tips on HTML5 and/or CSS3. This tutorials part of each Expressive Web page is worth the price of admission on its own.
4)Related Adobe  Technologies is  the advertising bit for what products Adobe can bring to bear on the HTML5 and/or CSS3 use. Adobe missed an opportunity here. Instead of pointing to a relevant discussion in the associated Adobe online documentation, users are linked to a product blurb page. Since two links are devoted to each product, Adobe could have easily provided the very relevant online documentation on one link. For example, I was very curious about hoow Dreamweaver would help support media queries – not just a Dreamweaver product ad page.

In sum, the Expressive Web is a very valuable resource for HTML5 and CSS3 developers. Ye Editor has immediately added it to this site’s HTML5 Browsers page. Currently theExpressive Web provides insights on 12 major HTML5+CSS3 topics. Ye Editor was surprised not to see any discussion of HTML5 Canvas or SVG; on the other hand it was no surprise to see no discussion of HTML5’s Web SQL Database or Working Offline or Multi-touch Gesture features given how badly those topics are mired in HTML5  controversy. In general the value of the Expressive Web is how well W3C resolves some of its key standardization issues. After an era of unprecedented open Web development, the pendulum is swinging back towards protected, patented, and proprietary among the key software vendors as they start to emulate the worst of Washington politics. The Expressive Web is a good antidote to this proprietary streak.

This is vital as Apple has now joined Microsoft in a much more proprietary direction having outlawed not just Flash but also Java and other cross platform development technologies on its iOS platform. The obvious monopoly play is  in the worst spirit of Redmond’s Embrace and Extend proprietary directions. If developers and CIOs thought that integration and cross platform development was stunted for the past 15-20 years of onrushing new IT technology with resultant widespread  disease of silos of information plaguing enterprise development – just wait and see what happens with now that  10-15 major  and growing stubbornly incompatible Cloud+Social Web+Mobile+PC+Server operating  systems have arrived on the IT scene.  The essential problem is that the vaunted “efficiency of business markets ” breaks down badly  in the rush to proprietary monopoly profits. And you thought Babylon had the exclusive Incompatible Babble-speak Problems of Biblical Proportions.

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