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Elements vs. attributes: the battle continues

I'm generally appalled by people who think processing elements is hard. I'm also weirdly amused to see that people most of us trust to get things right seem so clueless.

The outcome of the meeting was that <picture> isn’t a viable option. Browser makers don’t like the fact that it’s a new element that does the same as <img> (or what <img> should do if we were speccing it today), and that it depends on multiple nested children. I’d based this on the HTML5 <video> and <source> pattern, but Ian Hickson already said “we learnt with <video> and <source> that having multiple elements for selecting a resource is a huge design pitfall”.


[srcSet attribute]

A representative of Apple called src-N‘s use of multiple attribute “a grotesque perversion of the HTML language“, which implies they’re not eager to implement it. (We’ll ignore the irony that the company which gave us a meta tag in HTML to control presentation is accusing others of perverting HTML).


My broad take is that browser vendors went badly overboard in optimizing performance by pre-fetching resources from anything that looked like a URL. Their premature pre-fetching optimization is likely to give us all stupidly awful markup as a result.

As the HTML5doctor concludes:

"Our doctors’ report: must try harder."

Simon St.Laurent

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