Tag Archives: coding

Programming Challenges are With Me Everywhere I Go

image_712016 is shaping up to be a big year in the life cycle of Apoxe.   After letting some competing technologies battle for supremacy its time to re-evaluate the winners, methods, and techniques and vet them against core fundamentals of what Apoxe is so that it can move to the next level.

Taking Apoxe down to the studs so to speak has me excited and anxious to get in there and get geeky.  This reminded me of an article I read a few years ago by Joel Lee that I feel is still relevant and at least for me – reaffirms that I’ve chosen the right profession.  If any aspiring programmers are reading this, I highly recommend you take the time to let the following points sink in.  Its ok, I’ll wait… http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-signs-meant-programmer/

Each point made in his article about why you shouldn’t be a programmer rings true for me on some level.  For example, the first point “You Lack Experimental Creativity” made me chuckle because I can think of a few times that I spent hours coding, only to scrap it later because some revolutionary thought came to me later in the day.  I wasn’t that sad to scrap it, instead I was excited to try a different approach.   Or, You Want Normal Work Hours.   Just this past holiday season I was on the couch programming away ideas for Apoxe while kids were watching TV, and I found it very relaxing. Even in church I may have wondered from the sermon thinking about a lingering problem I wanted to solve.  Programming challenges are with me everywhere I go, and most of the time, I’m OK with that.

As I approach 16 years with TKG, and 20 years (holy crap) since building my first websites –  I feel lucky that challenges that got me hooked on programming and web development have been replaced with new challenges to continue to grow – and that the thought of getting in there to solve them continues to motivate me.

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HTML5 – Navigation: Lists or Listless?

This month I wanted to touch on a very specific topic within HTML5 that is creating a buzz within the community, as well as internally. What might this be you ask? Well, that would be, do navigation links always need to be defined in lists?

Most developers have brought the awesomeness of HTML5 into their lives and have adopted it very well. However, they haven’t bought into the <nav> element fully. I think this is a little bit of an oversight, in most cases they’ll develop site navigation such as:

HTML4 - The old way of writing navigation.

HTML4 – The old way of writing navigation.

or, with HTML5 as:

HTML5 - The current way most developers are writing navigation.

HTML5 – The current way most developers are writing navigation.

Here is an example of how navigation should be treated while using HTML5:

HTML5 - The correct way of writing navigation.

HTML5 – The correct way of writing navigation.

As you can see the latter of the examples is much cleaner and less bloated, what’s not to love?!

There is some friction among developers on which way is the “Correct” way. Once this topic is brought up the argument seems to go every time is semantics then into screen readers. Most developers still argue that lists are needed for semantic reasons or for screen readers to navigate around the page. The facts are that there is no real semantic reason for lists in navigation. If you check the documentation from the W3C on the <nav> element you’ll find this: “A nav element doesn’t have to contain a list“. That line right there I feel knocks out all arguments for the semantics.

The last major argument for lists being used for navigation is screen readers. Through research, none of which is my own, shows that screen readers actually hang-up less with a listless navigation. Lastly, browsers and screen readers understand that everything within a <nav> element is a navigation block and they process the links correctly.

So I ask you, are lists really necessary? Personally, I’ll be developing listless from here on out, both options are semantic and validate based on the W3C but I feel going listless is being more true to those standards. What about you are you going listless?

If you would like to read more about this topic and join in on the fun of the conversation, there is a really great article that dives into this topic a bit more on Chris Coyer’s blog post CSS-TricksNavigation in Lists: To Be or Not To Be.