Make Long Lasting Websites
Posted on 2014-07-08
After creating websites for nearly fifteen years, I've seen some great ideas that have been incorporated into the web, and some terrible ideas that have flown by with a resonating "whoosh" sound and skidded to a halt in a cloud of irrelevancy.
Maybe I'm just getting old, but... really? Are we going to go down this path again?
I, for one, am not interested in fads. I build solid, reliable websites that will still work in ten years. You should too. I'll even show you how it's done.
Once and a while, go on a retro-roadtrip; open up an old browser. Check out your sites. Can you still get basic functionality out of old tech? Is your site comprehensible using a text-mode browser like elinks?
It may sound crazy, but with Google Glass and wearable computing, we may not be using screens for much longer. Try running your website through a screen reader, and see if things are still usable without the visuals provided by CSS. This gets into accessibility territory, and there's a very good reason for that.
Do Not Depend On The Whole Stack
If your site renders as HTML, either via server-side processes or static site generators, then your content will probably be available to whoever wants to view it. HTML is extremely forgiving; broken or misunderstood HTML will generally not make your page unusable.
CSS is ignored when it is not understood. As long as you are careful to avoid conditions where a site is unusable without it (ie: white text over a linear gradient background, which would be white-on-white if the gradient fails), you can get away with an awful lot of CSS not working.
Serve up your content with HTML, statically or via a server-side technology. **HTML was created specifically for this purpose! Use it! **