Camen Design

c share + remix

“Minimalist” Is Not the Right Word

Sam Ruby is moving to clean HTML (no DIVs, no classes &c.).
He describes this as Minimalist Markup.

Unfortunately, I have to find fault with this term. Just because some code is not full of needless bloat, does it then make it minimalist? No, it is simply as is it should be.

Just because my website is not full of ads, side bars, widgets and crap, it is not therefore minimalist.
Exactly everything is here as it was designed to be.

The same goes with the source code. Just because there are no class attributes, it does not make the code minimal. It still renders exactly as it would render had I used CSS classes.

I’m sorry if people are so used to terrible website design that they consider a website that doesn’t have this bloat as minimalist. That’s faulty perspective.minsds


Whilst it’s obviously fantastic that he is moving toward sane HTML, I don’t see it as anything particularly special. This is how all websites should have been from the beginning. It’s only because of the terrible habits bred into us developers by IE4 and Netscape that it’s taken so long to get back into shape with standards again.

The class attribute is not evil, nor wrong. It doesn’t need to be avoided, it just needs to be used only when it is appropriate, and not as a catch-all for the failings of some browsers. The class attribute is simply a way to say that an element will have changed semantics from how it has been seen before. For example, a blockquote with and without a class attribute are semantically different; the latter blockquote is of a different class.

In my own website, it’d be perfectly correct (even more correct than it is now), to use a class on my <article> elements, since the semantics of each article are different due to different internal content (blog | tweet | photo &c.)

I decided to go totally without classes to show that it could be done and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that this would fit within my three guiding principles of design.


Sam, I’m in your debt. If there’s anything I can help with this new design of yours, I’m at your disposal.


Kind Regards,