Nooshu.com now with added HTML5 goodness

So I finally pulled my finger out and took the HTML5 plunge over the past day or so; the Nooshu WordPress theme now has a sprinkling of HTML5. Mmmm I have that warm fuzzy feeling of completeness! In all honesty it’s been an easy way to learn about the new HTML5 specifications (although they aren’t complete and won’t become a W3C recommendation until 2022… no that isn’t a typo!).

HTML5 has added a host of new tags which have much more semantic meaning. So instead of using ‘divs’ to section off areas of your page layout, you can now use:

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<!-- Some of the new HTML5 Tags -->
<header></header>
<footer></footer>
<article></article>
<section></section>
<nav></nav>

It’s certainly a welcome addition to the modern web. My favourite part of HTML5 has to be the doctype (other than the canvas element):

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<!-- No more -->
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">

<!-- Much better! -->
<!DOCTYPE html>

Look how simple it is! No more copy / paste from a previous project for this doctype.

My main concern when converting the theme to HTML5 was how it would work in IE; as IE8 supports parts of HTML5 but IE6 and IE7 not at all. When IE comes across a tag it doesn’t recognise it just ignores it. Since the tags aren’t recognised you won’t be able to style your lovely new HTML5 template in IE6 & IE7. Lucky you can patch this missing functionality using JavaScript. Remy Sharp has created a script called html5shim, that adds the missing tags to IE. Just add the following code to your header and you will now be able to style your HTML5 tags:

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<!--[if lt IE 9]>
    <script src="http://html5shim.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js"></script>
<![endif]-->

The script must be in the header and must fire before the DOM is created. The script simply creates all the new HTML5 elements using the document method ‘createElement’, you don’t even need to attach the created elements to the DOM! Now IE will recognise the tags and you can get on with your page styling. Yay!

Those who use WordPress 3.0 may have noticed that the default Kubric theme is no more and it’s been replaced with a new theme called twenty ten. The theme uses the HTML5 doctype but it doesn’t use any of the new tags. I guess because of the IE issues. Maybe this will be changed in future releases.

The Nooshu theme is still a work in progress, and I’ll modify areas as I learn more about the new HTML5 features. Here are a selection of links that I found incredibly useful while working on the theme:

  • Dive into HTML5: Read through this article and you will be well on your way to learning HTML5. It delves into the history of HTML and progresses forward right up to implementing the new specifications.
  • HTML5 Doctor: Looking for HTML5 related news or need some clarification of a new tag? Look no further than HTML5 Doctor. Lots of articles available for you to read and there’s even the option to ask a question if you don’t find the answers you are looking for.
  • HTML 5 Outliner: So you’ve created your shiny new HTML5 template; why not check it with the outliner to see if it makes sense to a user / search engine.
  • W3C Markup Validator: It’s been a while since I’ve used a validator since I have one built into Firefox, but the W3C validator was very handy for pointing out attributes and tags that are no longer supported in the specifications. It also gives you a quick benchmark to aim at.

If you have any other useful HTML5 tips and links let me know below.

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