If worse is better, does that mean awful is best?

A few more thoughts on Alex's post, which is still reverberating around the blogosphere.
  1. View source was necessary, but not sufficient. Simplicity, in the form of a single level of abstraction, was also necessary. JavaScript, CSS, namespaces, microformats and whatnot add indirection and abstraction, and hence power, but... being confronted with multiple concerns from the get-go is not a good way to learn something new.
  2. HTML5 removes support for some old, old, old tags, and instead requires folks to use CSS for styling their web pages. CSS is undoubtedly the right way to format html. But for Microsoft Word users, maybe 5% of whom know how to use style sheets, will requiring the use of a whole 'nother standard—and a level of indirection—just to italicize or embolden a word be a barrier to entry? Um, yes.
  3. To the casual observer, HTML5 appears to be what we here in our nation's capital like to call a Charlie Foxtrot. Will all the contention and confusion hinder adoption? Um, yes.
  4. There's probably a reason why php is so popular, even if it is incredibly awful. Just like how BASIC, with its GOTOs, was popular.
There is a virtue in directness, and it is a low barrier to entry for newbs. Yes, it leads to awful source. That's why the narrative of every decent beginner's programming book is essentially a gradual increase in the use and understanding of abstraction. When folks have a dozen <font> tags they have to change, that's when you introduce CSS.

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