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Deprecated elements

From: HTML5 First Look

Video: Deprecated elements

If there is one thing that we've learned from working drafts, it's that nothing is certain. At first it looked as though no elements from HTML 4 would be deprecated. Something that caused a bit of a stir based on some of the rarely used legacy tags, such as the font tag, that have long ago seen their functionality be replaced by CSS. Using the font tag, for example, is a bad practice, so the argument was, why let it continue? As usual, it's never that simple. One of the reasons that HTML5 won out over XHTML 2 is that it's designed to be backwards compatible.

Deprecated elements

If there is one thing that we've learned from working drafts, it's that nothing is certain. At first it looked as though no elements from HTML 4 would be deprecated. Something that caused a bit of a stir based on some of the rarely used legacy tags, such as the font tag, that have long ago seen their functionality be replaced by CSS. Using the font tag, for example, is a bad practice, so the argument was, why let it continue? As usual, it's never that simple. One of the reasons that HTML5 won out over XHTML 2 is that it's designed to be backwards compatible.

XHTML 2.0 sought to enforced well-written code by using very harsh error handling. If a page returned an error based on syntax, the user agent was to stop parsing the page altogether. The problem with this is that early versions of HTML didn't quantify error handling at all. As such, it was common for user agents to tolerate badly written code and still render the page. So for years, web designers, developers, and applications were able to get away with writing very poor HTML.

Of course, I'm not talking about you. Just all those other guys. By suddenly requiring user agents to enforce these strict error-handling rules, millions of older web pages would suddenly stop working. So that leaves us with a bit of a catch 22. HTML5 is written so that no document type definition is given. It's just to be rendered as an HTML file. Because of this, if browsers still have to know what the font tag is and render it properly for older pages, what's to stop somebody from using it? Well, in short, nothing.

To address this quandary, HTML5 addresses its specifications to two audiences: authors and user agents. The specification clearly states that certain elements are not to be used, deprecated if you will, while instructing user agents to still support them for legacy files. Problem solved? Well, we'll see. In the meantime, here are the tags that are to be deprecated in HTML5 and that should not be used to author HTML5 content. The basefont, big, center, font, s, strike, tt, and u, or underline tags, have all been removed due to their presentational nature.

Chances are that you're currently performing all of these tasks through CSS, so you'll probably never notice their absence. However, if you're still underlining code with the u element, it is time to stop. Another set of tags removed due to accessibility and usability concerns. The frame, frameset, and noframes elements have been removed, hopefully driving a stake into the heart of frame-based layouts everywhere. The acronym, applet, isindex, and directory elements have also been removed.

This was due to very low usage of the tags, or in the case of the directory and applet, other tags that best handle their functionality. Now for the most part, you probably won't miss most of these elements. A more noticeable change is the removal of several tag attributes for various reasons. Here are a few of the more notable ones. The rev and character set attributes have been removed from the link and a tags. The image tag sees the long description and name attributes removed. Version has been removed from html tag.

And in one of the most contentious removals, the abbreviation attribute has been removed from the table header element and the scope attribute removed from the table data element. Presentational attributes have been stripped away as well. Some of the highlights include the align attribute being stripped from all block level elements. The background attribute from the body tag, the hspace and the vspace attributes on the image tag, and the type attribute from lists. Tables have really seen a great deal of change in regard to stripped attributes.

The background color attributes has been stripped from the table, table data, table row, table header and body tags. The border, cell spacing and cell padding attributes from the table tag itself, and the height and width attribute has been removed from the table data and table header tags. Also, the vertical align attribute has been removed from table elements as well. Keep in mind that HTML5 is a working draft. Many of these changes are still under debate and it remains to be seen if they will remain deprecated or if other current elements and attributes will join them.

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This video is part of

Image for HTML5 First Look
HTML5 First Look

50 video lessons · 74605 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 50s
    3. Who is this course for?
      1m 5s
  2. 21m 12s
    1. Exploring prior standards
      4m 26s
    2. Why do we need HTML5?
      3m 32s
    3. HTML5 timeline
      4m 24s
    4. Current HTML5 support
      4m 25s
    5. What HTML5 is (and what it isn't)
      4m 25s
  3. 27m 49s
    1. HTML5 vs. HTML4
      3m 25s
    2. New structural tags
      6m 1s
    3. New content tags
      4m 7s
    4. New application-focused tags
      5m 32s
    5. Deprecated elements
      4m 28s
    6. API overview
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 29s
    1. Content models
      5m 33s
    2. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 21s
    3. The role of ‹div› tags
      4m 20s
    4. Using ID and class attributes
      2m 6s
    5. DOCTYPE declarations
      4m 16s
    6. Character encoding
      2m 53s
  5. 41m 27s
    1. Basic page structure
      3m 40s
    2. Structuring top-level elements
      7m 30s
    3. Structuring interior content
      8m 42s
    4. Building headers
      9m 11s
    5. Checking document outlines
      5m 46s
    6. Ensuring cross-browser structure
      6m 38s
  6. 27m 53s
    1. New input types
      5m 57s
    2. Setting form autofocus
      2m 53s
    3. Using placeholder data
      4m 4s
    4. Marking required fields
      3m 24s
    5. Working with number inputs
      5m 49s
    6. Using date pickers
      5m 46s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Canvas overview
      6m 21s
    2. Adding canvas content
      8m 58s
    3. Drawing in the canvas environment
      12m 9s
    4. Drag-and-drop API overview
      6m 18s
    5. Offline applications overview
      7m 11s
    6. Video overview
      5m 45s
    7. Encoding video
      8m 23s
    8. Adding video
      5m 58s
  8. 57m 33s
    1. Geolocation API overview
      5m 50s
    2. Web storage API overview
      5m 40s
    3. WebSockets overview
      4m 16s
    4. CSS3 overview
      6m 38s
    5. Enhancing typography with CSS3
      7m 42s
    6. Using @font-face
      7m 11s
    7. Styling HTML5 with CSS3
      10m 23s
    8. Using CSS3 transitions
      9m 53s
  9. 5m 6s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 49s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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