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Ensuring block-level display

From: HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics

Video: Ensuring block-level display

In most browsers, if the browser comes across an element that it doesn't recognize, it doesn't freeze up or stop rendering the page; it simply renders it as an unknown element and just keeps on going. That's great news for those of us who want to use some of the new HTML5 elements but might be worried about older browsers that don't support them. Of course the downside of this behavior though, is that most browsers treat unknown elements as inline-level elements, which could absolutely wreck your carefully crafted HTML5 layouts.

Ensuring block-level display

In most browsers, if the browser comes across an element that it doesn't recognize, it doesn't freeze up or stop rendering the page; it simply renders it as an unknown element and just keeps on going. That's great news for those of us who want to use some of the new HTML5 elements but might be worried about older browsers that don't support them. Of course the downside of this behavior though, is that most browsers treat unknown elements as inline-level elements, which could absolutely wreck your carefully crafted HTML5 layouts.

So let's take a look at how we can prevent that. So I actually have two files here open. I have the trails.htm and the main.CSS open. You can find the trails page in the 06_02 folder, and you can find the main.CSS in the 06_02_CSS folder. All right. So what we really need to do here is we need to take the HTML5 elements that an older browser might not understand or might not recognize and we need to, through CSS, to go ahead and tell those browsers that we want those elements to behave as block-level elements so that they display properly.

So to do that, I'm going to switch over to the main.CSS file. So depending upon which IDE or which text editor, you are using just make sure you're working on your main.CSS file. And I'm going to scroll down to roughly line 37 or so. So here you'll find a comment in the CSS code that says html5 display rule. I've seen different people write this rule different ways, so what you need to think about is how your page layout is going to look, which HTML5 elements that you're going to use or might be used in the future for this particular site, and how you want those elements to display.

So we're just going to group a lot of these selectors together, and I'm going to try to do this in alphabetical order. That way if a new element is added a little bit later on to the specification, or I want to take one out, it's easy to add and take elements out of this selector a little bit later on. So I'm going to start by doing address. Then I'm just going to type in a comma so I can group all these together. Then I'm going to do article, aside, canvas, details.

Now there's a lot of discussion right now as to whether the details element is even going to be in the HTML5 specification within a year or so, because browsers just simply haven't been implementing it. So even though I don't use the details element on the page, you know I might use it in the future of the site, so I'm going to go ahead and list it here. So this doesn't have to be just a list of the elements that you're using; you can certainly say well you know I might use this element in the future, so I'll go ahead and put it in here. Just being thorough. We're going to do figcaption, figure, footer, header, hgroup, menu, nav, section, and summary.

And all I'm going to do here guys is go into these rule, this long sort of grouped selector rule, and just type in display and set that to block. So obviously here I have to put a little thought into this, you know which of these HTML5 elements that I'm going to be using or might be using in the future, which of these need to display like block. You'll notice that we're not listing every single HTML5 element or new semantic element here; we're just listing the ones that we think should be displayed as block-level elements. So I'm going to go ahead and save the file, and if I were to preview this in my browser right now, we wouldn't see any change.

As a matter of fact, we wouldn't see a visual change in any of the browsers that we've been testing in, because they all support these elements. However, older browsers that weren't around when say the article element was proposed will now format the element properly as a block-level element, even if they don't really understand what it means.

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This video is part of

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HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics

46 video lessons · 35674 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 32s
  2. 18m 41s
    1. A brief overview of HTML5
      3m 57s
    2. What's in the HTML5 specification?
      8m 17s
    3. Why do we need new structural elements?
      6m 27s
  3. 50m 33s
    1. Defining HTML5 documents
      5m 5s
    2. HTML5 syntax
      9m 14s
    3. The header element
      5m 22s
    4. The nav element
      4m 55s
    5. The section element
      4m 51s
    6. The article element
      4m 48s
    7. The aside element
      4m 13s
    8. The footer element
      4m 17s
    9. Content model overview
      7m 48s
  4. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 17s
    2. Creating document sections
      8m 25s
    3. Using headings properly
      9m 1s
    4. Using hgroup to override sectioning
      4m 17s
    5. Properly nesting structure
      7m 17s
    6. Sectioning roots
      3m 11s
  5. 58m 30s
    1. Organizing content
      4m 41s
    2. Planning document structure
      5m 47s
    3. Choosing the right structural element
      4m 43s
    4. Checking document outlines
      5m 27s
    5. Coding initial page structure
      5m 28s
    6. Using class and ID attributes
      5m 31s
    7. Structuring headers
      13m 13s
    8. Building navigation
      7m 1s
    9. Structuring footers
      6m 39s
  6. 1h 27m
    1. Working with figure and figcaption
      7m 12s
    2. Grouping content with asides
      3m 46s
    3. Using divs in HTML5
      5m 0s
    4. Working with lists in HTML5
      7m 10s
    5. The return of bold and italic
      5m 52s
    6. Citing works semantically
      6m 32s
    7. Using the address element
      5m 24s
    8. Using the small element
      4m 24s
    9. Using the mark element
      5m 16s
    10. Working with date and time
      11m 55s
    11. Creating block-level links
      8m 53s
    12. Understanding link relationships
      9m 28s
    13. Defining link relationships
      6m 23s
  7. 17m 22s
    1. Current browser support
      7m 38s
    2. Ensuring block-level display
      4m 3s
    3. Adding support for elements in older browsers
      5m 41s
  8. 3m 46s
    1. Additional Resources
      3m 46s

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