When I started as a developer, the term front-end developer was almost nonexistent. Let me pull up my old man socks while I regale you with stories of a simple time in web development when Node.js wasn’t even in the womb yet, and Microsoft was not the open-source friendly company they are today.
It used to be a badge of honour to have a W3C validation badge on your website. Developers used to spend ridiculous amounts of time getting their sites compliant with XHTML/HTML as per the spec. I am talking about alt tags, proper semantic use of HTML elements, putting widths on images, everything.
But is it just me, or are developers more concerned about front-end libraries and tooling? Have developers become more obsessed over their bundle sizes than they have writing spec-compliant HTML? Thanks to React and other options, is it just way too easy to write non-spec compliant HTML because everything is abstracted and jumbled up now?
The answer is yes.
It turns out the W3C validator still exists here. I would shudder to think what it would come back with for a lot of popular sites. Take Reddit, for example; 210 items came back. I am sure some of this is picky stuff, maybe related to third-party scripts, but the point is nobody seems to care about things like this anymore.
Most of those things us old timer web developers used to fret over were accessibility things, not standards as in browser features. Not all disabilities are equal. Some people are colour blind. Some are blind, others limited movement of their limbs. Not everyone visiting your site is using a keyboard and mouse or the latest tablet/phone.
And look, I would be a hypocrite if I told you that I always think about accessibility and standards. I bet this site isn’t even accessible (although I did modify an existing theme). I am not finger-pointing here, more raising a question: what happened to web development? At what point did we lose sight of what was important and start caring more about hype.js libraries and tooling?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to yell at some kids to get off my lawn while I wave a newspaper around (do you remember newspapers?).