On Progressive Enhancement

Coding Zen

“Good HTML,
like Haiku, will only say
what needs to be said.”

As a software engineer, I prefer to keep things as simple as possible, and then add depth as the user’s hardware will allow. Utilizing clean, simple, semantic HTML, I employ CSS and JavaScript to add functionality to my pages. This ensures that users will always receive the relevant content regardless of web technology, and that those users with modern browsers will have a dynamic, engaging experience.

Like many developers, I cut my teeth writing for IE6. But unlike many others, I continue to keep in mind the challenges of writing for IE6 and this pushes me to test my pages across multiple browsers and multiple operating systems to ensure that all users will have a comparable experience. The key to cross-browser success is simplicity. Simple code, employing progressive enhancement, levels the playing field for all users.

There is another advantage to clean, simple, semantic code. The same code can be reused in any number of contexts with completely different appearances and functionality depending on what is required in a given environment. I ensure that my server-side code which generates the  XML-compliant markup can easily translate the content into other formats such as RSS, SOAP, and JSON.

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