My name is Val. I’m doing the HTML beginner course on FCC.
There are things like <article> vs <section> or <i> vs <em> comparisons. Or what about main instead of the <div> soup? I tried to read the Mozilla Docs and couldn’t find solid examples and explanations.
Should I as a Junior Web Developer understand those intricacies? Is the structured and well-rounded HTML code with semantic tags is a prerequisite for Web Devs in 2023?
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Seeing as HTML is the basic building blocks of the web, yes, you should be well familiar with what it offers and how to use it. This is especially important for proper accessibility. The trick is to know when it matters and when it doesn’t. For example, <i> vs. <em> is really a meaningless distinction. It’s almost the same thing for <section> vs. <article> except that a <section> can be turned into a landmark when it is given an accessible name, and there are some screen readers that will allow you to navigate by article. But the difference between <main> and <div> is huge. The <main> element is a landmark and vital for people who use screen readers. That’s why all of your main content should always be wrapped with a <main> element and there should only be one <main> element on the page.
Now do I expect you to know all of this as a beginner? No. But if you want to be a decent professional web developer then you will eventually need to know this stuff. So don’t overlook the importance of HTML. Take it as seriously as you would CSS or JS. You will be a better, and more employable developer if you do.
Thank you. It’s just that I know a person who owns a website. It’s written in PHP, maybe that’s why, but the person says that the accessibility and meaningful tags don’t matter that much, you can use header and footer, but other blocks on the page can be just divs.
And this person has around 1.1M views in a month on a website. And like I see many other old websites that go through visual redesign, sometimes become less complicated, but still use lots of divs and feel alright in terms of the views they generate (news websites).
So, are websites that follow all the guidelines of HTML5 and use common sense are better off in the long run? Does the Google parser really care about the div soup if a website gets loaded quickly, is mobile-first, and doesn’t have visual issues?