Could HTML6 Be The Death of Javascript?

26 Mar

Page load is considered an important factor when it comes to website bounce and exit rates, as well as user trust, and search engine rankings. The less time it takes for your web pages to load, the better the experience is for the user. This creates a trust between the user and the website and keeps them coming back, or engaging more frequently. So, what can we do to decrease load times even more? There has been a proposal floating around the ‘interwebs’ these last several days that outlines a theory for faster page loads times that has many web gurus intrigued.

Bobby Mozumber is the Editor in Chief at FutureClaw, a culture magazine that features the latest in music, fashion, and art, has come up with a plan of his own. In a proposal to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Mozumber states:

“There’s a standard design pattern emerging via all the front-end javascript frameworks where content is loaded dynamically via JSON APIs. This is the single-page app web design pattern. Everyone’s into it because the responsiveness is so much better than loading a full page – 10-50ms with a clean API load vs. 300-1500ms for a full HTML page load.

Since this is so common now, can we implement this directly in the browsers via HTML so users can dynamically run single-page apps without Javascript?”

A novel idea indeed. Javascript has become the standard for dynamic web page content with JSON and Angular.js. Javascript is used for any number of functions from simply “Back to top” buttons to dynamic page sorting. The possibilities are essentially endless. The issue brought up here is that page load times increase with the consistent use of Javascript. A script must load before the page can be loaded or seen in the browser. While by most speed standards a 4-5 second load time is not all that bad, it can mean the difference between a user sticking around or going to another websites. Of course, some of this depends on a user’s Internet connection, but considering high-speed Internet is more widely available now than ever before it leads many to believe page load is more important now than ever.

Mozumber shows an example of what the code on a web page would look like, you can see the full letter and example here. He goes on to say afterwards:

“Clicking on a link loads JSON/XML data into a new internal data structure. This is separate from the DOM. I have the initial XML fixtures in the HEAD section here, but these fixtures can be in an external link, or implicitly defined by default within the BODY elements that contain references to models. The data structure can be defined implicitly like in this example via XML/JSON fixtures, or perhaps explicitly by SQL statements.

The text sections have H1 and SPAN tags with a new MODEL attribute that defines the content in it based on the loaded data. This format is declarative, but can approach SQL statement complexity. You don’t need to have defined controller/view structures, but I did in this example.”

In his closing line, he begs the question, “What do you think about this? I think something like this could eliminate a lot of Javascript.. These javascript frameworks are all trying to do this, but none of them do it easily and they’re always being redesigned.”

Which brings us back to our initial inquiry. Could a new HTML format kill off the current Javascript model? Well, not likely. At least not anytime soon. It has been noted that W3C is not currently working on any new or extended version of HTML, which some would refer to as HTML6. At this point it’s a theory, a question for us to ponder. Could something like this change the way we think about developing and designing web pages? Will the page load problem be more easily solved than we thought? Only time will tell, but it certainly starts an interesting conversation.