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Shared in this post are the top tips for best practices when you’re coding your web pages or web apps.
Top 10 HTML Best Practices
- Always Declare DOCTYPE
One of the first few parameters a browser looks for is the DOCTYPE. It tells the browser the version of the HTML document and it would specify if any other markup language is used. Hence, using the DOCTYPE lets the browser understand how the entire document needs to be interpreted.
If you don’t have DOCTYPE in your HTML code, the browser will function in Quirks Mode. As a result, bugs in older browsers will start to appear. Though the browser will do its best to parse the HTML document, not all elements in your code will be displayed accurately. The launch of HTML5 made everything much simpler.
- Only One H1 Tag for a Page
The H1 tag is used as a logo, instead of a title and this is not uncommon. But, if you are building a single-page application or a blog, you should save the H1 tag for the title.
H1 must be used to describe your page and if you include multiple H1 tags on a single page, the overall search-engine scores will be affected. Thus, the W3C Specification advises developers to use only a single H1 tag per page.
- Images Need the alt Attribute
The alt tag gives alternate text for the image on your page. The alt text will be shown in the image that does not get loaded. If you don’t use the alt tag in your images, search-engine scores will be affected making your page secure a lower rank. Your page will also be less accessible to those with screen readers.
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- Validate Your HTML
Picking up wrongly written code and defects are possible by validating HTML. W3C supplies one of the most widely used HTML validators available on the web to help.
- Use Semantic Elements
HTML semantic elements create web pages with structure. It would be ideal to use semantic elements when you assemble a webpage, instead of organizing everything into <div>s.
6. Always Use Descriptive Meta Tags
Meta tags consist of the descriptive meta-attribute and the keyword meta-attribute. It helps search engines to understand the page content. It also connects searchers with the content they are looking for. Search-engine spiders get meaningful information about the webpage from meta tags.
The descriptive meta-attribute help to summarise the contents and purpose of the webpage.
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- Close All Your Tags
Browsers render pages even when there are syntax errors. These errors—for example, not closing your tags, can make your browser run in Quirks mode. Hence, your content might not render the way you expect.
Unclosed tags are therefore bad coding practices. According to the W3C specification, all tags must be closed.
- Separate IE Fixes
Building a webpage that works on all browsers is important. The trickiest browser to develop is Internet Explorer. If you are having issues with IE, then you need to build modular code with adequate comments.
Mixing IE compatibility fixes with the rest of your code will create trouble. Your code will be harder to maintain and understand.
- Avoid Too Many Comments
HTML is self-explanatory and therefore if you use the right semantic elements and naming conventions, you don’t need to add too many comments. You should revisit your code if you are forced to enter many comments.
- Lowercase Markup and Indentation
In HTML, stick to lowercase characters as we are not dealing with code standardization. The primary focus should be code readability which translates to better maintainability and readability.
Apart from lowercase markup, the code has to be well-indented.
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Top 10 CSS Best Practices
- Avoid Importing Many Stylesheets
The browser starts to paint the page when a response is sent from the server to the browser. It has the DOM to build, but if your code is loaded with many imported CSS files, the overall time required to build the page will be more because the browser builds a CSSOM (CSS Object Model) for the CSS in your HTML page.
The browser will not render the page until the CSSOM of the page is constructed. Hence, the CSS is considered a render-blocking resource.
- Avoid Inline Styles
Avoid the use of inline styles as much as possible. Because though it appears harmless, it is a poor separation of concerns and will be seen as an error in your coding practice.
- Use Inline CSS for Critical Elements
Though inline styles have to be avoided inline CSS is essential. Place the CSS required by the browser to complete the first paint on the top at all times. This indicates to the browser what it needs for rendering the page quickly. So inlining critical CSS helps the browser complete DOM and CSSOM rendering as quickly as possible.
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- Use CSS Preprocessors
For modularising, avoiding repetition, and organizing CSS CSS preprocessors are built with many utilities and tools. Three commonly used CSS preprocessors are LESS, Sass, and Stylus. The best thing about these CSS preprocessors is that a new way of styling is not introduced, but you get basic CSS with more features and more expressive syntax.
- Stick to a CSS Methodology
Choosing the right CSS methodology for your project helps with maintenance and scaling. BEM, ITCSS, and OOCSS are the 3 methodologies recommended.
BEM, also known as Block,
Element, Modifier methodology, represents a standalone entity or component with its meaning.
ITCSS is inverted triangle CSS, where files are organized based on specificities.
OOCSS is Object-Oriented CSS, where you separate the view and the structure.
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Knowing the top tips of web development practices is good, but when trying to incorporate the same by yourself can get difficult.
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