A few days ago, I commented on Twitter about trying to get HTML5 into my b2evo installation without hacking the core - it's running 5.2.2 currently - https://twitter.com/Chris_Perry_61/status/598151922017763328
I must admit, I wasn't anticipating getting a challenge back - https://twitter.com/b2evolution/status/598291788282068992 - I suppose I asked for that.
Perhaps a little background though first. My blog, such as it is, was first installed as v2.4.5 back in September 2005 as best as I'm able to make out. Since then, it's been occasionally upgraded, but never with any concern for keeping bang up to date, as new versions have been released. The only consistent thing about the blog has been me sticking with the same Vastitude skin with a changed header image. It served the purpose, but has always had a few issues that I've never quite bottomed out. It's worth stating at this point that I'm in no way a developer/designer, though I've always taken an interest, just not to the point where I've really learned things ground up.
At the start of this year though, I finally found a couple of Treehouse publications I found myself able to stick through; one on HTML5, another on CSS3. With that I finally got myself around to wanting to re-build my skin into something more modern and less brown than the old one. It's been an interesting exercise, though on the whole successful. The only thing that has been holding me back from actually putting it out there, was seeing some of the HTML that was being generated, not by the skin, but by the widgets and plugins I was using. To tackle those would have meant getting well outside the skin, and my comfort zone, to get at the source of the problem. To give you an idea, everything seemed to be generating its own H1 tag - I had 17 of them on a page at one point, so not exactly 'web standards'. Hence my Tweet.
I've never run a beta version before, never mind an alpha, but a recent idea to fire up a Hyper-V VM, and to drop the Ubuntu 14:10 server LTS onto it gave me an opportunity to play with the 6.4.0-alpha, and then 6.4.1-alpha. What a surprise that was...
I've not tried using a framework previously, so Bootstrap comes new to me and I'm feeling my way a little. That said, things do look good. By default, b2evo now uses HTML5 tags such as header, article, section, footer, nav and so on. As a default install with only the sample content, there's only a single H1 per page in evidence. Things are fully responsive, with @media queries kicking in below a 640px viewport width. This all looks good so far, though I quickly recognised that my efforts at creating a new skin are now largely redundant, as I need to start again in Bootstrap to get the kind of presentation style I'm looking for.
So it looks pretty good so far. There are only a couple of things that could be looked at from my perspective:
- Not every meta tag can be accessed from within the back office - for example, I can't add a X-UA-Compatible meta tag to ensure that pages display at the 'edge' option within IE. It may be that this isn't essential, but from within the Settings | Advanced options, that particular meta tag isn't allowable without modifying the HTML tags b2evo will accept.
- Within a new post, the WYSIWYG editor still allows the author to add in H1 tags without limit - whilst I don't know the detail, my understanding is that Google takes a dim view of this when its algorithm gets to work
- Out of curiosity. I thought I'd try it from my old XP Netbook with IE8 on it - it wasn't pretty, not surprisingly. It does make me wonder about backward compatibility options for this version of b2evo. For me it's not a concern, but some existing b2evo users may not be able to migrate because of it.
Overall, though, I can't wait for the stable release to get itself out there.