My Comment On “The Modernizr Inadequacy”

I’ve reposted this here because Tim’s site requires comments to be manually moderated, apparently, without that being made clear to you when you leave a comment. For context, you’ll have to read the article first.

I’ll recap my responses from Twitter here, to keep the discussion straightforward:

1: discouraging the use of a product (that the community at large has voted as the best open-source tool of 2010, even) because it has outdated marketing is unhelpful. Yes, our examples on the site are poor examples; they are from the first days of Modernizr, when I still had to explain to people what they could do with it at all. Fortunately, a new site is around the corner with much better documentation and examples.

2: I take it that your defiance against any reliance on JavaScript whatsoever also means you’ll not be building any sites using clean markup with HTML5 elements, then? Because you’ll have to rely on JavaScript to make that kind of elegance work in IE for many years to come. Moreover, increasing amounts of CSS3 go hand-in-hand with JavaScript for a useful implementation. We can only do so much with Transitions and Animations in just the .css files alone.

3: Modernizr really is fundamentally about decoupling. I just don’t believe in the kind of hyper-aggressive defiance against any kind of JavaScript-dependency at all. It’s fine if you want to do that: you can go a long way with it, sure. But you won’t be doing anything awe-inspiring with HTML5 without entering into JavaScript dependencies, and as said above, even awesome CSS3 stuff is starting to rely on JavaScript in a supporting role. And for the people who want to do stuff like that, Modernizr can be of tremendous help in managing the complexities and overcoming the challenges of also having to support browsers that don’t yet support everything.

In essence, if you want the entire design of your site to work without JS, all the better. Some of us are fine with providing a basic-looking site that is still completely accessible and functional when JavaScript is disabled (or failed or whatever), and enhance not just functionality but also design by use of JS. If that’s an affront to you, well, that’s your right, but that doesn’t make the tool not valuable for those who do want to do that.

And personally, I think you’re clinging to an era that’s behind us, at the cost of moving the world faster into the era ahead of us. Again, that’s your right, but I’ll respectfully disagree that that’s a good thing.