HTML 2022: 20 Additional Observations from Analyzing the Web Almanac Data
You saw the release of the HTTP Archive’s 2022 Web Almanac? Yes, it’s live—with enough chapters to make me inform Frontend Dogma readers about a large number of articles coming up. (If you’re a developer and don’t know the Web Almanac yet—you’ll probably like it!)
This year, I had again the pleasure to analyze and document the data for HTML, in the Web Almanac’s Markup chapter. So while I’d feel honored if you like to check out that chapter, let me honor you by sharing 20 things that I didn’t get to call out in it.
20 More Observations from 30 Sheets of Data
The no-doctype regression: The chapter mentions it in passing, but the 2.5% → 2.7% regression of more pages not using a doctype (mobile; 2.7% → 3.0% on desktop) is another worrying indicator of a decaying craft. It’s a small and perhaps temporary dent, but the trend is negative.
Bring out the elements trash: Get yourself a nice cup of specialty coffee and scan the list of elements in use. (Pause.) Let’s please always validate our sites’ HTML output. Doing so contributes to a higher-quality Web and a greater career (and a shorter Web Almanac elements list).
Mind the “embed” elements:
paramare still alive.
Pornhub uses custom elements: The HTML analysis included a sheet about “top pages with custom elements.” Pornhub is one of them, though only using one nineteenth of what mercari uses (2 vs. 38).
Someone uses 108 custom elements—and 7 other (desktop) pages use more than 100 custom elements, too. I suppose these don’t have to be 100+ unique elements, but didn’t dig into that.
65.7% of pages contain a form: Rick called that out in the data, but I didn’t get to review and discuss forms in the Markup chapter. The number seems big to me, though likely related to the data set still relying largely on homepages. How does the number look to you?
There are almost as many verbose instances of defining a submit button as there are concise ones: On 41% of pages we find
buttons with no type specified, on 32% we find
buttons of type “submit.” But
buttons without a type are submit buttons, too—i.e.,
The median form contains 4
inputelements; the 10th and 25th percentile contain 2, the 75th percentile 7, and the 90th percentile 14
We’re dealing with too much metadata cruft. 107 different metadata directives, each one added with the idea it was relevant, even important? We’re adding metadata too easily. (Update Your HTML IV—coming out in November—will have a chapter about “metadata madness.”)
It’s great to see strong use of
data-*attributes allow to embed “custom non-visible data,” and websites are making ample use of them. The reason blossoming use of
data-*is so much better than blooming use of
metaelements is that
data-*use is usually driven by site owner and developer needs (which they typically know), while
metaelements are typically dictated by third parties (who know their own needs, too—but which may or may not fit those of site owners and their developers).
7.3% of “mobile pages” and 11.53% of “desktop pages” set no viewport information: Unsurprising (this information is more useful on mobile) and fascinating (no regard or awareness for mobile on some sites, at all?) at the same time.
PNG is the most popular favicon format, and it’s becoming more popular: 2021, 35.3% of favicons were PNGs; 2022, it’s 37.7%. (On 10,035 pages in the mobile set, it’s spelled “pnj.”) But SVG is on the rise, too: 2021, 0.4%; 2022, 1%.
There are too many
tel:(0.5%), more useful schemes, are far less popular.
However, going by what you can find per page,
tel:(26.6%) are more popular than
mailto:reference, on 1 of 4 a
tel:one, and on 1 of 5 a
viber:—on about 1 of 200 pages.
This is it! This is what I found combing through the data once more. Did I make a mistake? Did I miss something else that’s worth highlighting (I’m sure I did)? Have you shared your own highlights? Respond to the tweet for this post, and let’s start adding life to the #htmlalmanac tag. And yes!—if you’re into minimal, quality HTML, maybe you’ll enjoy my HTML book series.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead—currently manager for Developer Experience at LivePerson—and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
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