HTML: a new aesthetic
HTML (and XML and XHTML) is an ugly grammar for marking up documents, and for better or worse, it’s the lingua franca of the web. The only argument for a more primary language “of the web” would be JSON, which sadly is much worse than HTML and even uglier, but that’s a story for another time.
The problem with HTML is in part its verbosity — too many angle brackets and closing tags can trip people up and waste time typing. The good news is that there’s a better way: new grammars for writing better-looking HTML with a minimum of angle brackets and unnecessary tags.
As a side benefit, these new pre-processor grammars for HTML like Haml solve the “unclosed” or “crossed-closed” tags problem, where sometimes tags would be closed out of orde,r or not closed at all, tangling the markup and baffling the parser.*
Ruby led the way in pushing for a cleaner, more elegant HTML syntax as the server level, as a pre-processor so developers could write a simple syntax that would compile down to browser-compatible HTML when rendered by the app server. It was called Haml, and it was polarizing, and yet also very good.
* in modern HTML5 markup, this is rarely an issue, but it used to be.