The Angle Bracket was a tournament of HTML tags, conducted via 57 Twitter polls in 7 rounds, conducted over a week. Apart from the final, each round consisted of games of 4 tags (because Twitter polls can only have 4 options) in which the first and second place finishers made it to the next round.
In a proper bracket competition everybody is seeded evenly across the competition by how likely they are to win, and you can draw a cute little tree structure as players are eliminated. Unfortunately I didn't think of this in advance, and also I had no idea which tags would or wouldn't be popular, so every round I randomized the winners of the previous round into new games. So you can't draw a tree. I'm sorry. Next time.
Scroll down to read the story of the tournament as it unfolded. You can click or tap any game to see the exact scores.
This was the wild west round; every tag from the HTML 5 spec (uhhhh except
caption because I accidentally left it out).
Less chaotic than round 1, less brutal than round 3, round 2 was a temporary calm before the storm.
In round 2 it was sad to see some tags go, but round 3 was where things got truly brutal.
The tags that survived to round 4 showed some clear trends:
table having no child elements, you'd be hard pressed to mark up any kind of document.
nav is the last tag standing
label the last to go
style, another warning sign for CSS as we continue to strip features from the language.
form lost their games in round 3, but to make it an even 4 tags per round they got promoted to round 4 on the basis of being the highest-scored of the losing tags.
Also clear by this point was the groundswell of fan support for
marquee, with dozens of people drawing attention to the tournament specifically to vote for it.
The version of HTML presented by round 5 reveals some uncomfortable truths about ourselves as developers. We threw out accessibility, semantic markup, discoverability, even style sheets. The remaining tags can build a web app -- you've still got
canvas, so quite a fancy web app -- sure, but at what cost? And why the fuck is
marquee still here?
Throwing away half of these tags is going to be a nightmare.
This version of HTML is a nightmare. To do anything vaguely useful you have to resort to horrible hacks, and of course, because web developers are who we are, that's what people started doing at this point in the competition:
It all came down to a choice, emblamatic of the times we live in.
In one corner, the a tag. The H in HTML and HTTP, the basis of web 1.0, the thing that makes the web a web. A semantic tag of unmatched simplicity, purity and power, it says "the words in this tag are related to this URL". That relationship is the web.
In the other corner, marquee, a useless remnant of the browser wars of the 90s, propelled to the final round through a combination of nostalgia for a simpler time and simply for the lulz.
Would reality win over memes? It was a very 2021 question.
And that was it. After 57 polls, 7 rounds, and over 76,000 votes cast, we had our champion. To my enormous relief,
a was our victor. It's just not a web without it.
Thanks to everyone who voted, this competition was enormous fun.