W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2011

Re: Objection to generator decision (Re: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-31 / ISSUE-80 validation survey)

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 05:00:50 +0200
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <20110425050050744855.6b4609eb@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Maciej, 

Here follows more info to support the reopening of the generator 
exception. With regard to your own remark about the high quality of 
Apple pages/products when it comes to accessibility, [*] you are 
perhaps interested in the notes about Apple products. Trivia: The Home 
page of the Sites folder in Mac OS X is made with Adobe GoLive - so 
says the generator string.

[*] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Apr/0537


== Table of Contents: ==

 - Generator exception is a rebirth of the WYSIGWYG editor exception
   [which was earlier acknowledged to be a form of versioning]
 - Notable 'generators' which do not insert generator string
   * iPhoto by Apple
   * Thunderbird by Mozilla
 - Qualitative research of tools inserting the generator string
   [Not quantitative - just a look into some tools.]
   * Tool 1: Freeway by Softpress
   * Tool 2: SubEthaEdit by Codingmonkeys
   * Tool 3: Amaya by W3C
   * Tool 4: HTML Tidy (originally) by HTML4's editor
   * Tool 5: BlueGriffon by Disruptive Innovations,
   * Tool 6: HyperMail (runs web version of public-html)
   * Tool 7: iWeb by Apple

== Generator exception is a rebirth of the WYSIGWYG editor exception ==

   * HTML5 up until the W3C Working draft of 22 January 2008 had a 
general "WYSIWYG exception". [dr1][dr2]
   * The WYSIWYG exception permitted the use of <font> and the @style 
attribute. It did not include any generator exception for the img 
element.
   * The WYSIWYG exception was a generator string with a special 
format. Thus there wasn't a plain hijacking of *all* currently used 
generator strings. The format included the string "(WYSIWYG editor)": 
<meta name="generator" content="Sample Editor 1.0 (WYSIWYG editor)">. 
   * One of the issues which lead to the WYSIWYG exception's removal 
was the acknowledgement that it represented a form of versioning. In 
Karl's words: [dr3] "It is interesting to see that here a form of 
versioning is coming back by  the backdoor."
   * Note as well that Ian described the WYSIWYG exception as a quality 
mark: [dr3] "We still need a better solution for handling the two tiers 
of document quality". With the new generator exception, despite that it 
is only limited to images, we get the same two tier variant of HTML5.

[dr1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-html5-20080122/#wysiwyg

[dr2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-html5-diff-20080122/

[dr3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Aug/0290


== Notable "generators" which do not insert generator string ==

Tool 1: 
   * iPhoto by Apple. [ap1]
   * The current version, when exporting as web gallery on your 
computer, does not include any generator string.
   * The thumbnail pages contains thumbnail images inside anchor 
elements where the @alt is the empty string = worst of the worst.
   * The single photo pages is creates uses the (original) file name 
(except the file suffix) as alt text.

[ap1] http://www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto/


Tool 2: 
   * Thunderbird by Mozilla
   * When inserting an image, it prompts for alt text if you forget to 
insert it. 

[th1] http://www.mozilla.org/projects/thunderbird/



== Qualitative research of tools inserting the generator string ==

Hereby follows some qualitative (rather than quantitative) 
documentation of some existing tools using the generator string. 


Tool 1: Freeway, 
    * a graphical web authoring tool from Softpress [that I know from 
some years of use], available in Express variant and Pro variant. [sp1] 
    * Softpress has documented why and how they use the generator 
string:  a) they use it for debugging purposes and b) they make it a 
requirement that sites submitted to their site/template gallery 
contains it. [sp2] 
    * Softpress also uses the wording "HTML generator" as a name that 
classifies the product they make: [sp3] "Freeway has been designed as 
an HTML generator rather than an HTML editor."  It claims that "This 
means that the code is clean and standards compliant all the time."
	* The 2011 version of the Freeway Pro string can be seen in the source 
code of their front page: [sp1] <meta name="generator" content="Freeway 
5 Pro 5.5.4"/>
	* Freeway supports standards - view source of their front page: <meta 
name="description" content="Create standards-compliant websites with … 
Freeway 5 Pro and Freeway 5 Express … always validates …"/>
	* Some ways Freeway products helps authors provide @alt text:
      a) Authors can edit graphics directly, and product the places the 
text content of the graphical inside the @alt. E.g. a graphical text 
button that was created inside Freeway itself, with 'Home' as the text 
of the image, will get a corresponding @alt text which also says 'Home'.
      b) Freeway 5 Pro can import images from iPhoto, and the import 
dialog has an 'Alt Text:' field.

[sp1] http://www.softpress.com

[sp2] http://www.softpress.com/kb/questions/47/

[sp3] http://www.softpress.com/kb/questions/87/



Tool 2: 
   * SubEthaEdit, text editor from Codingmonkeys [cm1].
   * Can save source code as HTML, which inserts the following meta:
       <meta content="SubEthaEdit - 
             http://www.codingmonkeys.de/subethaedit/"
             name="generator" />
   * SubEthaEdit is a collaborative editor and each source code it 
saves as HTML includes a HTML table which lists those who participated 
in the editing of the document. Each participant is identified with a 
portrait/avatar image with the user's name in the alt text. Here is how 
each participant is presented:
    <tr>
    <th><img src="Leif.png" alt="Leif"/></th>
    <td class="ContributorName Leif">Leif</td>
    <td>aim: <a href="aim:goim screenname=*@mac.com">*@mac.com</a>
    <br/>email: <a href="mailto:l@example.org">l@example.org</a></td>
    </tr>

[cm1] http://www.codingmonkeys.de/subethaedit/



Tool 3:
   * Amaya, W3C's editor/browser for the Web. [w31]
   * A New document command in Amaya inserts this string: <meta 
name="generator" content="Amaya, see http://www.w3.org/Amaya/">
   * W3C's Amaya partner uses the string in their pages. [w32]
   * When inserting an image, the insert dialog refuses to close unless 
the author adds a alt text.

[w31] http://www.w3.org/Amaya/

[w32] http://wam.inrialpes.fr/



Tool 4:
   * HTML Tidy (originally) by HTML4's editor [dr1]
   * A run with an online version, without touching any of the options, 
inserts the following string:  <meta name="generator" content=
  "HTML Tidy for Linux/x86 (vers 11 February 2007), see www.w3.org" />
   * HTML Tidy has options for accessibility checking.

[dr1] http://tidy.sourceforge.net/

[dr2] http://infohound.net/tidy/


Tool 5:
   * BlueGriffon, [di1] by Disruptive Innovations [di2]
   * BlueGriffon supports HTML5.
   * Following a "page wizard", the following string is inserted: <meta 
content="BlueGriffon wysiwyg editor" name="generator">. (It seems not 
to be inserted with a New document command.)
   * When inserting an image, one gets a dialog window. Having selected 
an image to insert, the cursor immediately jumps to the @alt text 
insertion field. To insert a empty @alt, one must tick off for the 
option "Allow an empty alternate text". 

[di1] http://bluegriffon.org/index.php

[di2] http://www.disruptive-innovations.com/


Tool 6: 
   * HyperMail + W3 patch
   * Runs the online archives of W3 mailinglists.
   * Example of e-mail with an image attachment: [hy2]
     <img src="att-0040/dwproperties.gif" alt="dwproperties.gif" />
     Clearly: the name is taken from the file name. So, a "Cool URIs" 
inspired choice of file name could have improved the @alt text. It is 
hard to see that omitting @alt would have been an improvement.
   * The generator string: <meta name="generator" content="hypermail 
2.2.0 + W3C-0.50 patch, see http://www.hypermail-project.org/ and 
http://www.w3.org/2004/12/hypermail-w3c-patch/" />

[hy1] http://www.w3.org/2004/12/hypermail-w3c-patch/

[hy2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2011Apr/0040.html


Tool 7:
  * iWeb by Apple [iW1]
  * Judging from an online database of iWeb created pages [iW2], it 
inserts a string like this one:  <meta name="Generator" content="iWeb 
3.0.2" />
  * Test of a iWeb created page: 
    - The very online database itself - which carries the iWeb 
generator string as well, provides a stylish computer keyboard 
imitation by which one can click to select Web sites according to their 
alphabetical listing.
    - Despite being used as links, the @alt text on each and every 
thumbnail of that "keyboard" contains the empty string. 
    - Thus e.g. VoiceOver must repair for lack of link text, as it also 
would have needed to do had the @alt simply been dropped. As a result, 
VoiceOver reads - for example - the links to to the A category and the 
B category as "Link: a.html. Link: b.html." instead of - for example - 
a "Link: a. Link: b." 
    - Evaluation: HTML5 says that images that act as link text MUST 
have a non-empty @alt. The pages of that site is created by iWeb. The 
page for the category A is called simply <title>A</title>. Thus, iWeb 
ought to be able to pick a better link text than the empty string. 
Removing the pressure on Apple to do this better by having an exception 
due to the generator string, does not seem productive.

[iW1] http://www.apple.com/ilife/iweb/

[iW2] http://iwebusersites.com/Home.html


Leif H Silli

Laura Carlson, Tue, 19 Apr 2011 12:43:44 -0500:
> On 4/19/11, Leif Halvard Silli:
>> Maciej, and the other chairs,
> 
>>>> Was this list derived from the output
>>>> of actual authoring tools? Was it found by looking at real Web
>>>> content? In the absence of information about where this list came
>>>> from, it was taken to have no evidentiary value.
>> 
>> The list is much longer than the one Laura provided: Wordpress,
>> MediaWiki, Drupal, DocBook, TextPattern. TextMate, the famous Mac text
>> editor, is also able to save code as HTML - thus it generates, does it
>> therefore need an exception? TextMate also has various WYSWIWYG (like)
>> extension(s). SubEthaEdit can also save page as HTML. Other text
>> editors probably have similar features. Have these tools asked for
>> lower bars? Can't they speak for themselves if they need them? Does
>> JDiff, which also inserts generator string, need an exception?
>> 
>> The irony, considering the lowered validation bar: <meta
>> name="generator" content="HTML tidy">
>> 
>> All the above info has been found with http://code.Google.com and by
>> looking at the home pages of the different packaged and through
>> knowledge of the tools. It is simple to find more.
> 
> I used too used Google and also checked some local apps.
> 
> Best Regards,
> Laura
> 
> -- 
> Laura L. Carlson
> 
Received on Monday, 25 April 2011 03:01:22 UTC

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