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Re: ISSUE-140 CPP no conformance versions

From: Lars Gunther <gunther@keryx.se>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2011 09:51:44 +0100
Message-ID: <4D4FB2A0.4050104@keryx.se>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
2011-02-07 07:15, Smylers skrev:
> Lars Gunther writes:
>
>> Another thing to consider: Getting an all green from the validator is
>> a boost of morale for young students. Simple, but I've seen it again
>> and again. Whenever I encounter a situation in the CSS validator where
>> there is a bug and the green is unavailable for the wrong reasons,
>> there may be an intellectual acceptance of the fact, but it does not
>> work as a pat on the back with the same force as getting a real
>> "green" does.
>
> Situations like this are a really good example of when authors can
> benefit by conformance not having versions.
>
> If the bug you mention is actually in the spec (rather than in a
> particular implementation of a validator) then issuing a new edition of
> the spec can fix things -- thereby suddenly making the document valid.
> But that requires the new edition of the spec to apply to the document.

But it's still a moving target and while learning this stuff from the 
beginning it's an impossible burden that students should keep track of 
spec revisions. Better that the next time they validate they see that a 
new revision is available as a validator option.

That will in fact have a very beneficial effect, since the spec update 
is now *clear* and visible, it may trigger the student to look into the 
matter. But having "silent updates" - except for small bug fixes - will 
just be confusing.

> Changes in conformance can occur for many reasons, including:
>
> * A new feature being added.
> * Something which authors were doing anyway being recognized as safe, so
>    now sanctioned.
> * Spec bugs being corrected, changing what is allowed to reflect what
>    the intention always ways.
> * Something which has been found to cause problems not being allowed.
>

Agreed, but that is why I'd like to see versions...

> In a situation where an author was doing X unaware that this causes
> problems and X happens to validate and then a new edition of the HTML
> standard is issued which prohibits X, it is irritating for the author
> that her document has suddenly become invalid. But there are plenty of
> examples where the opposite will occur: a document will become valid.
> (And even in this case, it is to the author's benefit to learn what the
> problems with X are.)

The learning benefit is still there with versions. Of course as new 
versions appear that would be the default validator option, but a good 
teacher may also use this as a talking point.

In fact, calling the validator without a flag may very well go to the 
latest and greatest version. Now a previously validating document might 
suddenly not pass any longer, but the added info about a new version 
being released will clearly explain why that has happened and students 
can do comparisons. Clearly beneficial for learning.

However, right now the conformance checker we all use is basically the 
product of one man's job - correct me if I'm wrong - and I have no clue 
what extra burden it would be for developers of such tools to support 
versions.


-- 
Lars Gunther
http://keryx.se/
http://twitter.com/itpastorn/
http://itpastorn.blogspot.com/
Received on Monday, 7 February 2011 08:52:32 GMT

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