W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > May 1997

Re: Final words, I think, on error handling

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 10:15:47 -0400
Message-ID: <33708E93.C90D8253@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
Gavin Nicol wrote:
> 
> >Well-formedness is such a small step on the way to a useful document
> >that it isn't of particular *value* to anyone: so why all the fuss? How
> >many applications that will be able to read a well-formed XML document
> >and do something useful with it?
> 
> A great number I expect. Browsers, certainly, do not *need* a valid
> document in order to produce something meaningful.

I'm sorry I wasn't clear. Browsers do not just need a well-formed 
XML document. They need a well-formed XML document with a stylesheet 
in a known location that is syntactically correct and *semantically 
correct* (actually applies reasonable styles to the elements so that 
the document can be read). They need valid hyperlinks to valid targets 
and pretty soon they may need some kind of valid SGML catalog. There 
is still so much room for a document author to screw up that 
well-formedness is a very minor step down the path. The idea that
well-formedness-or-die will create a "culture of quality" on the Web
is totally bogus. People will become extremely anal about their
well-formedness and transfer their laziness to some other part of the
system.

If we want to create a culture of quality on the Internet we must do
so by including LOTS of validation in browsers and editors, at all
levels, not by inconveniencing legitimate users at one level while
ignoring all of the other levels.

 Paul Prescod
Received on Wednesday, 7 May 1997 10:21:56 UTC

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