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Re: Balancing the myth-busting.

From: David Dorward <david@dorward.me.uk>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 19:26:52 +0100
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <20050809182652.GA5821@us-lot.org>

On Tue, Aug 09, 2005 at 07:04:24PM +0100, Gez Lemon wrote:

> I disagree. For the markup validator to remain useful, I personally
> think it should do more than just confirm whether or not the markup
> conforms to a DTD. 

Rubbish. Its plenty useful. Most sites have no need to mess about with
the DOM, and carefully written scripts can ensure that the DOM remains
sane (especially when you consider that the scripts are more likely to
be written by a small number of programmers then a large number of
content editors).

> The validator creates a document tree in order to parse the nodes
> and ensure they validate against the appropriate DTD.  If they
> already have a document tree, it would be relatively easy for them
> to apply any changes to the DOM through scripting when a document is
> loaded to their document tree.

It really isn't. Especially once you consider that the scripts which
alter the DOM may take user input - and since you can't
programmatically determine all possible user input (at least not
sanely), you run in to an impossible-to-scale wall.

> Jeffrey Zeldman recently praised Bobby van der Sluis [1] on a new
> way to embed Flash while supporting web standards [2].  I don't wish
> to undermine Bobby's work, as it does more than purely embed a Flash
> movie, but it doesn't support standards;

Using hacks (such as that JavaScript one) to hide details from testing
tools has long been a favoured approach of those who like the sound of
"supporting standards" but don't really understand what that means. It
would be better to educate them then to try to stay ahead of their

> If validation is important, then surely it's important that the DOM
> remains valid, particularly as developers are encouraged to separate
> structure, presentation, and behaviour. I'm not taking an
> authoritative stance on this issue; it's just that I believe the
> markup validator needs updating to remain useful.

No, users of it need to understand what it does and what the results
actually mean. 

> Reflecting changes made to the DOM when a document is loaded isn't
> unachievable, and would make a useful too that much more useful.

Well, it is an open source project, you could contribute a patch if
you like. I suggest discussing it on the www-validator mailing list
first though; implementing a JavaScript engine into opensp is likely
to be a fairly complicated task.

David Dorward                                      http://dorward.me.uk
Received on Tuesday, 9 August 2005 18:27:00 UTC

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