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Re: Re[2]: Compliance and html validation - how to interpret?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 17:01:07 -0400 (EDT)
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0204271652280.31538-100000@tux.w3.org>
Please add a grain of salt and a reality-filter to what I write, too. (I
forget to ask people to do that explicitly).

Herewith a bunch of personal opinion:

You are working at a University - the highest standard of education in the
country. So you should teach students not only what they need to know about
what works today in their next mc-job as web-designers (you should probably
teach that too), but also what the web is supposed to be about, and what
the real standards aim to achieve, and how the technology is in fact

You should teach students and staff that the web is under development, that
there are some well-established basic principles, and some things that are
still getting finished off or worked out, and the software required is among
those things. That the important feature of the Web is that it is a flexible
communication mechanism, and not TV (a friend of mine working in electronic
media said the scariest thing about the web is that people think it is like
TV) nor a print medium.

The people in the hardest position are going to be the University staff - not
all of them have the benefit of a University education, or the luxury of time
to reflect about what they are putting on the Web. (I have been a University
Webmaster in Australia, and know something about what it means). These are
the people to whom you need to provide good sound tools for everything you
ask them to do - templates that explain how they can be used, that are
flexible enough for the needs staff have, testing and verification tools, and
repair tools that can help them solve problems which are identified.

just my 2c worth. (I know what happened to 2c pieces in Australia too. sigh.)



On Sat, 27 Apr 2002, Al Gilman wrote:

  On the reflection of yet another moment, here is a slightly different way
  to look at your situation.  I may want you to apply a fresh grain of salt
  to this assumption.

  The governing aphorism is "make your demands very simple, and very consistently enforced."

  Will your DTD, with the presentational attributes added back in, be
  something that the students have easy access to vaidation-to-that-DTD
  after they emerge from the training?

  You are working on a deployment strategy.  The hard challenge facing your
  training programme is not anything that happens in class or in the lab.
  It is what happens the first time your trainees try to apply what they
  think they have learned back out in the real world.

  What checking support will your trainees have when they emerge from the

  You should not pump them up with a rosier picture than what they will
  face in this moment of acid test.  Coach them assiduously on only those
  practices that they can apply in their real-world situation, and that
  will work if they follow them there.

  So, fine.  Go for it.  Use an HTML flavor that works for the population
  of down-level browsers that actually matter in your university today.
  But ONLY IF that HTML flavor is checked by a validator that it is very
  easy for your trainees to apply in their daily life back at work, in life
  after training.

  IF you have the validation support for your graduates, THEN pursue the
  tack I suggested earlier with a modest AA formal claim on the training
  materials site and submit the question of "If we publish this DTD and our
  content is validated to it, does that meet AAA or why not?" to WCAG group
  for an interpretation.

  This whole flame is too specific in detail to entirely fit your
  situation, but this is the kind of thinking you shold be going through.
  Think what services your trainees will have available to them after the
  training.  Hone your training for what will work for them when they try
  to tranfer lessons from class to practice.  Then your rabid alumni will
  soak up the advanced techniques on their affinity group water cooler.
  Don't try to do it all in one whack.  Prepare them for success and they
  will be life-long learners.


  >I also want to ensure that the site will look ok in browsers that
  >do not support or only partially support CSS2. For this reason I have still
  >used lay out tables. The original site I developed using only CSS2 for
  >positioning looked great in later browsers but of course is not really very
  >aesthetic in broken browsers such as NS4 (I need to accommodate all browsers
  >particularly NS 4 as this is still commonly used by many staff).
  >I  have checked the site using Bobby, the accessibility extension checker in
  >Dreamweaver and A-prompt and apart from user manual checks (with which I think
  >the site complies) everything verifies at triple-A level. However, I am not
  >sure how to interpret the issue for compliance level 2 regarding "3.3 Use style
  >sheets to control layout and presentation". Does this mean that if I have
  >chosen to support lower end browsers and have used layout tables that the site
  >is not triple-A compliant (ie I have not used CSS2 for positioning)? I have
  >used CSS for all styles it's only layout that is the issue here.
  >Secondly, with regard to HTML validation - the site reports validation errors
  >(using W3C html validator) with regard to attributes that are no longer
  >supported in HTML 4 (ie align, bkcolour, border and hspace). These are required
  >(unless you can advise me how to get around this) if the site is to look OK in
  >browsers that don't recognize my style sheet. Is there any way of getting the
  >site to validate as HTML 4.0 strict or transitional and still provide
  >formatting for browsers that ignore the style sheet? I am also curious because
  >I have seen several sites that use attributes such as border that are
  >displaying the W3C html 4 validation logo. How can they use the logo if the
  >page still includes deprecated language?
  >The style sheet verifies fine using the W3C style sheet validator and the pages
  >look good in IE 5 and NS 4 and function fine in Lynx and with a voice browser.
  >It's just the problem of how to technically claim triple-A compliance or html 4
  >validation if one wants to still cater for any browser.
  >Any advice will be very gratefully received.

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Saturday, 27 April 2002 17:01:08 UTC

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