Re: Processing instructions for style tweaks?

lee@sq.com
Sun, 4 Dec 1994 00:58:33 -0500


Date: 	Sun, 4 Dec 1994 00:58:33 -0500
From: lee@sq.com
Message-Id: <9412040558.AA22633@sqrex.sq.com>
To: patrick@voyager.gate.net, www-html@www0.cern.ch
Subject: Re: Processing instructions for style tweaks?

>  >   that furthermore, browsers become
>  >   strict in their parsing of HTML document instances [...]

Glenn Adams suggested:
>> In keeping with a fundamental tenet of the Internet [...]
>> the WWW should be "conservative in transmitting, and liberal in receiving."
>> According to this view, the HTTP servers should be the component which
>> ensures that only valid HTML is transmitted.

Validating in the browser need not imply rejecting invalid documents,
although I think that's what the original poster (whose name got lost, sorry)
was thinking of...  for example, Arena displays `BAD HTML (2)' in red at the
top of the window.  I presume that means there are 2 errors, although I don't
know how to see what they are :-(  But even so, this is a big leap forward.

Patrick Stickler:
> The problem with putting the burden of validation on the server is that
> authors will continue to create invalid documents unaware that there
> are errors in their work. This is because authors use browsers to
> "check" what they write [...]

I agree.  That's why we released a validating editor, HoTMetaL.
What this taught us includes:
* most users don't care about SGML, HTML, valid or whatever.
  They `just want it to look good'.

* until the HTML 2.0 RFC has settled down and got a nice cosy number,
  and even afterwards I expect, people will argue about what is HTML.
  Whether <P> is a container.  Whether you can put a list (<LI>) in
  a <HEAD> (really!).  And so on.

* we need to work on making HoTMetaL accept invalid documents, and make it
  at least as good as HoTMetaL PRO is now.

The last point is for completeness.... but also because just as a browser
that rejects invalid files is bad, so is an editor that rejects invalid files.

HOWEVER: imagine a server that requires that you `import' a file to its
`database' before it will deliver it.  There's an ideal opportunity both
for indexing the text and for validating.  That way, you're doing it once,
not once per transaction, and you're helping keep garbage off the web.

In order to make this acceptable, users probably have to be using programs
like HoTMetaL that generate valid files, not HTML Assist that lets you
delete the > in an <A...> (for example) and does no inclusion checking.
(I don't mean that HTML Assistant is worse or better than any of the
other non-SGML non-validating editors; it's better than most).

Then browsers could reasonably flag errors in documents...
Although, this doesn't help documents on ftp servers so much...

Lee

-- 
Liam Quin, SoftQuad Inc +1 416 239 4801 lee@sq.com   <URL:http://www.sq.com/>
HexSweeper NeWS game;OPEN LOOK+XView+mf-fonts FAQs;lq-text unix text retrieval
SoftQuad HoTMetaL/HTML Editor; SoftQuad Panorama/WWW SGML Viewer (unreleased)
See our Web page for HoTMetaL ftp sites...  Take off those shoes and relax.