Re: Conformance ratings (was: Extra! Microsoft beats Netscape in the race for non-conformance!)

Daniel W. Connolly (
Sun, 18 Feb 1996 23:53:28 -0500

Message-Id: <>
To: MegaZone <>
Cc: (Eric Gauthier),,
Subject: Re: Conformance ratings (was: Extra! Microsoft beats Netscape in the race for non-conformance!) 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Mon, 12 Feb 1996 18:26:04 PST."
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 23:53:28 -0500
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <>

In message <>, MegaZone writes:
>>> Having error counts displayed in the search engines should give the authors
>>> incentive to clean up their act.
>I for one wouldn't be swayed by this at all.

I estimate that yours is the majority opinion currently, but (if I
might indulge in the sort of self-fulfilling prophesy that seems to
fuel the web these days :-) the tide is turning. Besides: the folks
who value validation value it a LOT.

>First of all, I've yet to see a validation system stay up to the minute
>with new extensions.

If the extension documentation was accompanied by a DTD, the validation
systems could stay up-to-date trivially.

I hope the market pressures information providers into conformance,
and the vendors into providing sufficient documentation that the
providers have something to conform _to_. This business of the vendors
reverse-engineering each other's features (and bugs!) has GOT to

>And I don't expect anyone to start putting DOCTYPE notes in their pages.
>I'm not going to, it's a pain in the ass to keep that stuff straight.
>And since it shouldn't be necessary for browsers, why should I?  If a
>browser doesn't recognize a tag or attribute, it ignores it.  Why should it
>care about the DOCTYPE?>

I'll grant that the benefit of putting the proper <!doctype ...>
doesn't justify the cost at this point. But it will before long. On
the one hand because authoring tools are getting better, so the cost
is going down, and on the other hand because there _will_ be a value
to it. I don't have the details written up just yet, but expect to see
it soon.

I must say that as a consequence of recent events, I'm more optomistic
about this than ever. A working group of W3C vendors has been meeting
and building significant shared understanding, consensus and momentum.
Stay tuned to for details.

I wish that it were a more open forum -- that I could give you more
details of our discussions, and that the readership of this list could
have more direct input. But having a small group is evidently so much
more efficient. And the ability to keep ideas in confidence makes them
flow more freely, especially in this competitive environment.

>And I'll tell you how I've used it - important warnings are in bold text,
>in 2.0 they are also bright red.

Stylesheets. Stylesheets. Stylesheets.
You have been warned.

I hope this list continues to be a source of technical input and
feedback, and that the flaming and politics stays to a minimum. At the
current state, I _am_ able to participate in this list and represent
the ideas here to the W3C working group. But like everybody, my time
is limited, and I don't care much for flaming.

Let's keep this a sharp technical forum, and the Fear, Uncertainty,
and Doubt to a minimum.

Daniel W. Connolly        "We believe in the interconnectedness of all things"
Research Scientist, MIT/W3C     PGP: EDF8 A8E4 F3BB 0F3C  FD1B 7BE0 716C FF21