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9. WYSIWYG editor (enforcing the signature)

From: Mihai Sucan <mihai.sucan@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Aug 2007 22:38:10 +0300
To: www-html <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.twf55wr5mcpsjgr0b0dp@localhost.localdomain>


I have read the HTML 5 spec section on WYSIWYG editors [1] and I'd like to  
express my concern on requiring the inclusion of "(WYSIWYG editor)" in the  
META NAME="generator" CONTENT attribute value.

Having experience with working on my own WYSIWYG editor, I believe the  
aformentioned requirement is not really applicable. As in, I wouldn't like  
to include the suggested string. Here's a simple reason: my CMS generates  
correct, semantical markup (or tries to do so). The *strict* content of  
the pages is all generated by my WYSIWYG editor, found in the CMS. Having  
the "(WYSIWYG editor)" mention in the "generator" meta-tag does not really  
reflect the reality, when someone looks into the page code, either  
personally, or with a parser. For example, the blog pages are mostly  
generated by the blog engine, and only the article itself is edited with  
the WYSIWYG tool. The user never edits *the entire* page with the WYSIWYG  
editor. The page is not generated by the tool, it's not the result of any  
"silly hacks" in the WYSIWYG world. Obviously, I consider the signature  
appropriate for documents entirely generated by WYSIWYG editors, like NVU,  
Dreamweaver and such.

Another point for not requiring the inclusion of "(WYSIWYG editor)" in the  
meta-tags is: someone will find this "delightful" and just "great" for  
some of his/her parsers, to be able to detect pages generated by editors.  
No means are provided to detect that HTML 5 is used in the document (a  
version attribute, a DOCTYPE which specifically tells the version somehow,  
or whatever), but you provide something which allows parsers to sniff the  
document for "WYSIWYG editors". This is like checking for a "feature", a  
characteristic of the page. Also, this can be used just like the current  
<!DOCTYPE html> to check if the document is "HTML 5" - nobody should  
actually do it, but some will definitely do it. Of course, doing this *is*  
wrong: you cannot rely on the presence of the "(WYSIWYG editor)"  
signature, you cannot rely on the DOCTYPE, you cannot rely on ... anything.

The spec wording even seems ambiguous in the definition of the FONT  
element. Is it allowed on pages without the signature? Is it not? I  
believe it is not allowed because the spec says the FONT element "must not  
be used except by WYSIWYG editors". This causes the following in a  
validator scenario:

1. if the document does not contain the signature, and no FONT, the  
document is valid. (assuming the document is otherwise valid)

2. if the document does not contain the signature, but it does use the  
FONT element: the document is invalid - error found "the page seems to be  
generated by WYSIWYG editor, because it uses the FONT tag. You MUST  
include the (WYSIWYG editor) signature in your meta-tag generator content  
value" (with a better wording than mine :) ).

3. if the document does contain the signature, and no FONT, the document  
is valid.

4. if the document does contain the signature, and it uses the FONT  
element: the document is valid. According to the spec, this is not an  
error -the use of the FONT element is allowed in this case. Maybe the  
validator should warn on the use of the FONT tag ("try to improve the  
semantic of your code"), but that's another story.

I don't "like" the above scenario. Having the document as valid, is ...  
practically... at the "mercy" of the generator meta-tag. I do not consider  
this anywhere close to "appropriate".

I suggest that the editors of the spec remove this requirement, because it  
simply adds another rule to be broken/missused. Thus, the FONT element  
shall be allowed on any page, irrespective of the generator signature.

If this request does not seem convincing, please provide your arguments  
for keeping the spec the same. What are the use cases? Any examples where  
this signature is needed today? Which (types of) UA would need the  

Thank you.

[1] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#wysiwyg

Received on Thursday, 2 August 2007 19:38:18 UTC

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