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Re: Approved TAG finding: Authoritative Metadata

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 00:14:28 +0000 (UTC)
To: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Cc: W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>, "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0608120004150.5340@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Fri, 11 Aug 2006, Paul Prescod wrote:
> 
> Ian, surely this idea has arisen in your many discussions with browser 
> vendors. What is their opposition to having a strict 
> standards-compliance warning mode?

Some browsers do do this. JavaScript errors, CSS errors, and some 
Content-Type mislabelling errors are reported in Mozilla's error console, 
for instance. It doesn't have much effect.

I did a short study recently checking only for _syntax_ errors in HTML 
documents, and the results were that of the 667416 files tested, 626575 
had syntax errors. Over 93%. That's only syntax errors in the HTML, not 
checking the CSS, the content types, the semantic errors (e.g. duplicate 
IDs -- 86461 of those files had duplicated IDs), or any other errors. If 
you included those kinds of errors, you'd probably find that almost all 
pages had errors that would trigger this warning. Thus any sort of visible 
UI would be basically always saying "this page is broken". That would not 
be good UI for the majority of users, who don't care.

If we truly want to make authors have better tools for making their 
content more compliant, a start would be having the W3C invest more 
genuinely in its validators. The W3C HTML Validator is one of the user 
agents that ignores the Content-Type header when it comes to HTML vs 
XHTML; filed as bug 1500 about a year ago, still unfixed. Bjoern recently 
posted a detailed message listing the problems with the W3C validators and 
the team(s) behind it, in fact.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 12 August 2006 00:14:45 GMT

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