W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator-css@w3.org > April 2003

Confusingly formatted error messages

From: Jukka K. Korpela <Jukka.K.Korpela@kolumbus.fi>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 12:11:32 +0300
Message-ID: <000501c30265$db3f0a40$4c546a0a@arenanet.fi>
To: <www-validator-css@w3.org>

First, I'd like to point out that the system of giving feedback on the
"CSS Validator" is suboptimal. Most people who note some small problems
won't take the trouble of reporting them if that would mean subscribing
to a mailing list.

In particular, I noted some relatively small problems, which hardly
require public discussion but would still be worth fixing:

When composing an example of an error message, I tried something simple
and typical:

body { font-size: 12 pt; }

What I get is a correct error message, per se, but confusingly
presented:

Line: 1 Context : body
Invalid number : font-sizeonly 0 can be a length. You must put an unit
after your number : 12 pt

Here "font-size" is a link, which is fine, but it appears as immediately
followed by the word "only". The phasing "only 0 can be a length" is
odd, too. And the word "unit" requires the article "a", not "an".

Well, maybe this _is_ worth public discussion. In addition to those
issues, the message is relatively cryptic as a whole, and this probably
reflects a system of generating such messages. Is "font-size" really a
number? Is "12 pt" mean to indicate the number I wrote, or a suggested
fix? And what's the invalid _number_? The number 12 looks pretty valid
to me!

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 14 April 2003 05:55:33 UTC

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