W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > November 1998

Re: Treat URLs ampersands

From: Harold A. Driscoll <harold@driscoll.chi.il.us>
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 19:43:14 -0600
Message-Id: <199811260148.TAA10360@Kitten.mcs.com>
To: Mark Huebler <mkhueble@daimi.aau.dk>
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
At 14:15 24-11-98 -0500, Mark Huebler wrote:
>Why isn't there an option to treat URLs ampersand 
>at W3C's Validation Service? (As at Webtech's 
>Validation Service - which will be closed down 
>soon.) 

If I understand your question correctly, the suggested option would allow
invalid HTML statements to be reported as valid. My initial reaction is
that to do so would be a ~bad idea~.

Unless I'm missing something, the issue here is one of the misuse of the
ampersand symbol, typically within the HREF and SRC attribute values. Since
there are at least two straightforward workarounds (use proper HTML with
the &amp general entity or to follow the advice in the HTTP specification
by allowing another delimiter besides ampersand within CGI applications)
there does not seem to be much of an issue.

>Is this a fundamental decision or is it just not 
>implemented, yet? (I didn't see it on the To-Do-List.)

To allow broken HTML to pass validation would seem to me to run counter to
the goals of HTML validation. Or am I missing something.

Speaking for myself, /Harold

ps. It is not difficult to contrive an example which trips over the issue.
Consider?

http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?amp=7&volt=120
http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?volt=120&amp=7

Notice what happens if they are expressed incorrectly:

HREF="http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?amp=7&volt=120"
HREF="http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?volt=120&amp=7"

as contrast with their correct usage:

HREF="http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?amp=7&amp;volt=120"
HREF="http://localhost/cgi-bin/electricity.pl?volt=120&amp;amp=7"

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Harold A. Driscoll                       mailto:harold@driscoll.chi.il.us
#include <std/disclaimer>      http://homepage.interaccess.com/~driscoll/
Received on Wednesday, 25 November 1998 20:50:48 GMT

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