W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > October 1999

Re: What is "validation"?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 09:40:20 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Uriel Wittenberg <uw@urielw.com>
Cc: Terje Bless <link@tss.no>, W3C Validator <www-validator@w3.org>
At 10:08 AM 10/06/1999 -0400, Uriel Wittenberg wrote:
>Correct me if I'm wrong,

Okay; you are wrong.

>but none of the various HTML 4 DTD's requires a
>!DOCTYPE in the document. Ergo, the validator can flunk documents that are
>consistent with an HTML 4 DTD. Ergo, the validator requires more than merely
>adherence to an HTML 4 DTD.

From the HTML 4.0 specification:

  A valid HTML document declares what version of HTML is used in the
  document. The document type declaration names the document type
  definition (DTD) in use for the document (see [ISO8879]).

  HTML 4.0 specifies three DTDs, so authors must include one of the 
  following document type declarations in their documents.


>How much more? It checks for !DOCTYPE; does it enforce anything else as well? I
>don't believe the site documents exactly what the validator is checking for.

I think one of your big problems here is that you are presuming that
validation is defined _by the validator_.  This is not true at all.
Validity of HTML is defined _BY THE HTML SPECIFICATION_.  The validator
is simply a tool used to check for SGML compliance with that 

Note also that SGML-style validation does _not_ necessarily prove that
HTML code is valid according to the spec!  This is discussed within the
HTML specification itself, and if you haven't read that, you can read
it at:



Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                   http://www.kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
Catch the web accessibility meme!                   http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Wednesday, 6 October 1999 12:49:53 UTC

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