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

Re: What is "validation"?

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 08 Oct 1999 21:34:49 -0700
Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19991008213449.007c5e70@mail.idyllmtn.com>
To: Uriel Wittenberg <uw@urielw.com>
Cc: Terje Bless <link@tss.no>, W3C Validator <www-validator@w3.org>
At 11:47 PM 10/08/1999 -0400, Uriel Wittenberg wrote:
>Well, sorry, but the above statements are contradictory.

They aren't, because it's something necessary for SGML validation.
The validator checks for SGML "accuracy" (for want of a fluffier
term).  An SGML document is "accurate" if it matches a DTD, so you
need to identify the DTD in order tell if it's "accurate".

>I'm sorry if some people are terribly exasperated by this. But this is a
>validator mail list, after all. It's fair to ask what the validator does. It's
>been asserted that the validator merely checks adherence to the DTD. It does
>more. It evidently verifies 2 distinct conditions:

Rewrite the 4th sentence to say "the validator merely checks 
adherence to _a_ DTD" and you've got it.  I think the use of a
generic article was understood by implication, but email communication
is not always the clearest when you rely on implied understanding.
You then wrote:

> It evidently verifies 2 distinct conditions:
>- presence of !DOCTYPE
>- adherence to the DTD referenced by the !DOCTYPE

And that's mostly accurate.

>And ... nothing else. Right?

Pretty much.  You could check the source if you like.

>Of course, it would be perfectly feasible to have a specific "validator" for
>any given DTD to obviate the necessity of !DOCTYPE.

That wouldn't be an SGML validator, then, it would be an HTML syntax
checker, and those do exist out there.  If you need pointers we can
supply them.

>But I'm not suggesting
>this. The more the validator can do to verify adherence to the entire
>recommendation (not just the DTD) the better.

That would be a design consideration factor -- the KGV (upon
which the W3C validator is based) was designed to be a tool that
does SGML validation of web pages.  What you ask for isn't in the
design spec for this particular tool, but may indeed be useful.

Weblint (which can optionally be run at the same time as the 
validator) is an example of something else that can be done to
check for adherence to the recommendation.  CAST's Bobby service
(http://www.cast.org/bobby/) is another one.  iCab (a browser
for Mac) has better 4.0 checking than the Validator built into
it, in the form of the smiley/frownie face button.

--
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 Saturday, 9 October 1999 00:51:33 GMT

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