4.0 to 4.01 Transition Issues

From: Christian Smith (csmith@barebones.com)
Date: Mon, Feb 14 2000


Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 18:11:50 -0500 (EST)
From: Christian Smith <csmith@barebones.com>
To: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <auto-000000247895@barebones.com>
Subject: 4.0 to 4.01 Transition Issues

Problem: The W3 Validator validates a 4.0 Transitional document against
the 4.0 Transitional DTD but then provides a reference pointing to the
4.01 DTD.

Exp: <http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://www.barebones.com/>

Extracted from the HTML generated by this page:

> <li>Document type: 
>   <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/">
>       HTML 4.
>   </a>
>   Transitional
> </li>

This is not so much a W3 Validator problem as a W3 problem in that
apparently W3 has decided to not only remove the 4.0 DTDs that were at

* <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd>
* <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/frameset.dtd>
* <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/strict.dtd>

but to actually replace the DTDs that were at this location with the new
4.01 DTDs. This is bad. There are now tools out there that generate HTML
4.0 Transitional documents with a DOCTYPE of

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"
            "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">
            
But now we have a 4.0 Transitional document with a DOCTYPE that points to
a DTD that is for 4.01 Transitional.

Why is this a problem? Take for example the recent thread on here
regarding the NAME attribute in the IMG tag. Somebody writes a document
against 4.0 Transitional and then runs it thru the W3 Validator. They
erroniously use a NAME attribute in an IMG tag and the W3 Validator
complains about this. So far so good. Now the user sees the link to the
4.0 Specification and follows it. They don't realize that they've been
sent to the 4.01 specification instead, they see that NAME is valid in
IMG. Now they are confused and angry.

Worse yet, the person writes a 4.0 Transitional document and then uses a
validator tool that reads the DOCTYPE, downloads the relevent DTD and
checks the file against the DTD. Here the document passes because the DTD
that is downloaded is -not- the 4.0 DTD but the 4.01 DTD. Arrrgghhhh!

Obviously I'm a bit tee'd off by all this.

Who can address/fix this problem?

The 4.0 DTDs need to be maintained at the old links.
The 4.01 DTDs need to be maintained at the new links.

What am I missing?

-- 
Christian Smith  |  csmith@barebones.com  |  http://web.barebones.com

He who dies with the most friends... Is still dead!