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RE: Shaming compaines into improving their HTML

From: Peter Foti (PeterF) <PeterF@SystolicNetworks.com>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 17:24:29 -0400
Message-ID: <A10A983C9DFBD4119F0300104B2EA6B7085C82@ZIPPY>
To: "'www-validator@w3.org'" <www-validator@w3.org>
Thanasis,
 
You wrote:
[TK] A lot of (poorly designed) sites used JavaScript which didn't
declare variables, and Opera would refuse to execute the script.  If I
needed the information the site provided, I was forced to use a
different browser.  That hurt Opera, and now its JavaScript engine
silently executes such flawed code, and I don't need to change browsers
for those sites.
 
Note that Javascript does NOT require variables to be declared,
therefore sites that don't declare them should not automatically be
labeled as "poorly designed".  If it were up to me, you would be
required to declare variables in Javascript (like you would in, say,
C++).  But given that it's not a requirement, it seems to me that any
version of Opera that would not execute scripts that didn't declare
variables is flawed.
 
Getting back to the topic, suppose all of the user agents released
versions that required strict coding.  That is, they would not properly
display invalid HTML.  At first, many developers would not like it (just
as many American's would not like it if the measurement system they were
accustomed to was suddenly replaced with one they were not accustomed
to).  But eventually, it would lead to better coding practices and
developers would adapt to the changes (just as American's would adapt to
the metric system if they were forced to change).  The benefits would
outweigh the costs and most everyone would be happy (eventually).
 
Unfortunately, the thing that most people don't consider is that there
are a lot of "stupid" people out there, when it comes to web design. 
It's not bad enough that people who just want to have their own personal
home page use poor practices, but then considering that most
professionals use poor practices too, it would be a nightmare for a lot
of people if browsers became more strict today.  Eventually, we will get
there.  XHTML is a good start.  Once the next generation of web
developers graduate and get jobs, hopefully the ratio of poorly designed
sites to well formed/designed sites will start to decline.
 
Until then, I think the best thing that we can hope for is for
developers to improve their practices, user agents to become more
standards compliant, and end users to gain a better awareness of what a
poorly designed web site means for them (as users of the User Agents).
-Pete
 

-----Original Message-----
From: www-validator-request@w3.org
[mailto:www-validator-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Thanasis Kinias
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2001 4:38 PM
To: 'Bjoern Hoehrmann'; Kynn Bartlett
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
Subject: RE: Shaming compaines into improving their HTML



Kynn Bartlett wrote: 

[KB] BTW, I don't agree with the common assumption that it would be a 
[KB] -good thing- if user agents started breaking horribly (e.g. like 
[KB] an XML parser encountering unwell-formed markup).  In fact, I think

[KB] this would be a very bad thing. 

To which Björn Höhrmann replied: 

[BH] Why? 

Because the market would reject such software.  I use Opera, and I like
the fact that 
it is more standards-compliant than any other browser I've seen. 
However, when it is unable to render a page
_from_which_I_need_information_, I must use a different browser.

Opera's JavaScript engine used to be pedantic about demanding the
declaration of variables.  A lot of (poorly designed) sites used
JavaScript which didn't declare variables, and Opera would refuse to
execute the script.  If I needed the information the site provided, I
was forced to use a different browser.  That hurt Opera, and now its
JavaScript engine silently executes such flawed code, and I don't need
to change browsers for those sites.

As an analogy, I happen to think that imperial measurement is ridiculous
in the 21st century, and that the U.S. should follow the rest of the
world in adopting metric.  However, if I want to drive on U.S. highways,
I have to understand miles -- even if they're non-standard.  I could
just leave the States and stick to driving in countries that follow
international standards, but the U.S. has content I want access to. 
Just like the N.Y. Times Web site has content I want access to (news),
even though it's (IMNSHO) a hideously designed site that uses _really_
ugly (and wildly invalid) code.

-- 

Thanasis Kinias 
Information Dissemination Team, Information Technology 
Arizona State University 
Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A. 

Qui nos rodunt confundantur 
et cum iustis non scribantur. 
Received on Thursday, 24 May 2001 17:20:22 GMT

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