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Re: Beta Validator usability suggestion

From: Lars Holst <lholst@robotics.lu.se>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 15:26:29 +0200
To: <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-ID: <HAEBILFEMDCHAJHJBPAIIEGGCHAA.lholst@robotics.lu.se>


Jeffrey has already explained the manpower situation at W3C
(http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0603b.shtml#w3needsyou). With this in mind, I
think the W3C validator team is doing  a great job. As a happy amateur that
hand codes all his xthml and css, I can say without a doubt that the
validator services have benefited my work in several ways, most importantly
by saving me precious debugging time.

This is not to say there isn't room for improvements of the kind Jeffrey
suggests. I too have stared in disbelief at some of the error messages
thrown at me, and even given up on at least one occasion (the
"org.xml.sax.SAXException: Please, fix your system identifier (URI) in the
DOCTYPE rule" is one of my favorites :).

I would therefore like to suggest the following "intermediary" approach,
which shouldn't add too much to the current workload:

Seeing as there is already a number of well-written and highly informative
Websites dealing with the very issues that most often lead to validator
errors, why not link to those sites when displaying the error messages?

I'm assuming that it wouldn't be hard to map the validator's error
categories to certain external URIs. So if it's a DOCTYPE issue, link to an
article or tutorial explaining the proper use of the DOCTYPE (e.g.
http://www.alistapart.com/stories/doctype/), if it's a basic XHTML error,
link to a site explaining XTHML in simple language (e.g.
http://www.nypl.org/styleguide/), and so on. Finding the best resources
(with succinct and correct information) might take time, but I'm sure there
are loads of people who'd be willing to share their bookmarks. I know I
would. Plus there would be an added benefit of saving people the time to
hunt down all the good sites.

Overall, I'd like to see the W3C embrace to a greater extent all the
fantastic work that is being done out there in regard to informing and
educating developers on the use of standards instead of doing everything
inhouse.

Thanks,
Lars
Received on Tuesday, 17 June 2003 10:00:19 GMT

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