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Suggestions about validator output.

From: Stephane Gourichon <gouri@free.fr>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 15:04:04 +0200
To: www-validator@w3.org
Message-Id: <200405091504.04345.gouri@free.fr>

Dear list members,

Congratulations for the improvements in the appearance of the validator.

Reading this test :

The lack of quotes around a "80%" gives two errors : #257 and #82

The explanation for message #82 that appears second in this test is (IMHO, but 
I don't know if it fits all occurences) suitable for error #257 (which 
currently has no message).

Maybe shorter, simpler messages, like :

To be safe, you should always write <tag attribute="value"> and never <tag 

would be much more appreciated than technical (hence very precise but less 
accessible) terms, like "an attribute value must be a literal unless it 
contains only name characters". 

With the proposed version, new users would learn, without effort, the 
technical words "tag" "attribute" "value", making the validator, HTML 
technology, and other explanations, more familiar, suitable and appreciated 
to a larger audience (this is badly needed, considering the quality of many 

Here are other suggestions (targeted towards casual or new users, I confess) : 

-make "verbose" the default, or more reasonably, let it disabled by default 
but put a *very visible* link *just before the first error* like :

"Cryptic error message ? Rerun with verbose output."

rather than the shy "Verbose output will give you explanations in addition to 
the error messages." that doesn't stand out enough.

-and/or maybe a small link like "more explanations" at the right of each 
error, that turns on verbose output

-Other idea : a summary page that would count occurences of each error and 
show each message only once, with the number of occurences. E.g.:

The tested pages shows 42 occurences of "an attribute value specification must 
be an attribute value literal unless SHORTTAG YES is specified". Here is a 
tip :

To be safe, you should always write <tag attribute="value"> and never <tag 

The summary page may be the default when many errors appear many times, 
because the current version of the validator often suggest to newbies that 
having a valid page is a difficult job while actually they often have to know 
two or three rules to dramatically reduce the number of error in their pages. 

The improvement would be a progress, because newbies would have the (deserved) 
feeling that the validator helped them : understand simple rules, correct 
quickly a lot of common errors they made and won't do any more, appreciate 
the validator, come back, talk about it to their friends, and donate $1000 to 
each author (well, maybe not ;-).

Only my two cents, I hope it helps... thanks for the validator !

[Please Cc me in your replies.]

Stéphane Gourichon - Labo. d'Informatique de Paris 6 - AnimatLab
http://animatlab.lip6.fr/ - philo du dimanche http://amphi-gouri.org/

« La meilleure façon de prédire l'avenir, c'est de le créer » Peter Drucker
Received on Sunday, 9 May 2004 09:15:21 UTC

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