W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > May 2004

Re: Misleading header on validator.w3.org

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 08:19:22 +0300 (EEST)
To: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0405170810240.20653@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Sun, 16 May 2004, Ian Hickson wrote:

> How about:
>    Welcome to the W3C Markup Validation Service; a free service that
>    checks documents like HTML and XHTML for correct syntax.

Even that isn't correct.

For example, <a href="foo\bar">zap</a> is not correct syntax - it violates
URL syntax. Yet it isn't reported by a validator. People do get confused
when they expect a validator to check "the correct syntax".

Similarly, <td width="500px"> is incorrect syntax, even according to the
syntax explicitly described (as opposite to being normatively referred to,
as URL syntax is) in HTML specifications. It just doesn't violate the part
of syntax that is described (or describable) in DTDs.

Or take <a><a></a></a>, which is syntactically incorrect both in old HTML
and in XHTML, yet a reportable markup error in the former only.

There are two options: either you tell what a validator really does
(thereby unavoidably confusing people who lack the necessary prerequisites
for understanding that), or you try to "advertize" it by saying something
that isn't true.

An honest description would be:

The W3C Markup Validation Service is a free online service that can be
used to check SGML and XML documents (including HTML and XHTML documents)
against a Document Type Definition (DTD). This helps to detect a wide
range of syntax errors in documents.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 17 May 2004 01:32:26 UTC

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