W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > October 2005

Re: http://validator.w3.org/ who came up with this site?

From: David Dorward <david@dorward.me.uk>
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 18:57:51 +0100
To: Rick Horvath <rick@noodleware.com>
Cc: "www-validator@w3.org" <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1128621471.21480.11.camel@cyberman.dorward.me.uk>

On Thu, 2005-10-06 at 12:49 -0400, Rick Horvath wrote:
> "The fact that some browsers support them (ERRORS IN CODE) is
> completely irrelevant to the concept of validation. "
> So exactly what is the purpose of validation?
To help ensure that a page conforms to a standard. If page authors aim
to write pages that conform to a standard, and browser authors aim to
write browsers that can understand the standard and interpret it without
errors, then the user should be able to read any page with any browser.

Browsers also implement proprietary extensions (although less so these
days then in the 90s) in order to build marketshare, and do their best
to compensate for errors in markup so that badly written pages can still
be rendered. Of course, not all error recovery routines are created
equal, and there are hundreds of different browsers out there, so
depending on such isn't a good idea.

There is also the issue that code which follows a standard is more
maintainable then that which doesn't. 

> I'm a loyal Netscape user. I've been using it since before IE and
> Opera were even thought of. Netscape gives web designers an advantage
> not found elsewhere. In older versions, the source code would BLINK
> whenever an error in the code was found.

There are numerous tools that can do that. When writing XHTML[1] then
emacs nxml-mode is rather nice. There is also the Markup Validator. HTML
Tidy (which has quite a few bugs at present unfortunately, but still
makes for a good first line of defence). Etc.

>  Even today the source code is color coded which is very convenient
> for debugging.

I think I'd find it a struggle to find an editor on my system which
couldn't colour code HTML ;)

>  And if you ever need to grab an entire page with all its images and
> stylesheets, it can be accomplished in a matter of seconds.

Most browsers can do that.

> As far as making a page search engine friendly, I have clients whose
> sites rank very high and contain dozens of 'errors' according the
> validator.

Search engine indexing robots also have error recovery routines, for
much the same reasons as browsers do.

> There are 3 DOCTYPE tags available:

There are rather more, but 3 in HTML 4.01.

>    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
> <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
>    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
> <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN"
>    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/frameset.dtd">
> There really isn't any help available on your site to describe the
> differences. It is obvious that the 3rd one deals with frames, but the
> 1st and 2nd seem identical to me.

The differences are described at the top of each DTD. HTMLified versions
of the DTD can be found in the spec.

For example.

    This is the HTML 4.01 Transitional DTD, which includes
    presentation attributes and elements that W3C expects to phase out
    as support for style sheets matures. Authors should use the Strict
    DTD when possible, but may use the Transitional DTD when support
    for presentation attribute and elements is required.
     -- http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/sgml/loosedtd.html

The indexes of elements and attributes also indicate which can only be found in transitional or frameset.
[1] I do not serve XHTML to clients, I transform it to HTML first.

David Dorward <david@dorward.me.uk>
Received on Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:54:33 UTC

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