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Re: [VE][108] Error Message Feedback: suggest style="list-type: upper-alpha" in place of type="A"

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 23:08:41 +0300 (EEST)
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.63.0510252247210.27388@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Tue, 25 Oct 2005, Dan Connolly wrote:

> Error [108]: "there is no attribute X"

We have discussed this particular error message to some extent.
It has often confused novices, since it seems to complain about the
absence of an attribute when there definitely _is_ attribute "X".
I think there have been proposals to improve the wording without
changing the logic of the validator. Would some new suggestions and
arguments be needed to have this fixed? (Admittedly, the explanation
makes the situation clearer than the error message. But an explanation
should explain, not correct, and the explanations are in tiny text,
legalese-size.)

(Out of my hat, even "attribute 'X' not allowed here" would be better.)

> in particular, "there is no attribute type" on ol.

On the practical side, the problem is that the document declares
a Strict DTD but uses Transitional features. In fact, this is the
first thing that the error message explanation suggests.

> But it could usefully be much more specific, suggesting I change
>  <ol type="A">
> to
>  <ol style="list-type: upper-alpha">
>
> and cite the relevant spec or some tutorial(s).

(As an aside, embedded style sheets, in style="..." attributes, should
not be _recommended_. We all use them in testing and to explain things
concisely, but they aren't recommendable.)

I'm afraid much of the practical problems with the validator are already 
caused by its trying to be too helpful and making guesses.

It's a validator, not a quality checker, still less a quality improver.
We could surely use a good overall WWW page checker, but such a thing
cannot be created just by adding features to a validator.

A validator is supposed to check the validity of markup. It should be 
quite sufficient to list down the errors. An extra hint about a different
DTD would probably help more than confuse. But I'd stop there. It's no 
concern of a validator whether someone uses Transitional or Strict DTD.

Besides, CSS is a moving target, and it would be risky to bind a markup 
validator intimately with a style sheet language. In at least one CSS 2.1 
draft, upper-alpha had been dropped away from the list of allowed
values for list-style-type.

If you started suggesting something for <ol type="A">, what would you do 
with <ol start="0">? There is no CSS counterpart to it.

> I searched google for "css list style" and it nominated a W3C schools page
> http://www.w3schools.com/css/pr_list-style-type.asp

The w3schools site has often been characterized as unreliable, to put it 
mildly. It is often confused with the W3C, and maybe that was the 
intention when the domain name was chosen. In any case, I would strongly 
advise against referring to w3schools in any official or semi-official 
way.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Tuesday, 25 October 2005 20:08:49 GMT

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