W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > December 2009

Let's fix, not remove, the fuzzy matching feature

From: Olivier Thereaux <ot@artbeat.me>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 2009 09:57:15 -0500
Message-ID: <4B17D1CB.9040906@artbeat.me>
To: www-validator@w3.org
CC: Ville Skyttä <ville.skytta@iki.fi>
Hi Ville, hi everyone,

I noticed today that there was some recent activity in the CVS 
repository, which should lead to a new release of the Markup Validator. 
Congrats! This is excellent news, and the changelog is very impressive:
http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/validator/htdocs/whatsnew.html.diff?r1=1.85&r2=1.87&f=h

One thing that surprised me however, was the line stating:
[[  Removed feature: the "fuzzy matching" feature introduced in 0.8.5 
has been removed because it produced too many confusing and invalid 
suggestions.  ]]
This sounds like a case of throwing the baby with the bathwater. Is 
there any way we could work together to help fix/improve the feature?

For those who may not have encountered it, the feature sends suggestions 
which would fix typos, such as:
[[
Error  Line 12, Column 9: element "SPAM" undefined. Did you mean "span" 
or "samp"?
<p><spam>foo</span></p>
]]
As someone who makes the occasional typo, I find the feature very 
useful. I assume that this would be extremely important for the 
Dyslexic, too.

As far as I know, the base feature works fine. There was one bug in the 
version 0.8.5 (as released) that would send a confusing message for 
elements that were valid, but not allowed in a given context. That bug 
was fixed in CVS over 6 months ago:
http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/validator/httpd/cgi-bin/check#rev1.655

Were there other bugs reported?

Even if the feature, as it is, may not be perfect, I strongly believe 
that removing it goes strikingly against the effort made in the past 
years to make the validator more usable by newcomers to HTML (more 
suggestion, more help, fewer harsh messages) and it would hurt to remove 
it without trying to improve it, or replace it.


Cheers, and thanks again for the great work on the validator.
-- 
olivier
Received on Thursday, 3 December 2009 14:57:53 GMT

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