W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > April 2011

Unhelpful error text

From: Brian Lowe <brian@lowelogic.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 00:41:33 +0100
To: <www-validator@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008101cc0146$d09e5e40$71db1ac0$@com>
an attribute value specification must be an attribute value literal unless
SHORTTAG YES is specified

Checking http://www.lowelogic.com/default.aspx 

The document uses a server component which generates the HTML output for an
image. It's a Microsoft ASP.Net component (MSCaptcha.Control) so I don't
have control over the output, but I recognise that the markup produced is
not valid XHTML... the <img> tag is not closed, includes attributes values
without the required " " marks, and omits the required alt attribute.

The error message given by the validator suggests that I might specify
SHORTTAG YES in order to declare the unquoted attribute values acceptable,
but there is no help as to how or where SHORTTAG YES might be specified. 

A good deal of searching via Google returns plenty of similar problems
encountered by others equally confused by the error message, but the
solution invariably is to properly quote the attribute values, rather than

I've since discovered that the specification of SHORTTAG is part of the DTD
and so is beyond my scope.

Can I suggest the error message is changed to read "DTD does not have
SHORTTAG YES specified so attribute value must be enclosed within quotes"



Brian Lowe 

m: 07753 205716

f: 0700 600 3338 

e:  <mailto:brian@lowelogic.com> brian@lowelogic.com


Received on Sunday, 24 April 2011 16:47:23 UTC

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