W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-bpwg@w3.org > August 2009

Re: Validator

From: Francois Daoust <fd@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 10:08:26 +0200
Message-ID: <4A963EFA.9030905@w3.org>
To: Gavin Landon <gavin.landon@gmail.com>
CC: Public MWBP <public-bpwg@w3.org>
Hi Gavin,

Thanks for your message.
Please see inline.

Gavin Landon wrote:
> I'm going to jump a little off subject, but I'm unable to hold back 
> anymore.. lol.
>  
> Markup Validation Service "MVS"
> vs
> mobileOK Checker "MC"
>  
> They don't follow the same rules.

The markup validation service is a syntax check at the markup level. It 
makes sure that the HTML/XHTML content follows the HTML/XHTML spec it 
claims to follow. It is still perfectly possible to create a Web page 
that passes the validation and provides an awful user experience, does 
not work on browsers, is not accessible, and/or cannot be displayed on 
most mobile devices. The markup validation service only checks the grammar.

The mobileOK Checker tries to go beyond and see what may or may not be 
appropriate for mobile devices. It follows a set of rules taken from the 
Mobile Web Best Practices standard, written by this group:
  http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/

The exact rules are defined in the mobileOK Basic Tests standard:
  http://www.w3.org/TR/mobileOK-basic10-tests/

The best practices do not introduce any new rule or technology, they 
just alert authors on rules that do not work on most mobile devices 
(e.g. using tables for layout or relying on Javascript support), and 
give some advice to help improve the user experience of their site on 
mobile devices (e.g. focus on central meaning of the page).


>   Seems the mobile version is more 
> complicated and in a lot of ways, for no reason.

Markup validation is just one check in the list of checks the mobileOK 
Checker performs. Markup validation is performed against the XHTML Basic 
1.1 (or XHTML MP1.2) DTD because that's what most mobile devices 
support. In particular, the validation is carried out against one of 
these doctypes regardless of the doctype declaration in the page.

There are good reasons to run the additional tests!
Check the Mobile Web Best Practices document for details. If you feel 
the explanations returned by the mobileOK Checker are unclear, I am the 
one to blame, so please let me know how I could improve the messages!


>   I have a mobile site, 
> which validates with MVS, but has a 49/100 with MC.  I've tested my 
> domain with many browsers, both on desktops and mobile devices and I 
> haven't run into any issues.   Soon as I start making changes to work 
> with the MC, it causes issues with MVS.

If the mobileOK Checker complains about markup validation where the 
markup validation service does not, it probably means your Web page uses 
a non-XML doctype such as HTML 4.01. As mentioned above, the mobileOK 
Checker validates the content against an XHTML doctype.

If your content is already XHTML, then fixing a markup validation issue 
returned by the mobileOK Checker should fix the same markup validation 
issue in the list of errors reported by the markup validation service, 
as far as I can tell. Let me know if you have an example where this is 
not the case.

Note it is perfectly fine to have HTML 4.01 content, it just happens 
that most mobile devices out there have better support for XHTML 
content. The syntax differences between HTML and XHTML are usually minor 
enough for the difference not to perceptible. The mobileOK Checker makes 
sure the validation errors are reported (the mobileOK Checker UI reports 
them with a "low" severity).


>   I'm assuming it's expected 
> that everyone have a different domain/pages for mobile vs desktops, but 
> why?   Why should people have too with the technology that exists with 
> rules that are already in place?

It is not expected that everyone have a different domain and different 
pages for mobile devices. The Mobile Web Best Practices were written to 
alert authors on things to consider when authoring content that would 
also work on mobile devices.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) play a similar role for 
accessibility:
  http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
It is not expected that web sites will provide a different version for 
people with disabilities. It is not expected that web sites will provide 
a different version for people that use mobile devices either.

The more agnostic your Web page is of the requesting device, the more 
likely it will be that the Web page works fine on a wide range of 
browsers and modalities: desktops, mobiles, aural, ... This is exactly 
the vision the W3C is trying to promote.

That said, if you know the capabilities of the requesting device that 
sends the request, it is considered best practice to adapt your content 
to match these capabilities, and try to improve the user experience as 
much as possible. You may also decide that you need a dedicated mobile 
version of the site that is different from the desktop because the 
targeted user is not the same (the user who uses a mobile device is on 
the go, has limited availability, ...), and thus manage two distinct sites.


    Example, I have style sheets that has
> an ASP extension so it can be dynamic, but MC doesn't like this.  It 
> wants a css extensions on the file, why?   This information is coming 
> from the file in proper css format, it shouldn't matter what the 
> extension is.  It's type has been set as a text/css, so all browsers 
> should know how to handle it.

Could you provide the address of the Web page that you checked and the 
error returned by the mobileOK Checker?
The mobileOK Checker identifies content based on its media type. It 
should not complain if the CSS is returned with a text/css media type, 
no matter what the "extension" of the file may be. If it does, it's a 
bug I'd be happy to fix.


>  
> As an engineer/architect, I require structure, because it works.  
> Sometimes you have to build a road around a mountain.  It may take a 
> little longer to drive it, but it still works.  However, when you build 
> a mall on top of a house, they both will eventually collapse and/or no 
> one will use either of them.   A good analogy is like changing a cars 
> engine, because there's new spark plugs available for it.   The Internet 
> is the engine driving us to a greater future.   Mobile devices should be 
> following the rules that are in place, not change the Internet for the 
> mobile devices.  Anyone can make a light version of their domain to 
> display more clearly on a mobile device using the existing rules.   We 
> need rules that websites can clearly pick out if the device talking to 
> them is Mobile or not.  That's a rule that I don't see anyone coming up 
> with and if it exists, no one is using it, hints the mall...   Now, I'm 
> not saying we shouldn't have new rules for mobile devices, I'm just 
> saying we shouldn't remove existing rules that work without 
> mobile.  This is clearly the case in the single example I mentioned above.

Well, it does match the preoccupations of the working group when it 
wrote the Mobile Web Best Practices and the mobileOK Basic Tests 
specifications. Could you point out a "new" rule?

Thanks,
Francois.
Received on Thursday, 27 August 2009 08:09:07 UTC

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