W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-evangelist@w3.org > March 2004

The use of W3C standards in Denmark Part II

From: Soren Johannessen <hal@ae35-unit.dk>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2004 17:44:05 -0500 (EST)
To: <public-evangelist@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c4023a$30ad77d0$0300000a@ae35>

2004-03-04: I have got a request for telling more about my survey. In
2002 the Danish computer magazine "Computerworld" made a survey about
how many governmental/national/municipal authorities did follow the W3C
Standards (HTML/XHTML) the survey shows that time only 13 % did follow
the W3C Standards. The Danish Ministry for Science, Technology and
Innovation strongly encourage W3C Standards since 1997. It's not a law
(more a recomandation), but by following the W3C Standards all the
Danish citizens could benefits the access to information hosted at the
authorities (libraries, schools, etc) by following W3C Standards. That
was on of the major reason why use W3C Standards in the public sector. I
decided in January 2004 to follow up on this survey from 2002 and make a
new one. My survey now shows that 3,05 % of 2033 home pages was valid
according W3C Validator.

I am going to tell more about the method to collect the information from
2033 authorities' home pages. To find all these home pages in Denmark,
the Danish Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation have a online
list of them. http://bpn.surveyonline.dk/stat/statalfa.jsp Then I just
started from the first until the last one. Some of the home pages on the
list does not exit any more. I made a spreadsheet to insert data from
all the 2033 home pages.

How I made a testing - I did use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 as
browser. When I visit a home page I did the following thing. "View
>Source" options so I was sure that I got the main entrance page and not
a Frame (did't use the right click -view source- options by the mouse).
When the raw source text file was open, I was looking after a
DOCTYPE-Declaration in the top of the document. If no DOCTYPE then the
test was finish because W3C Validator can't parse without a DOCTYPE. The
home page without a DOCTYPE was consider as non valid. If there were a
DOCTYPE the W3C Validator was used. I did only test the main entrance
page. It's good indicator how the rest of the sub-pages are regarding
W3C standards. I assume, that webmasters has spend most time on the page
main entrance page . They have been reading about webdesign guidelines
etc.,  before the main entrance page has been publish live for the
public audience. The data from the survey was collected during January
31th until February 16th 2004..

I provide you all with an option to download the survey data in a
spreadsheet, I have translated the name of the columns You can download
it from http://www.ae35-unit.dk/standard/englishw3ctest.xls (420 KB)it's
in Microsoft Excel format. )

There are 8 columns in the spreadsheet

1) Name of the home page
2) The testing URL
3) Any DOCTYPE? (Yes or No options. If no then I did't use W3C Validator
because never will parse any documents without a DOCTYPE)
4) Which DOCTYPE? (I have manual from each home page copy and pasted the
DOCTYPE into the spreadsheet. You will find some creative ways of
writting it, like some webmasters think that "EN" stands for english and
then they have translated it to danish "DA" A lot also forget the 2nd
line of the DOCTYPE like ""http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd" W3C
Validator can still parse the document even the 2nd line is missing.
5) Did home pages with a DOCTYPE manage the test at W3C Validator (Yes
or No)
6) Encoding problems (for home pages with problems here it's marked in
the cell with Encoding problems)
7) Number of errors (how many errors did W3C Validator found)
8) Webserver tool (I have use the Web-sniffer http://web-sniffer.net/ to
detect the webserver and also to check the encoding labelling
(iso-8859-1, UTF-8 etc) from the HTTP Response Header (Note Content-Type
for text/html is not in the spreadsheet only the webserver tool)

Note: it's only a snap-shot of the day I tested the home-page things can
have changed. One more thing I can figure out is that when 10 % of the
home pages use HTML 3.2 or HTML 2.0 in their DOCTYPE it's a direct way
to have many errors according W3C Validator. Education in this matter is
also needed. The main entrance page is a dynamic page and change quite
often so using old HTML version is a bad idea, I don't think webmasters
is thinking about this issues.

After finding out that 64,8 % is missing the DOCTYPE. I decided to
create a minor guide in Danish for this issue. Since missing character
encoding labeling (iso-8859-1, UTF-8) is also a major problem. I decided
to explain very simple about this.  I have also give webmaster a chance
to begin on Unicode (UTF-8), by given them a links to a Danish "how to
use Unicode on webpages" however I fell in this matter in Denmark, more
education is needed. Often at small authorities home page maybe the
webeditor is only working 2-3 hours pr week she/he has other things to
do at work. Unicode can be a little bit complex to understand. Since
many is using webeditor software like DreamWeaver, Frontpage etc, they
never see the HTML code, they just write and then publish.  FrontPage is
pr default inserting "Windows-1252"in the META-TAG. My advice for Danish
Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation was that in this issue,
high-tech people have to create templates for not so HTML/XHTML familiar
workers like the example I gave above. Second advice, high tech people
have to set up systems that use PHP/ASP server side scripting language,
CMS etc. to use a correct W3C Standard template. We can't assume or
demand that every one that produce text/content for the web knows things
like this.

During my survey I have also the purpose explain how the W3C validator
works, the W3C validator is a cool tool if you understand the errors
messages. For not so good english reading people(webmasters) it's very
difficult to figure out the "Character encoding label" error etc. Well
we need a Danish localized version. Maybe an idea for W3C to create
localized versions for more countries in the world? (HTML-TIDY maybe
also?)The local goverments around the world could pay for a localized
version then W3C would hosted these versions. It's would benefit a lot
of not so HTML/XHTML skilled people

Well my main ambition with this survey is to create a debate in Denmark.
So politicians begin react. One big problem I also see is that the
retailer of CMS never ever tells/educate the buyers, how to set up the
HTML/XHTML template for correct W3C standard. Lot's of people in public
sector thinks, well we have bought this expensive CMS then we also
assume that everything is fine, but that's not the case. 

Finally, I don't think the problems above are only a problem in Denmark.
I think it's world wide problem. 

Hope you can use the data to something and got the major points above.
Please feel free to ask me again. After publising my survey 2004-02-28,
there has not been to much respons in the danish media yet. I have
e-mail newspapers etc. But no one yet have publish anything.
Soren Johannessen

Major findings from survey at
Received on Thursday, 4 March 2004 17:47:40 UTC

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