Authoring tool vendor feedback on <meta name=generator content=UA>

Dear HTML accessibility task force,

with permission, I hereby forward Softpress developer Jeremy Hughes', 
quote: "personal opinion as a lead developer, and is also based on 
internal discussion here at Softpress" on the generator exception. 
Softpress developes Freeway, which in their own words is a 'HTML 

With regards,
Leif H Silli

Forwarded message begins:

From: Jeremy Hughes <[snip]>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 12:47:43 +0100
Subject: Re: Softpress feedback - the HTML5 spec's <meta name=generator 
content=UA> semantics
To: Leif Halvard Silli <[snip]>
Cc: Development <[snip]>
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Leif,

Thanks for writing to me about the issue of the generator string. [ 
snipping a private sentence ]

In general, we're not in favour of having different validation criteria
for pages that depend on the presence or absence of the generator
string, although we understand the thinking behind this proposal ("to
markup generators from including bogus alternative text purely in an
attempt to silence validators.") Freeway tries to provide useful
alternative text, but it's up to users to consider whether they can
improve on the default text.

In Freeway's case, the proposal won't actually make any difference to
the code that we generate. The generator string is optional as far as
Freeway is concerned. It's there by default, but users can remove it if
they want. We need to build pages that will validate regardless of
whether this string is present or not.

Personally, I think there is an argument that the presence or absence of
alt text is an accessibility issue rather than a validation issue. If
validators should be required to not show an error when alt text is
omitted, this should apply regardless of whether the generator string is
present or not - in order to discourage generators *and hand coders*
from including bogus or unhelpful alternative text.

>Are there alternative solutions? That's an issue we are discussing. In 
>addition to dropping the generator exception entirely, one could 
>perhaps introduce a new exception that authoring tools have to add, 
>consciously. Then it would be more open. In contrast, to add this new 
>meaning to the generator string, may seem very 'hideous' and 
>surprising, whenever the Web author happens to discover it.

I agree. A new exception would be a better solution, if a solution is 

Best wishes,


Received on Friday, 13 May 2011 13:36:09 UTC