W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > July 2000

Re: On ampersands.

From: <pdf@bizfon.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 13:43:49 -0400
To: Paul McGarry <paulm@opentec.com.au>
cc: www-validator@w3.org
Message-ID: <85256913.006165D7.00@Enterprise>

Hi Paul,

I see the point you are trying to make, but none the less, unentified ampersands
are invalid attributes.  Most browsers will display them correctly even if they
are unentified, but that doesn't make it valid.

While I did find it interesting that the W3 would generate a page with the
invalid use of an ampersand, I must say that the methods you used were a little
sneaky.  The link that contained the offending ampersand was a generated URL
which came from user input.  I don't see why you would try to validate a page
with a query string in the URL (maybe there's some reason I don't know about).
Anyway, while your methods may have been sneaky, I agree that the validator
should display valid pages.  This may be trickier than it sounds though because
I think it would mean parsing the user input, and replacing "&" with "&amp;" but
at the same time, being careful not to replace the "&" if it is the "&" in

So I would say you found a bug in the validator, but you have not in any way
proven that unentified ampersands are "just heavily frowned upon".

Peter Foti

Paul McGarry <paulm@opentec.com.au> on 07/05/2000 03:39:25 AM

To:   www-validator@w3.org
cc:    (bcc: Peter Foti)

Subject:  On ampersands.


I've been trying to determine whether unentified ampersands really
are invalid in attributes in html 4. I've come to the conclusion
that it isn't invalid, just heavily frowned upon.

Nothing particularly interesting or new there to you guys I imagine,
but in my experiments my fevered brain discovered that while the html
validator marks unentified ampersands invalid, it is happy to
generate such URLs itself and then display the W3 tick on it's page.

Talk about double standards!

In case you find this vaguely interesting you can see for yourself
by visiting links from here:

And if it looks like I have too much time on my hands, I only
wish that were true.....

Paul McGarry            mailto:paulm@opentec.com.au
Systems Integrator      http://www.opentec.com.au
Opentec Pty Ltd         http://www.iebusiness.com.au
6 Lyon Park Road        Phone: (02) 9878 1744
North Ryde NSW 2113     Fax:   (02) 9878 1755
Received on Wednesday, 5 July 2000 13:44:20 UTC

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