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

Re: On ampersands.

From: Paul McGarry <paulm@opentec.com.au>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 20:37:47 -0400 (EDT)
To: pdf@bizfon.com
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
Message-id: <3963D6F8.76D9EB42@opentec.com.au>

pdf@bizfon.com wrote:
> 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).

So I can see if it is valid. A lot of the webwork I do involves 
dynamically generated content with querystrings. Should I not care
about validity just because a page has a querystring?

> 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
> "&amp;".

Yes. Or the & was in any other entity for that matter. Presumably 
some of the validator code could be reused to achieve this though
as the validator itself can find ampersands that aren't part of
an entity. Presumably you could reuse that bit to check (and
modify) user input.
> 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".

I used to think it was illegal, but someone (in opera.beta newsgroup
for the Opera web browser where Opera's handling of unentified 
ampersands is being discussed) convinced me that it probably wasn't
because of the language in the html spec ('should' rather than 

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 23:08:57 UTC

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