Thread Subject: Gaps in Web requirements - valid andwell-formed code
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From: Walser, Kate
Date: Mon, Dec 18 2006 8:25 PM
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Have added the following to the Wiki and float it for discussion on the
list as well -
Besides meeting the standards we recommend, for an application or Web
site to work as expected, especially with an assistive technology, it
must have valid and well-formed code. (Well-formed meaning tags are
closed appropriately, nested as appropriate, etc. Valid meaning the code
uses only tags included in the document type definition, etc.) Problems
are arising when developers fail to check their code, and more
frequently, when they use frameworks (e.g., portals, etc.) to generate
code for them. As a result, we're seeing code that contains unclosed
tags, poor syntax, deprecated tags, etc., that the assistive
technologies can't interpret. The end result for users is that the page
is either completely or partially unreadable.
In some cases, automated 508 testing tools will see no problems with the
page as they're just looking for specific tags, so agencies and even
some 508 specialists unfamiliar with the problem / who do not do manual
testing as well, miss the problem entirely and consider the app/site
The issue arose during WCAG discussions with the final decision being to
require "well-formed" code but not "valid" code.
Do we need a similar standard to address this issue in Section 508?
Director, Usability Center of Excellence
SRA International, Inc.
4300 Fair Lakes Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
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