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Re: Why specify a DOCTYPE? Why validate?


From: Holly Marie
Date: May 30, 2002 10:54AM

From: "Mark Pilgrim"

| A clarification before we get started here: the person I am trying to
convince is not a client, just a professional acquaintance. So I have
no financial stake in this, only emotional. However, business-related
links (like the WAI business case for accessibility, thanks) are very
helpful because frankly, all technical and social arguments have failed.
| > Therefore, writing these pages accurately, slimmed down and with
| > less
| > code, will make a company's big web site load faster and display
| > well
| > across systems and devices. It will also be much easier to update
| > or
| > ammend down the road.
| The bandwidth argument hits home to a certain extent, but the "easier
to update" argument does not. The site is already using a
template-based content management system that would make it easy to
change the layout while preserving the content. (You would think this
would be a point in my favor, but it is not. His site still generates
hundreds of validation errors, but he has solved the maintenance
problem, so who cares?)

heh, I know the shoes you stand in Mark. I actually sat in the midst of
an argument with someone on this, on another list years ago(I was
fortunate to have a very good web instructor). I backed off a few times,
but trying to get developers to step down and realize the overall
general good things on content, format, and then yes, Accessibility, is
quite a task.

[1] I often provided examples [can look great and good, work fast, and
all that jazz and validate... why not do these things then?]
[2] there was that stubborn argument thing. Why should I let anyone tell
me how to do this or that, etc...[Internet is a great place, lots of
freedoms in expression etc... I can see that other side ... yet, my
answer remains a question why not?]

:) huge smile regarding the CMS and Validation, or BB, Forums, etc... I
have torn several apart.
One of the majorly annoying things about these great pieces of software
and programming, is the darn sloppy code that can be infiltrated between
php or perl or whatever other coding in several files.

I seriously thought of starting a business of transforming such sites to
deliver XHTML strict, Accessible, with Style sheets, and validating CMS
sites. Mostly working with open sourcewares, and also some other
developed pieces.... [mt, greymatter, blogger long ago, postNuke,
phpNuke, forums, etc...] IT takes some time to fix these things, then
you import other sites or use that XML feature and some of those links
will invalidate the site right away.[characters in links not put into
encoding, etc...]

The long time net friend, designer, and developer puts together
community sites, content management systems, photogalleries, etc... and
now does it with XHTML and CSS(two things he said he would never use and
are not supported enough) - he is even linking to some access pieces
here and there in his journal or blog. So, never is really permanent. He
says now ... that XHTML strict does not matter, but I know he feels
otherwise. He is also getting into some xml and other items, that I have
not really experimented much with.

| > and some of these search engines may actually make or set
| > up some sections or specialized listings for sites that are in
| > compliance and coded to current guidelines, etc.
| This would be a *HUGE* advantage. Optimizing for search engines is
such a black art, since nobody (publicly) knows exactly what Google's
rules really are. Lots of people have good rules of thumb (small page
size, good page titles, etc.), but for Google to establish a baseline
and publicly say "these sites are better because they're valid" would
end this argument immediately.

That was quite fun, some outside list where some google developer were
on it, and someone went and tried to validate a google page. [big smile]
and that started off a huge discussion, then some prodding and
persuasion, and then some suggestions ... hey google if you make your
site validate, use the access guidelines, use the DTD, etc... it will
present a very good example to others out there that respect you and
have moved over from the top guns like hotbot, yahoo, altavista etc...
Google, you now have the power to do something important and make a
statement, and then there was a discussion of a guidelines proper search
collection. I do not know if this will all change and happen, but they
are sure sitting in a good position to make some decent PR to the
millions of people that visit that site a day while searching the
Internet. There is a little demo section over at google that they are
playing with some voice browsing and other neat things. So, yes, google
sits in a spot where if they took an interesting stand, made a few
statements, they could get a few more seeds of change planted, too.

labs.google.com : Google Demos

| "Applying valid HTML will assist you repurpose content for future
formats and devices."
| This is only true if you view HTML as a /source/ format. But if your
site is controlled by a content management system, HTML is only a
/destination/ format, one of many. This particular CMS also generates
several flavors of XML, and stripped down "text-only" HTML pages. The
text-only pages are ostensibly for handhelds, but they also satisfy the
WAI "last resort" clause. But get this: his text-only pages are *still*
invalid HTML... but since they work on handhelds and even work in Lynx,
why does it matter?

For me, it does not matter if someone is using a very old browser, and
they get a text only view. This is something that will also display well
into many other devices or deliveries. It is all about content. And fine
for the personal sites, though the businesses may not be as accepting. I
guess it matters then what side of the fence to stand on, and
unfortunately it is not a very prolific area to work right now and money
made can be a big issue.

Again, those are true fun to tear apart and fix to guidelines, though I
do believe there may be some work in the future for those of us that
would like to give it a whirl or work in this way. Right now it is a
challenge and fun to make these work, but it would be nice to also do
something or develop some things that come ready to work and valid.

I do think that CMS is the way in the future, for education, community
building, information gathering, news, and even for corporations. So, I
do think these tools need to be retrofitted now(MT - moveable type - is
doing a very nice job of it lately, the code is not that hard to work

CMS allows the company user to input their own updated information via
browser(no html editor etc) and much easier... Most or all of the code
and tags are behind the scenes... great stuff, really. Archives
administration and more.


sorry I digress or expand upon a lot, often...

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