[whatwg] Allow trailing slash in always-empty HTML5 elements?

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at gmail.com
Sat Dec 2 20:00:06 PST 2006

Elliotte Harold wrote:
>> The other half could be addressed by one little box 
>> in the corner of Firefox's status bar that's a smiley 
>> face if the page is valid, and a frown if it isn't.

>> Most hand authors including myself don't always 
>> achieve well-formedness because nothing pricks us 
>> if we don't. Even the tiniest annoyance from a bad 
>> page, would cause us to check the error logs and 
>> fix the problems.

>> Fixing a page to be well-formed and even valid XHTML 
>> is not hard, and well within the abilities of most people 
>> hand authoring HTML. The problem is when we don't 
>> realize we have a problem in the first place. 

>> Once we've noticed the problem, we're 90% of the way 
>> to solving it. 

You absolutely hit the nail on the head!!!  I've been thinking along similar
lines ever since all the fallout from TimBL's memo recent about XHTML &

Your suggestion would go a long way towards ensuring people create
well-formed XHTML, although I'd like it to (default to) be(ing) a little
more obvious that a "little" box...

Actually, that would work for concientious people with a clue, like you, but
not for most people publishing to the web. I've always viewed that the best
way to motivate change is to motivate the person who created the problem in
the first place and who can also get it fixed, and avoidance of pain is a
great motivator.  I've been racking my brain for a way that web publishers
could be *motivated* to fix their XHTML.  

And as I write this email, it's finally come to me one method that would
work for even the most clueless and apathetic of web publishers: What if
Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Live were to display a human-readable string,
denoting the content type, hyperlinked to a web page that gives the details
of that content type.  For example, assume some future version of that the
Web Apps current-work page was written in XHTML 1.0 yet it failed the
validator; it could look like this (example from Google):

	Web Applications 1.0
	The list of active formatting elements; Creating and 
	inserting HTML elements; Closing elements that have 
	implied end tags; ...
	whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/ - Similar pages - XHTML 1.0

The "XHTML 1.0" would link to a description of XHTML 1.0 and it's content
type and how it can be viewed, etc. etc. But the "WARNING" could be in BOLD
RED type linking to a warning page that explained why the "Web Applications
1.0" page failed XHTML 1.0 validation, and it could include a link to a
validator for retesting (The search engines could even use <BLINK> if they
*really* wanted it to be effective; doh!)  

The search engines could also let people register validators so that
validation didn't become a bottleneck. Validators would be required to
correctly validate a variety of documents to be approved, and registered
validators would get to serve advertising in exchange for their service.

I'll *bet* if the search engines did this, we'd see the public get educated
and documents cleaned up, but fast!  And I can imagine that having more
documented well formed on the web could only help the search engines be more
accurate, so they should be motivated to do this.

Thoughts?  Or does someone see a whole in my theory?  If not, Ian's from
Google; what about Yahoo and Microsoft... ;-)

-Mike Schinkel

P.S. I might just have to blog this...

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