[whatwg] How to make HTML5 easier to teach

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Sun Feb 25 13:48:56 PST 2007

At 20:45 +0100 UTC, on 2007-02-25, Keryx Web wrote:

> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> The semantics for the warnings, errors and fatal errors emitted by
>> http://hsivonen.iki.fi/validator/html5/ are as follows:


> A few examples that I think is bad practice (99.9 % of the time it's used):
> - Inline styles
> - Empty p-elements, or p elements containing only  
> - A table within a table cell (Has this ever been used for anything but
> layout?)
> - Iframes
> Would I get a warning for any of these?

FWIW, I wouldn't expect that from a "validator". A validator only checks for
validity, not for "good behaviour"[*]. If a spec allows an empty <p>, than an
ampty <p> is valid. That's not to say that a tool cannot warn of such things,
just that it doesn't fall under "validation".

I believe HTMLTidy has something to offer on this terrain. iCab also has.
Other than that I can't think of one right now. There is certainly room for
improvement in this area. A tool that provides this sort of feedback would be
helpful for web publishers, and for teachers/students. Authoring tools could
have this sort of thing built-in, to help people avoid the sort of ugly
markup you mention (without bothering the user unnecessarily -- an empty <p>
can safely be stripped silently, for instance).

For a standalone tool, all you can do really is return errors/warnings. But
when you embed such a tool in an authoring system, you could make things
user-friendlier by having the authoring tool silently take action based on
output of the 'validator'. For instance, silently stripping empty <p>
elements is unlikely to be a problem. With this approach users wouldn't have
to be bothered with at least some category of problems and are thus more
likely to accept erros/warnings that do require the user to take action.

For a teaching situation OTOH you probably should be confronted with any and
all errors and warnings explicitly.

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>

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