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Note:These pages make extensive use of the latest XHTML and CSS Standards. They ought to look great in any standards-compliant modern browser. Unfortunately, they will probably look horrible in older browsers, like Netscape 4.x and IE 4.x. Moreover, many posts use MathML, which is, currently only supported in Mozilla. My best suggestion (and you will thank me when surfing an ever-increasing number of sites on the web which have been crafted to use the new standards) is to upgrade to the latest version of your browser. If that's not possible, consider moving to the Standards-compliant and open-source Mozilla browser.

May 9, 2003

The Price of Liberty

Eternal Vigilance? Yeah, there’s the ticket. I was about to go to bed last night, when I got an email from Evan. One of my individual archive pages had a Trackback whose PingExcerpt was invalid XHTML. Since I have a reputation to live up to, this indignity could not stand!

I’m sure all the alpha geeks were stripping html from and encoding entities in their Trackback listings. Now I am too.

But there were more problems afoot. A quick survey revealed another Trackback PingExcerpt containing control characters. I’d already encountered this problem with the RSS feeds I syndicate in my blogroll. Clearly, a more general solution was required. Hence the StripControlChars plugin.

And then there was a problem of my own creation. In a fit of semantic correctness, I had changed my list of Some Related Entries from

<div class="related">
post 1 <br />
post 2 <br />
post 3 <br />


<ul class="related">
<li>post 1 </li>
<li>post 2 </li>
<li>post 3 </li>

All very good, 'cept that the first post in any given category has no previous related entries. Hence we get an empty <ul></ul>, which is invalid. My fix? Well, it was long past my bedtime, so I just decided that each post is clearly related to itself, hence we can safely include it in the list of Related Entries.

Update: This experience has put me pretty squarely in the “Tools Will Save Us” camp. Hand-crafting (X)HTML can get you only so far. Once you start allowing Comments and Trackbacks and whatnot on your site, the only way to ensure validity is to have a good set of automated tools which make that happen. MovableType is a nice CMS, but out-of-the-box, it make only a feeble attempt to ensure valid content. Fortunately, it is pluggable as all heck. With the right toolkit, it can be made quite bullet-proof.

That’s what I’m after here. I want to get MovableType to the point where I don’t have to think about whether my XHTML is valid. It just will be.

Posted by distler at May 9, 2003 9:13 AM

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1 Comment & 1 Trackback

Re: The Price of Liberty

Well, it was long past my bedtime, so I just decided that each post is clearly related to itself, hence we can safely include it in the list of Related Entries.

You were thinking clearly despite the late hour. It seems natural that related posts should form an equivalence class. Reflexivity follows naturally!

Posted by: Ian Wehrman on May 9, 2003 3:43 PM | Permalink | Reply to this
Read the post Drupal and XML
Excerpt: Everyone has heard of the latest standard, XHTML. Pretty much every blogger proudly displays his or her tag of validation, maybe even a valid CSS tag as well. That's good and fine, but are you serving the document as an XML document or just as tag soup?
Tracked: July 2, 2005 9:57 AM

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