(Richard, you may be interested in the wikitech-l development list; see
On lun, 2002-12-30 at 11:02, Richard Grevers wrote:
My apologies if this has been discussed before, but I
just noticed that
Wikipedia pages carry a doctype declaration of
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
Since this does not include the URL to a full DTD, the curse of doctype
sniffing sees most browsers render the page in "Quirks" or "Bugwards
compatible" mode rather than "strict" mode.
Yes, this is intentional.
In the interests of making
wikipedia accessible, I think it would be better to force strict mode -
then editors would be more likely to notice markup errors which affect the
rendering on browsers which do not correct for bad markup.
We don't use the strict DTD (or, better yet, XHTML) because our
hacked-together wikicode->HTML parser currently can't guarantee that it
will generate well-formed output (particularly if there is raw HTML in
the page, which is munged a bit but not always correctly). If
well-behaved web browsers reject the page or massively break page
rendering due to a minor error, it's going to be mighty difficult for
editors using them to click 'edit' and try to work around the problem!
(On a similar note, nested HTML tables without closing </td> and </tr>
tags, while acceptable under HTML 4 standards, break Netscape 4.x, even
to the point of *crashing* it outright. This cropped up a while ago on
some of the Canadian provinces articles; the person who noticed the
problem couldn't edit the pages to look for the problem, since the
browser crashed before an edit link was made available. Really strict
DTD parsing isn't quite as bad -- it should at least tell you the
problem! -- but makes it hard to continue browsing.)
Volunteers for a new XHTML-safe parser are welcome...
-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com