Please leave your sense of logic at the door, thanks!

Archive for November, 2006

textContent Checking

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

I have added checking of the textContent of the meter, progress and t elements to the conformance checking service technology preview. The textContent is checked if meter or progress does not have an attribute called value or if t does not have an attribute called datetime.

I took liberties with date formats. Also, I am assuming that it is an error if the algorithm for finding a ratio fails.

I have also made the error messages prettier. Additionally, there is now a pseudo-schema called which dumps the parse events as warnings. (It makes the most sense when used as the first schema URI on the list of schema URIs.)

Posted in Conformance Checking, Syntax | 1 Comment »

Bug Fixes

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

Recently, I was informed that the XHTML5 facet of the (X)HTML5-specific interface was crashing due to a null dereference. When I fixed it, I somehow managed to disconnect the back end from the parser for the HTML5 facet. That one is now fixed, too.

On the generic side, the XSLT schema kept crashing the engine. The problem was infinite recursion in the JDK regular expression engine that caused the runtime stack to overflow. I have now changed the system so that regular expressions in the XSD datatype library for RELAX NG are backed by the Xerces 2 regular expression engine rather than the JDK regular expression engine.

The nice thing about a managed runtime is that stack overflows and null dereferences don’t bring the whole app down. In fact, they don’t even crash the thread; the front end can still show an error to the user. The problem is that previously the errors were logged to a file that I didn’t read until someone reported a problem and most of the time people don’t report the problems when they are told that the error was logged. Now the system sends me the stack trace by email if the back end crashes. (And I have fixed all known crashers in advertised features.)

I have also polished the Jing error messages a bit.

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Significant Inline Checking

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

The conformance checking service technology preview now can now check for the lack of significant inline content.

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Charmod Norm Checking

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Charmod Norm is still in the Working Draft state, but if it were to become a normative part of (X)HTML5, it would belong to the area of the conformance checking service that I am working on now, so I prototyped Charmod Norm enforcement as well.

The checker outsources most work to ICU4J. Most complexity in my code is due to trying to avoid buffering as much as possible while still using the ICU4J API unmodified—and due to dealing with the halves of a surrogate pair falling into different UTF-16 code unit buffers. On the spec reading front, I couldn’t map “the second character in the canonical decomposition mapping of some character that is not listed in the Composition Exclusion Table defined in [UTR #15]” to the ICU4J API on my own. Fortunately, I got excellent help on the icu-support mailing list.

It turned out that the most time-consuming part was not writing the normalization checker but reworking how Ælfred2 deals with US-ASCII, ISO-8859-1, UTF-8, UTF-16 and UTF-32. In HS Ælfred2, all character encodings are now decoded using the java.nio.charset framework.


The definition for Fully-normalized Text involves checking normalization before and after parsing. That is, the source text is required to be NFC-normalized and after parsing the constructs parsed out of the source are required to be NFC-normalized and are required not to start with a “composing character” (which is not exactly the same as a “combining character”).

I don’t really like the way the definition involves peeking underneath the parser, but it does have the benefit that if the source is in NFC, you won’t accidentally break the document by editing the source in an NFC-normalizing text editor.


Charmod Norm does not define what “constructs” are in the context of XML 1.0 or HTML5.

However, XML 1.1 does define what “relevant constructs” are, so that definition might be generalizable to XML 1.0 and HTML5. Unfortunately, XML 1.1 defines relevant constructs in terms of the grammar productions of XML itself instead of the significant information items that an XML processor reports to the application.

Personally, I think the XML 1.1 definition is neither practically useful nor something for which I’d be motivated to write an implementation. So for the purpose of prototyping, I made up a definition on my own. Web Applications 1.0 just might get away with making my definition normative for XHTML5 considering that XML 1.0 doesn’t have a definition.

I consider the SAX2 ContentHandler (excluding qNames) and DTDHandler benchmarks of cluefulness when it comes to XML-related spec, API and application design. In general, if your application isn’t an editor that needs to reconstruct the XML source from parsed data, your application is most likely broken if it needs to know something about an XML document being parsed that is not exposed through those two interfaces. On the other hand, a spec that can’t be conformed to by viewing XML through only those two interfaces is broken. Moreover, DTDHandler is about notations, which are pretty much obsolete, so that leaves only ContentHandler.

This gives the following definition of constructs:


There is a new pseudo-schema called It is enabled for all (X)HTML presets. When this pseudo-schema is in use or when the schema selection is in the automatic mode, the normalization checking of source text underneath the parser is enabled as well.

The following checks are made:

The version of Unicode that is used is 5.0.0.

The column and line numbers reported on errors are very inaccurate due to buffering.

I have not tested whether all the character encoding decoders that I have installed are normalizing transcoders. If you have Windows-1258 Vietnamese test cases, please try them out and let me know what happens. Also, please let me know if the issue applies to something other than legacy Vietnamese encodings.

As usual, the new code is enabled for testing. Please let me know if it doesn’t work as described.

Posted in Conformance Checking, Syntax | 1 Comment »

Proposing features

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

I'm happy to see the increased interest in HTML5 recently — especially with the amazing work Lachlan, Henri, and others are doing with this blog, the validator, feedback, and so forth.

Since the volume of feature requests is only going to increase in the near future, I thought I'd list some things that would make evaluating proposals easier. Here are some key things that any proposal should include:

Obviously, we want to keep the language as simple as possible. That means not everyone will get what they want. Having clear answers to the questions above will help all of us work out what is most important.

Posted in WHATWG | 5 Comments »