PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

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Upon trying to edit my index page at ,

NVU says that it can't edit it for an "unknown reason."  Putting it through
the W3C  editor shows that I have routinely omitted the ALT= tag, and other
basic errors, that I know how to fix.  But the main source of messages is a
link text I was supplied to link to a Bravenet Guestmap.  I would rather
leave that kind of text alone.  If I make it conform, it may no longer
work.  Is that the common practice?

Another error is using "valign=top" in a table.  If that is not valid, what
syntax should I use?  Without a direction in the tag, the default
is "middle."  The validator merely suggested that I switch to CSS, which I
think is a bit beyond me when it involves tables.

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
   - Oscar Wilde

Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

Doug Laidlaw wrote:
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I don't know NVU, but it must be a pretty perverse page if an editor
can't edit it. How did you make it? (And where have you hidden it?)

Or maybe NVU is perverse?

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What, making something conform so it no longer works?  ;-)

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td { vertical-align: top; }

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If CSS with tables is beyond you, then maybe customized 404 pages and
attempts at using XHTML are, too. The 404 page is 19KB long, 1185px
wide, and uses colors which spoil my appetite.

[1] (although there does appear to be a real page at
< . Is this the page you're talking
about? It doesn't validate either, but the validator explains what to do
to fix it: (among other things) encode your ampersands as &amp; .)

Ah, I get it now; you gave us the wrong URL. You probably really mean

Pondering the value of the UIP: /

Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

John Hosking wrote:

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Thanks John.  Yes, I did mean the .html page.

NVU defaults to using CSS.  It has a <style> added to the <table> tag, but
for some reason, valign and border=0 are outside it.

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Another site "conforms" to IE, but Firefox can't open its Javascript.  And
Javascript started out in the same stable as Firefox.  When you say to
encode my ampersands, do you mean, e.g.:


becomes usernum=2715853732&amp;lightmap=0&amp;icons=0&amp;&amp;entrylist

Old age is like everything else.  To make a success of it, you've got to
start young.
   -- Fred Astaire.
How right he was!  I didn't start soon enough.

Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

Doug Laidlaw wrote:

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That is what I did, and it got rid of several pages of error messages.  The
whole page now passes the validator, but NVU still can't handle it.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
   - Albert Einstein

Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

Doug Laidlaw wrote:

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Either use td { vertical-align: top; } as John Hosking said (the best  
idea), or apply valign to the TBODY. Maybe the latter is easier with yout  
HTML editor.

valign can be applied to TBODY, THEAD, TFOOT, TR, COL, COLGROUP, TH, TD  
but not to TABLE.

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General entity references are expanded in values whose attributes have  
CDATA content type.

This means that in:

<p title="&lt;hello&nbsp;world&gt;">

the title is interpreted as <hello world> with a non-breaking space  
between hello and world.

As a consequence, ampersand is a special character inside title (and most  
other attributes, including href), and you must refer to the general  
entity amp if you need to encode one ampersand, otherwise it would be  
interpreted as the start of a general entity reference.

To get more details:
1) Read the error message specified by the W3C validator.
2) Read

Advice for improving your site:
1) Please, don't use JavaScript links, or at least, learn how to make them  
degrade gracefully.
2) Don't use the same title for two different links.
3) Choose better ALT attributes. For the two logos "View my Guestmap" and  
"Bravenet Guestmaps", simply use:
ALT="View my guestmap"
"Bravenet guestmaps"
Generally, for icons that only contain one or two line of text, the most  
appropriate ALT attribute is the text shown on the icon.
4) No need to override user's stylesheet with attributes that don't bring  
anything to the beauty of the layout of your site.

Your page contains:

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This may decrease accessibility to people who have a short sight, for zero  
presentational improvement.

5) Avoid fixed sizes in pixels.
Firstly, this wouldn't make sense if some day, screen sizes greatly  
increase (e.g. 8000x6000), because everything would be tiny. It would  
become as ridiculous as specifying the sizes of images in .
Secondly, it's VERY inconvenient for whoever doesn't use the same browsing  
style or screen size than you. Currently, I've a left panel that uses 400  
pixels, so that, even with a maximized navigation window with a 1152x864  
screen mode, there's an horizontal scroll bar.
Did you know some people uses lower screen resolutions?
Did you know some people like to tile their windows?

6) A table would be better than the big history png. That would require  
some work on your side.

7) Don't lie on the size of the image. It's 522x467, and you specify  
531x474 (IIRC, this is legal in HTML 4 but wasn't legal in HTML 3.2).
My browser uses a pixel-resize algorithm. This is very ugly.

8) For the navigation list "Home", "Family Tree", "History", etc.
Use an unordered list (ul). Not only is it semantically more correct, but  
it will render much better when CSS is disabled.

Again, use better ALT attributes. Simply use the text of the image.
ALT="Family tree" is better than ALT="Link to family tree".
The ALT attribute is the text that must be substitued to the image if  
images aren't available.

9) Avoid table layouts. Tables are for tabular data.

10) What's this OBJECT with no data? I don't see any point in it, except  
afraying IE users who will get a message such as: "This page want to use  
an ActiveX object. It's very dangerous, you should not click Yes. The  
person who wrote this site may be malicious. Don't click Yes unless you  
really really trust him. Even if you trust him, click No to be on the safe  
side. The best thing to do is to close click No and close the site  
immediately, it may use other attacks..."

(The message isn't exact, but that may the effect it does on some people)


Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

André Gillibert wrote:

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Thanks for all that.  All noted.  Re the OBJECT:

This one had me flummoxed.  I have used <H?> tags for years without
problems, but the validator would not allow them.  The <iframe> block was
supplied by the linked page.  The validator insisted that the <H3> and <H4>
tags had to go inside another tag, including <iframe> or <object>  I tried
to make sure that all <div> etc tags ended before the heading, but I got
the same message.  Finally, I gave up and wrapped them inside an object tag
to make the validator happy.  I had no idea what it would do, but the name
seemed the most neutral.  I have used only IFRAME only once, and from the
little I know about it, it seemed inappropriate.  All the other options
were less relevant. The validator made no complaint about the tag's
contents.  Upsetting IE is the last thing I want.

From memory, the list of surnames is an image of a surname list generated by
the associated genealogy program at or it
calls the php generator.  Either way, a sub-table is inappropriate.  The
first needs regular updating; I would not be able to create the second.

I am self-taught and learned from books in the time before HTML 4. Then,
images were regularly resized by the tag, although it was deplored.  I
tried to edit the image itself to the size I wanted.  In this instance, I
may have "fudged" the size a bit, or it may be simply a mistake.  I know
that I am now getting out of date.  I have downloaded a 3-column template,
which suits the other pages, but the natural layout of my page is more like
arranging 4 bricks around a central square hole, where the image would go
(then distorted, of course.) CSS is better able to place that arrangement.
I think that the ship image should be removed, and the header go right
across.  Originally, it was a larger image where the surname list is now.
I wanted to have it somewhere because it is an artist's impression of the
actual ship.  I suppose that it belongs on gipsy.html.

As for setting it up for 800x600, I was following a point of view that it is
better to have a site of fixed dimensions than expanding or shrinking
according to the browser viewing it.  I asked a local Website designer
whether 800x600 was now too small (I am running 1280x1024) but he said it
was still his standard.

So many site generators these days are designed for business sites only, and
don't suit my needs.  I haven't been entirely happy with the genealogy
templates I have seen, and they all use FrontPage.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
  - Winston Churchill.

Re: PSupplied link text doesn't conform.

Doug Laidlaw wrote:

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That's because you tried to put an heading in a SPAN, which is an inline  
It's like trying to put the title of the chapter of a book in the text  
flow of the first paragraph of the chapter. It doesn't make sense, and is  


1) remove this span element, which serves no other purpose than putting  
the element in bold.
If you really want the heading to be bold, use CSS.
It's only decorative and serves no semantic purpose. CSS is appropriate  
for that.
2) Don't use H3, use H1.
It's the highest level heading of your page. If you find that H1 is too  
big by default, use CSS to reduce its size.
3) Don't use H4 for the text below. The H4 heading neither means  
"meta-info of H3" nor "introduction of the section defined by H3".
It means, "heading of a sub-section of a larger section limited by H3".
e.g., if H1 is the title of a book, H2 will be the title of a chapter.
If H1 is the title of a revue, H2 will be the title of an article, H3 will  
be the title of a big section (Summary, Introduction, Material & Methods,  
Results, Discussion), H4 the title of sub-sections, such as "Results of  
experience 3" as subsection of Results.

HTML 4.01 doesn't impose this, but ISO-HTML does.

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With OBJECT, you've just cheated the validator.
OBJECT can be used at the block level or at inline level. Its contents are  
an alternative content, that must be substitued if the object cannot be  
At block level, it should contain block-level elements.
At inline level, it should contain inline-level elements, otherwise if the  
user agent cannot render it, it wouldn't be able to reliably render the  

I highly doubt that your page is conforming. It's valid but not conforming  
to the HTML standard.

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It looks neutral, but it isn't.

Making the "validator happy" without understanding why is something you  
should never do.
The validator is only a tool helping to write conforming code.

1) It doesn't mean you don't have to learn the specs to write conforming  
It won't taught you the semantics of elements.
It won't find all conformance errors.
e.g. It won't complain for:
<p lang=fr>Hello world</p>

2) Validation is only a means to write good conforming code.
The validator is a friend to help you, not an ennemy to defeat.

This is very similar to spell checkers.
1) You need to learn your language.
Spell checkers won't explain the semantics of words to you.
Spell checkers won't find all errors, and you'll easily write non-sense,  
gramatically and semantically invalid sentences, that "passes the spell  
checker tests".
2) Spell checker are friends. Don't try to "validate" your code for the  
sake of validation. Try to understand the real issues. Don't try to "fix  
things" with a means you don't understand.

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HTML is a good language, because it mainly contains semantic markup so you  
don't have to specify the layout, and visual user agents automatically can  
give an appropriate layout, depending on user's preference, *window size*  
(because the mono-tasking single-windowed mode of MS-DOS is passed).
With the mobile web, many people look at sites with very small screens.

If you want a fixed layout, use a single big PNG image map!

My personal designing style is to forget about presentation... Simply  
writing the most appropriate markup to express the document *logical*  
Then, (optionally) use CSS for a prettier presentation. Because CSS is not  
powerful enough, it may be sometimes necessary to modify the HTML  
structure to add styling effects (e.g. ugly DIV wrappers), in order to  
produce a slightly prettier layout.

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Having a left panel, or tiled windows, is common too.

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HTML is a simple language, but far too many generators are bad.
It's worth writing his own code, by hand.


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