Why validate? (was Re: Parser compliance)

Henry S. Thompson ht at cogsci.ed.ac.uk
Thu Nov 18 11:02:30 GMT 1999

Maybe I was overly influenced by the fact that my first exposure to
pointy brackets was in the context of SGML, but I think validation is
pretty fundamental.  A DTD is like a contract, it helps both
clients and service providers to maintain a satisfactory working

1) As a client, I validate to save wasted round-trips when service providers
bounce my submissions for syntactic errors;

2) As a service provider, I validate to save resources, at two levels:

  2a) During application development, the earlier phases of system
      structure are much simpler and clearer because they don't mix
      (syntactic) error detection and basic structure construction;

  2b) During application operation, syntactic errors are detected and
      reported in a standard way likely to be familiar to clients,
      reducing handholding requirements.
In my own development work, I find (2a) particularly pertinent,
whether the applications involved are programs OR stylesheets.

  Henry S. Thompson, HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh
     2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
	    Fax: (44) 131 650-4587, e-mail: ht at cogsci.ed.ac.uk
		     URL: http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/

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