A few readers may have spotted the delicate gray text that appeared at the very bottom of my homepage last Saturday. It says "Valid XHTML 1.0". These few readers may even have drawn the correct conclusion: QuirksMode has started moving in the direction of valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Note: "moving in the direction of". For reasons I explain below this site will never be 100% valid, but I have decided to make an effort and see what happens next.
Besides, my content pages are long, long overdue for a cleanup, and I'm going to combine this sanitation with the switch to XHTML. Unfortunately the very first static page I edited gave raise to a fundamental question that I don't have an answer to. Therefore I submit one aspect of the maintenance of QuirksMode.org to a reader vote.
I am going to attempt to switch about 210 or so QuirksMode.org pages to XHTML 1.0 Transitional. This is going to be a tremendous job that will easily take until the end of the year.
Not only do I have to add a DOCTYPE to every page and fix validation errors, I also have to retest every single page in all browsers to see if the described effect works in strict mode as well as in quirks mode — and this includes pages like the DOM Compatibility tests.
I have to document any problem I find — and I will find a few; browsers delight in tormenting innocent client side programmers with such bugs. I will also have to take a good look at the content of a page and rewrite it where necessary.
Right now I estimate that on average I'll switch one page per day, which means I'll be ready in about 210 days, or seven months. You can follow my progress by looking at the very bottom of a page. A delicately behaving gray text will give more information about that page's validity. If there is no such text the page has not yet been treated.
I already know some pages will never become valid XHTML:
I have already switched the main blog pages, the homepage, the sitemap/navigation page and the top frame page.
The very first static content page I switched was the old Scrolling Layer script. Recently a reader asked me why the script didn't work in strict mode. It turned out that Mozilla, Explorer Mac, and Safari require values of the
clip property to have units. Adding
'px' to the correct lines solved the problem.
Then I took a good look at the script and saw the next problem, a problem I don't have an answer to right now, a problem I'm calling a vote on. The script is old.
I wrote the Scrolling Layer script for the old World Press Photo site back in April 2001, when Netscape 4 compatibility was still mandatory. As a result the script is not very modern: it's somewhat obtrusive, it doesn't separate behaviour and structure (
<a href="#" onmouseover="etc">) because Netscape 4 can't handle it, and it contains old-skool code branching that's becoming obsolete in a hurry.
I don't know what to do. So I'm asking you.
I see three options for dealing with old scripts. Which one do you like best? Please treat this question as a ToughQuiz: vote for an option and briefly discuss your reasons. Please put your vote for A, B or C clearly at the top of your comment.
If more than 60% of the votes go to one option, I will implement that option. If the vote is less clear-cut I'll review the arguments and take a decision. The vote will close on Monday 11 July 2005.
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