Simon Willison’s Weblog


Sunday, 24th November 2002

Validator documentation

It seems the W3C have made some changes to their beta validator’s XML output option. The bad news is that this has (temporarily) broken my web service interface, but the good news is that the feature is now documented on the W3C’s site. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to fix the web service interface in the near future, but it will remain a toy rather than a tool for as long as the validator’s interface has not been frozen.

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CSS filter guide

Spotted on the Web Manager’s Weblog, centricle : css filters is a list of all of the current CSS browser hiding techniques (all 17 of them!) along with a table showing which hack will hide things from which browser. Best of all, the name of each workaround is a link which will pop open a new window testing the hack in your browser.

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Syndicating blogs with XHTML

Anil Dash suggests using structured XHTML as a blog syndication format. Scott Andrew points out that this has semantic problems in that it would mean using the class attribute to add additional meaning to a document. I was going to say that this would be an ideal opportunity to mix different namespaces in one XML document (as described by Lachlan Cannon) but techno-weenie beat me to it.

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XFMLManager, Peter Van Dijck’s XFML construction and navigation tool to which I have contributed various chunks of XML related code, has been renamed Taxomita and given a brand new site. Peter hopes to have a public beta out within the next few weeks. It also has a mailing list. Meanwhile, XFML has been cropping up all over the place even despite the current lack of software, with the most recent sighting occurring over at Bill Kearney’s Syndication News.

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OWASP Security guide

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) have a free guide to building secure web applications, which covers a large range of common problems such as cross site scripting and SQL injection vulnerabilities. The report is a 60 page PDF and although I haven’t had time to go through it yet it looks like an excellent read.

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phpPatterns is a brand new site which advocates and documents the use of object oriented design patterns with PHP. It’s a great concept and the site already has some impressive content (although it could really do with a PHP references tutorial). The site is a project of Harry Fuecks, a regular contributor to SitePoint’s PHP forums.

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Polluting the web

Hixie and Aaron Swartz are debating Hixie’s infamous Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful on a W3C mailing list. While I am just as guilty of sending XHTML as text/html as anyone else (I’ve been meaning to fix this for a while but just haven’t found time yet) I’ll stick in an argument that Hixie hasn’t used yet. Sending XHTML as text/html basically amounts to pollution of the web. As far as the XML user agents of the future are concerned (which are supposedly one of the main reasons we use XHTML) an invalid XHTML document is unparseable and thus unreadable. Anyone who has tried to keep an XHTML blog valid will know how difficult it is to keep it that way, and without a browser refusing to display the document (as happened with Mozilla and diveintomark the other day thanks to an XML content type and a missing end tag) it can be all to easy to contribute to the pollution. As it stands, a massive proportion of the supposedly XHTML web may as well be just so many random floating bytes.

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2002 » November