How un-semantic

Call me anal-retentive, but I fail to see how an association purporting to promote XML in Asia, has a website with no doctype, unclosed break tags, and no link to the W3 on its web standards page. Sample code was converted to image files. Some images with flat colours, were inappropriately saved as watery-looking JPGs instead of GIFs. No header tags, just lots of <b> tags.

They obviously have lots of information about the subject, but still haven’t put it to use on their own website. Oh, just leave me to rant. For the full list of objections, read on.

XML-related gripes

  1. No doctype.
  2. Unclosed break tags: <br>
  3. No link to the W3 on its web standards page, despite mentioning it in every point.
  4. Sample code was converted to image files.
  5. No header tags. Instead, the unhelpful <b> was used instead. Not even a <strong>.
  6. While they look nice, coloured scrollbars (viewable in IE) are still not recognised as a valid stylesheet attribute.
  7. Hierarchies not kept – instead of using <ol> and <li> for lists, they simply used break tags.

    1. Request for quotation <br>
    2. Quotation <br>
    3. Purchase order and acknowledgement <br>

  8. Empty paragraph tags! <p></p>
  9. Don’t even get me started on tables! Where’s the structure, dude?

Content-wise, I’d like to see regular updates, not a cut and paste web design job that undermines the intention of the conference. I’d like to see speaker profiles, so I know I’m attending something worthwhile. It may be the only conference of its kind in Asia, but it makes me wonder if the organisers see the big picture of things.

Even worse: on further research, it appears that many other sites promoting XML are also just as bad. The US XML Conference website is, at least, HTML 4.0 compliant and AA-rated accessible, with speaker profiles and photos. Unfortunately, it appears that many sites about XML still have not made the effort to adapt their own websites to XHTML, such as How ironic.


  1. Lucian

    In many ways, you’re probably the only web designer I share a design affinity with. Not that my code’s perfect, but I share your pain.

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