Structured XHTML Call For Testing

The StructuredXHTML branch is a branch of the core mb_server behind MusicBrainz and intends to improve the website by making sure the html is as structurally correct as possible and making the layout driven predominantly by CSS. This has numerous advantages including faster rendering, better support for screen readers, and layout flexibility for users with visual impairments.

We’ve been working quietly in the background on this, but have finally got the bulk of the work down (transforming the main layout). We’re going to be gradually rolling these changes in, and as such some pages will not be immediately updated, and it’s important to make sure that they all work and display reasonably correctly.

What we need you to do is head over to our test server, which is running the StructuredXHTML branch. Browse the website just as you would usually use the normal website: viewing artist entries, looking at releases, searching for data, entering new data, moderating data – just about anything you can think of! If one of the pages looks a bit too odd, please let Oliver know by filing a bug appropriatly in our bug tracker – http://bugs.musicbrainz.org (we now have a section just for bugs on StructuredXHTML).

Here’s a list of the changes we’ve made in this first version, that will be rolled out into the next version of mb_server:

  • Layout driven entirely by CSS: We’ve got rid of the tables we used to use and have made a very flexible layout that will accommodate custom text sizes better than before. It also introduces minor amounts of whitespace in certain places, with the intention to improve readability.
  • A new search option in the sidebar: The current set of search fields has caused some confusion to people on there first visit. Some people have tried to combine search fields, which does not work. A new compact dropdown box search has been added to hopefully elevate this confusion. We’d love to know what you think on this – should it be the new default search option? We plan to make both search options available through user preferences.
  • Search portals have been updated: The search pages (not the results yet though) have been recoded as a prototype for the way that forms are going to be handled (again, no tables).
  • Browse pages: The browse by artist/label/release pages have also been updated.

Please have a thorough look through the page when you have chance. It’s key that you raise any issues you have, because this will be being merged in the future, and we’d rather keep everyone as happy as possible 🙂

5 thoughts on “Structured XHTML Call For Testing

  1. mo

    “We plan to make both search options available through user preferences.”

    I’d rather like both abilities at once, so I’m hoping for tickey boxed options 😀

  2. Alex Dupuy

    My regular MB account id doesn’t work on the test server (neither with correct password nor “mb”). But without editing anything, it seems to look okay to me.

    @alex

  3. kL

    You’re sending XHTML as text/html. This means that *none* of the XHTML-capable browsers is interpreting it as XHTML. They all threat it as HTML tagsoup with too much slashes.

    If you want to use Appendix C tagsoup, don’t use xml:-prefixed attributes (i.e. use lang rather than xml:lang).

    Obligatory Hixie reference: http://www.hixie.ch/advocacy/xhtml

  4. voiceinsideyou

    @kL: it;s not technically incorrect and sending it properly as Hixie recommends breaks IE6. See the current reopened bug about this here: http://bugs.musicbrainz.org/ticket/1651

    @Alex: Yeah, i think you need to create a new account on the test server.

    @acid2: Search dropdown is heaps better, although it probably needs the direct/indexed search tickey too?

  5. kL

    It doesn’t break IE if you use content-negotiation using Accept header.

    If you’re not using XML workflow to generate content, you don’t guarantee well-formedness and your scripts are incompatible with XHTML, the whole thing seems quite pointless, doesn’t it?
    With text/html mode W3C Validator will be the only UA in whole while world that will see your pages as Valid XHTML (and only because that’s a WONTFIX bug in Validator), all browsers will see it as Invalid HTML (as per recommendation of HTML WG).

    Layout driven by CSS is cool though, but would work the same without slash-stuffed markup.

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