Web 2.0 No!

A recent Anne van Kesteren article got me hooked on the Web 2.0 Validator! The validator will check any site against the criteria of the future web!

In the true, lazy spirit of Web 2.0, the Validator’s criteria come from its users. Through del.icio.us bookmarks and regular expressions, sites are tested by what the “distributed community” considers the “rules” of Web 2.0.

And as you’d expect, most of these rules are poorly defined.

Just look at these searches:

  1. According to the tests, Google Maps is apparently not very Web 2.0! Though the site is probably the most popular AJAX implementation ever, it fails both of the Validator’s AJAX tests. It doesn’t use a file called prototype.js and doesn’t list any inline XMLHTTPRequests. The Validator doesn’t test for anything else AJAX related, so Google Maps is out of luck.
  2. The previous example notwithstanding, sites that imbed a Google Map are very Web 2.0. Hence the very well-made rule “Uses Google Maps API”. Unfortunately one of the most unique uses of Google Maps—Map Sex Offenders—does not pass the test. All of its Google magic occurs in an iframe that the Validator does not detect. The page inside this frame, though, passes the test.
  3. One rule claims to test for “links to BoingBoing.” Unfortunately what this rule actually looks for are appearances of the URL boinboing.net. I’m sure Cory Doctorow appreciates this Plam Pilotism.
  4. Worst of all is the rule that got van Kesteren so excited: “appears to be web 3.0”. Look closely at that del.icio.us list and you’ll find that this so-called rule only tests for the letter “a. An “a”! Anywhere in the document! I suppose this means Web 3.0 will reach as of yet unimaginable levels of hype.

Since none of the existing tests seemed to search for tags, I made it my mission to abandon my total ignorance of regular expressions and make a rule that would test for rel attributes with values of tag.

I got as far as rel="[^"]+", an expression that would select rel="and everything in here" before I reached my dim-witted limit. How do you find the word tag inside that? Instead of cracking that puzzle, I dumbed my search down to a few common ways to declare a tag: rel="tag"|rel="tag |rel="category tag".

I now see that other rules have already tested for rel="tag" under different rules (“Uses Microformats”?). But duplicated effort, where “effort” means taking the easy way out? What could be more Web 2.0 than that?!

That’s all the validation I need.


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