To Validate, or Not To Validate?
Catchy eh? I borrowed it from a countryman of mine. Anyway, over the past couple of years I've been really strong on standards. Everything I do has to validate, if I can help it. Some sites, such as PHP-based CMS don't validate, and never will. BUT, if I design a site myself, write it, I tend to try to make it strictly XHTML 1.1, and CSS2 compliant if possible. Here are some sites I think you should consider:
- W3.Org Validation Service (-THE- one)
- W3.Org CSS Validation Service
- Bobby Online, good for testing against 508 guidelines and W3 Specs
- 508 Guidelines, government site for 508 Guidelines (disability accessibility online)
Why bother, I hear you ask? Well for one I'm a bit of a perfectionist; if it CAN validate, I'll make it validate. However, as we are all human, even the designers, there are some oddities, specifically when you start to apply hacks here and there to make certain browsers conform to those standards (*cough IE cough*). I take a little bit of pride in the fact that my code conforms to a level of standard that we should all live up to.
(X)HTML validation depends a lot on the DOCTYPE you are using, and in fact it triggers off of the doctype on how strict it's standards are (the W3.Org Validation Service, I'm talking about here). Examples of strange behaviour: XHTML requires tags with no closing tag end in '/', some tags no longer exist in the XHTML specs, some tags can't exist without being enclosed in others (FORM is a good one), some attributes of tags are deprecated ('target' in a FORM tag is an example). Take the time to add in links to these services so people can see for themselves that your site validates, or each page does, it DOES matter :)