CSS Validation and HTML
HTML validation and CSS validation are controversial issues with some people. This article discusses some of the issues that have come increasingly to the fore in web development. The article will also provide a practical method that overworked webmasters can use to improve their website.
What does Validating HTML or CSS Mean?
For those who are unfamiliar with what validating a web page means, it basically refers to using a program or an online service to check that the web page that you created is free of errors. In particular, an HTML validator checks to make sure the HTML code on the web page complies with the standards set by the W3 Consortium (the organisation that issues the HTML standards). There are various types of validators - some check only for errors; others also make suggestions about your code, telling you when a certain way of writing things might lead to unexpected results. A CSS validator checks your Cascading Style Sheets in the same manner; basically, most will check them to make sure that they comply with the CSS standards set by the W3 Consortium. There are a few which will also tell you which CSS features are supported by which browsers. Note that validating your web page does not ensure that it will appear as you want in various browsers. It merely ensures that your code is without HTML or CSS syntax errors. Ensuring that your code appears correctly in different browsers require cross browser testing.
Why Validate Your HTML Code?
1. It Helps Cross-Browser, Cross-Platform and Future Compatibility
Although you may be able to create a web page that appears to work on your favourite browser (whatever that may be), your page may contain HTML errors (or CSS errors) that do not show up with that browser due to an existing quirk or bug. Another person using a different browser that does not share that particular bug will wind up viewing a page that does not show up correctly. It is also possible that later versions of your browser will fix that bug, and your page will be broken when people use the latest incarnation of the browser.
2. Search Engine Visibility
When there are errors in a web page, browsers typically try to compensate in different ways. Hence some browsers may ignore the broken elements while others make assumptions about what the web designer was trying to achieve. The problem is that when search engines obtain your page and try to parse them for keywords, they will also have to make certain decisions about what to do with the errors. Like browsers, different search engines will probably make different decisions about those errors in the page, resulting in certain parts of your web page not being indexed. The safest way, it is held, is to make sure that your web page validates error-free.
Even if you test your web site with all the various browsers in existence on all the platforms in use (Mac, Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, etc) and find that it works perfectly in all, errors in your site reflect poorly on your skill as a web developer. The issue is two-fold: firstly, a poorly coded web page reveals that either the web designer does not know his stuff or is a sloppy worker; secondly, it affects his marketability.
About the Author: Kyle Newton is a professional internet marketing specialist and can launch and manage your complete web presence from Web Design to SEO with professional results that make your projects, services, or products a success on the web.