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Re: Why Validate? (Was: HTML Validation)

From: olivier Thereaux <ot@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 10:28:34 -0400
Message-Id: <2CB74448-0368-4614-85F1-36CBE6A9CEDE@w3.org>
Cc: <www-validator@w3.org>
To: Steve Riley <steven.riley@kepware.com>

Hi Steve,

On May 1, 2007, at 10:00 , Steve Riley wrote:
> I was wondering how important validating your HTML code was and for  
> what reasons?  I have used the HTML validators provided the W3C  
> (http://validator.w3.org/) and have managed to fix 100% of the  
> errors on all pages of our website http://www.kepware.com/ .  I  
> like writing code that is free of errors and really appreciate the  
> free validation service that you provide, but was wondering if it  
> was really worth all the work to correct the errors and warnings.   
> I see that the majority of websites out there do not take the time  
> to do the same.

Your question is vast, and I think you will get a number of different  
answers from different people.

My personal answer would be two-fold:

* Checking your markup is part of a Quality process, akin to making  
sure your web site has good content, a good information architecture,  
is visually appealing, etc. If you want to build a good product, one  
of the steps is that you use standard technologies the proper way, so  
as to get the best leverage. But don't forget that it is only one  
part of your quality process.

* It puts *you* in control. Visiting a website with pathological  
markup and stylesheet may look OK on your browser, but that's only  
because you are using one of the modern browsers with a lot of effort  
put into error recovery. A properly build web page will not rely upon  
anyone else's error recovery mechanism, is less prone to break on  
agents that don't have such recovery mechanism, and will perform  
better with agents that frown upon bad markup (some search engines,  
some browsers too - look up "quirks mode" for more info).

There is also a little article in the validator's documentation,  
which Nick Kew wrote a while ago - I think it is still pertinent  
today: http://validator.w3.org/docs/why.html

I am certain others on the list will have other motivations, some  
technical, some ethical, ...

Hope this helps.
olivier Thereaux - W3C - http://www.w3.org/People/olivier/
W3C Open Source Software: http://www.w3.org/Status
Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 14:28:38 UTC

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