Stay back messy code!

POSTED ON 31ST AUG 2013

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been transforming this website. Not the design, but the code! I've been improving the code's mark-up so that it matches the current standards held by W3C (the elders of the internet, who proclaim the international standards of the World Wide Web). Why? Well have a read of this post and you'll understand.

A cartoon of a person from the internet gluing captions to cats. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License by xkcd.com
Image from xkcd.com

In the same way we humans must put our words in the correct order and with proper punctuation, people who write things for the World Wide Web must also put their script in the right order and with punctuation. It's called mark-up validation. If your quality of English is great, then someone else will be able to understand you. However if mistakes you make speaking when...then you could face some trouble when being understood (f.y.i this is an intentional mistake). It's exactly the same for websites; if you write poor quality code, then some devices that try to understand your website may simply display a mess.

OK, please do something for me. Head to the bottom of this page and you'll see a little icon that looks like this - Valid XHTML 1.0! If you click this icon, it will take you to a page that has validated the code for this page. If it's green then I've done a good job, if red then... well, I've clearly got more work to do! Please be sure to come back afterwards though.

However, some websites and often large businesses appear not to even attempt to fix their errors. Check out these ones for example:

Screenshots of validation results showing the number of errors for popular social media sites. Facebook: 37, LinkedIn: 43 and Twitter: 12
All validation tests correct as of 23rd August 2013 via W3C's validator.
Icons from Ctrl.Alt.Design

Having great looking code is also really useful if other developers want to come in and make a few changes. They avoid scratching their heads trying to work out why everything on the page broke, when they believe they had changed something correctly. It's also great for finding problems or making changes yourself.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

Tags: website, development, validation, code, w3c

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