…including your website. During your Internet travels you may have come across articles or comments about validating your website. I’m sure most of them said there was a need for it, and I’m sure a lot of them said “You’d better have that done, or it’s the end of the World as we know it!” kinda thing.
But what is website Validation and how does it work?
Well, a few years back a consortium of Über-geeks got together and formed the W3C, or “The World Wide Web Consortium” (cue Darth Vader theme) and their mission has been, and I quote, “To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.” Which in and of itself is a really cool thing. You see, there are no real laws or standards governing the creation and implementation of a website, people can just create sites willy-nilly and hope they work…there’s no one to stop them. Hence the need for an organization like the W3C, because over the years they have been instrumental in creating a set of guidelines that almost all web developers follow. And these same W3C folks created Validation Tools that web developers use to test and “validate” the sites they build. So now, everyone can sleep easy at night knowing that there is some “control” and that the majority of websites are all adhering to a set of guidelines and protocols.
As I mentioned before, the W3C are Über-geeks, but they are also very very STRICT Über-geeks. Remember back in the day, that teacher you had in school who wouldn’t let you get away with anything? At the first sign of trouble, they would either discipline you themselves with a short, sharp shock, or send you crying down to the principal’s office (it couldn’t have just happened to me, I’m sure.)? Well, the W3C are even stricter than that! For instance, they absolutely hate it when a web developer uses an ampersand symbol like this ‘&’ when they are simply writing out text. “Oh no,” says the W3C (cue Darth Vader music again) “…you have to write that out as ASCII code, we’ll have none of that easy-to-use ampersand business in here, thank you very much!” Does it ultimately matter whether or not a web developer uses an ampersand instead of code when writing out simple text? Nope. Not one little bit. But that’s okay. Because companies like ours use a little known but more powerful tool called, “common sense”.
Every website we create goes through two validation processes: Using the W3C’s protocols and standards, we validate all of our HTML code, as well as all of our CSS code. This helps us ensure that the website is being built properly, and will not have any errors in it when we launch it.
If we come up against the STRICT guidelines of the W3C during our validation process, we simply evaluate the “error” and turn our common sense on. If it’s a valid error, we fix it, if it’s not, we don’t. Simple as that. It’s good to know that we’re safe in the knowledge that the website is working perfectly, thanks to the W3C and the fact that we can’t get sent to the principal’s office any longer when we “misbehave.”