You have probably heard about W3C validation many times or came across its icon on many sites. If you don’t know what W3C stands for, it is World Wide Web (3 Ws) Consortium and was formed in October 1994 by Tim Berners-lee (he is the inventor of the World Wide Web). The W3C validates your website by checking your documents against a formal Standard for HTML, CSS and XML derived web documents or by the WapForum for WML. They oversee internet development and bring standards and practices when designing for the internet. W3C also aims to make websites accessible to handicapped people. You can find more information on their website.
Validation, is it really important?
It is a terror to most website owners to go through the validation process as you need to make your website confirm for these sites which includes following the standard specifications and practices for languages like HTML, CSS and XML. W3C validation might give you better search engine ranking but before the errors in your code can cause big problems Over 90% of websites don’t conform to these standards as so many programs and scripts run on websites these days. Some famous sites like Amazon.com fail W3C Validator.
To be able to pass the validation and fulfill client’s requirements is a huge problem for web developers. While clients might want to add some features in their website, this might fail validation. On the other hand there are so many browsers these days and each might interpret the code differently. It becomes a tedious job to be able to design a website compatible with all these browsers and pass the validation. I personally prefer browser compatibility over W3C validation.
It is important that people focus more on the objective of the website than the W3C validation. It’s always better to let your customer find what they want in your website than just giving them the assurance that your website passes the standardization. It is however good if you can fulfill both, but validation should not be the goal of your website. Your website should focus more on browser compatibility, better traffic and client satisfaction.
NOTE: It is important to note that validation has a very precise meaning. Unfortunately the issue is confused by the fact that some products falsely claim to “validate”, whilst in fact applying an arbitrary selection of tests that are not derived from any standard. Such tools may be genuinely useful, but should be used alongside true validation, not in place of it.
AUGUST 8, 2008 ISSUE #22