Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

I’m currently accepting contract work and considering full-time opportunities.

Blog entry // 02.24.2008 // 8:24 PM // 94 Comments

Your markup validator

Your markup validator, whether it’s the one on the W3C site or one built into your favorite coding tool, is a debugging tool. It should be used as such. Its job is to find errors in your code, so that you can fix them (or at least be aware of them).

Your markup validator, whether it’s the one on the W3C site or one built into your favorite coding tool, is not a measuring stick for greatness. It’s not to be used on other people’s code for the purpose of pointing out their shortcomings as a markup coder so that you can make yourself feel better than them. The fact that your code passes a validator does not make it better than the next guy’s code. There is almost never a good reason for you to be validating someone else’s code. Usually, if you’re validating someone else’s code, it’s because you’re being an asshole.

Please use your markup validator, whether it’s the one on the W3C site or one built into your favorite coding tool, wisely and respectfully. Don’t be an asshole. That is all.

Comments

  1. 001 // Neil Kelty // 02.24.2008 // 9:01 PM

    Jeff:

    You’re code doesn’t validate:

    http://validator.w3.org/check?ur…

    :)

    Thanks for saying this, I read too many forum posts that say “Start Here” with a link to [insert favorite validator].

  2. 002 // Hamish M // 02.24.2008 // 9:09 PM

    Well said.

    I probably don’t validate my code enough; let alone validate the code of others.

  3. 003 // Natalie // 02.24.2008 // 9:14 PM

    Yeah, legalists are lame.

  4. 004 // KatB // 02.24.2008 // 9:20 PM

    Did you get the urge to write this post after someone had written to you commenting on your code (in)validation?

  5. 005 // Alex // 02.24.2008 // 9:42 PM

    Thanks for saying this, I read too many forum posts that say “Start Here” with a link to [insert favorite validator].

    Assuming the OP is looking for help debugging an issue that involves their code, I don’t see anything inappropriate about this response, and it seems to me like one of the few situations in which pointing out validation errors is potentially helpful rather than asshole-ish. While it may be true that most validation errors found on the websites of experienced web designers (such as this one) are trivial in nature, I think someone asking for help on a forum most certainly should validate their code before posting to ensure that it is not malformed, which can easily cause problems with layout, behavior, etc.

    But yes, I agree that pointing out validation errors to someone who you know is perfectly capable of writing valid code (and validating it themselves if they so choose) is pointless and annoying.

  6. 006 // Leslie // 02.24.2008 // 9:44 PM

    amen.

  7. 007 // Alex // 02.24.2008 // 9:45 PM

    Hmm, how is it that my previous comment is timestamped earlier than the comment I was responding to? Odd.

  8. 008 // Jeff Croft // 02.24.2008 // 9:53 PM

    Did you get the urge to write this post after someone had written to you commenting on your code (in)validation?

    Actually, not mine. but I was reading some blogs tonight and saw two totally separate occasions of people pointing out some minor invalidation of a previous commenter’s personal website, and using it as evidence to suggest said previous commenter’s opinion wasn’t worthwhile.

    Hmm, how is it that my previous comment is timestamped earlier than the comment I was responding to? Odd.

    Odd, indeed. I fixed it — not really sure why it happened, though. I’ll keep an eye on that.

    As to the questions-on-forums situation: this is obviously a bit different. If someone has asked for help, that’s one thing. But unprovoked validations of someone else’s code are usually a bad idea. I suppose there are probably people who do this and are sincerely trying to be helpful, but in my experience, 99% of the time they do it so they can’t point out the invalidation publicly and make someone else look stupid.

  9. 009 // Alex // 02.24.2008 // 9:57 PM

    Never mind. I just refreshed, and Neil’s comment is now timestamped 9:01 PM and first on the page. It was the last one and stamped 11:01 just a second ago. Very weird. (Sorry about the extraneous comments.)

  10. 010 // Alex // 02.24.2008 // 10:03 PM

    Heh, spoke too soon, I guess. It just occurred to me: does your commenting mechanism standardize time zones? Can’t imagine it being something that simple, but you never know…

  11. 011 // Jeff Croft // 02.24.2008 // 10:26 PM

    It just occurred to me: does your commenting mechanism standardize time zones?

    Everything should be posted using US Pacific Time (my site, my time zone). However, Neil’s comment was actually posted at 9:01, which is 11:01 CST, so it is possible there’s a time zone problem at hand. I’m really not sure. I’m going to chalk it up to some weird aberration for now and keep an eye out for it happening again.

  12. 012 // Pharao // 02.24.2008 // 11:04 PM

    I consider a code as good if it works in every browser. Who cares about validators if it works like expected?

  13. 013 // Andy Ford // 02.24.2008 // 11:41 PM

    Usually, if you’re validating someone else’s code, it’s because you’re being an asshole.

    …that’s a classic.

  14. 014 // Wolf // 02.24.2008 // 11:52 PM

    I wrapped my website in -tags (as in sarcastic) for two months because I was pissed at these validation nazi’s.

    Them: “Oh my god, your form is not in a fieldset!” Me: “… it’s a textfield and submitbutton.”

  15. 015 // Pete // 02.25.2008 // 12:49 AM

    I slightly disagree with the idea that ‘validating someone else’s code unannounced, and then publicly pointing out validate errors makes you an asshole’. Perhaps it’s because I’ve done something similar for the past couple of years on local web awards finalist’s sites and I feel the odd sense to defend myself. (I know I don’t have to, nor is it related.)

    However, my intent for doing it is not about zealotry or making myself feel better, but evangelism of using ‘web standards’ to my local web design community (where using web standards is mandatory when building Government websites). I make it perfectly clear that validation isn’t the be all and end all, and I personally agree with Molly’s Web Standards Aren’t line of thinking.

  16. 016 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 1:56 AM

    Pete: I’m sorry, but if you do that and point out the errors publicly, you are being an asshole. You are publicly shaming someone for the errors, whether you intend to or not. Now, if you’re sending them a polite, personal, private e-mail, that’s probably acceptable (if still annoying).

    What’s that saying? Praise in public, criticize in private?

  17. 017 // Aaron Witherow // 02.25.2008 // 2:23 AM

    I agree that if you publicly point out errors (or even send them an email) then you are acting the smart ass but I have found myself validating the code of others websites, not to say, “huh, they call themselves a web developer and their code isn’t even valid” but more to find out what level they adhere to web standards and what sites generally find as acceptable.

    First and foremost the validator tool is used as a tool to debug your own work but it is also handy to find out what level other developers go to create modern, standards compliant websites.

  18. 018 // Elliot Jay Stocks // 02.25.2008 // 4:29 AM

    Very well put, mate.

    I think that when most of us first got into Standards-based development, we were all a little pedantic, flashing our swanky validation badges on our page footers. But thankfully most of us have seen the light: validation means very little to anyone but the new kids. After all, a site designed entirely with tables can still validate, and where are the Web Standards in that?

    Again, great post.

  19. 019 // Alan // 02.25.2008 // 5:27 AM

    I agree 99% with you. In fact, I have had this same thought more than a few times. Recently it’s a growing thought. I’ve been called out on a test site that was completely valid html 4.01 strict. The first post was “You need to validate your code”. That was it. No answer to any of my questions.

    Oh no!, I have 4 empty spans! My code fails validation! - I’m also using a text replacement technique for my navigation, get over it.

    The 1% of me agrees with Alex though. If they are looking for help and you look at their code and you can see the error causing the problem, give them a hand. I try to assume people asking for help are truly trying to learn. Give them a hand rather than blindly sending them to the W3C site that they probably don’t know what they are looking at anyway.

  20. 020 // Baxter // 02.25.2008 // 5:42 AM

    My beef with those who would publicly call someone out over validation errors is this:

    Every savvy developer I’ve known is almost always already aware of the errors in their code, knows exactly why they’re there, and has them all down to just a couple of reasons.

    1) Some third party put it in there. Maybe the ad service, maybe a half-wit user trying to put in some formatting, but it was put in there in some way the developer had no control over.

    2) Company mandate. The overlords want X, they get X, and if it doesn’t validate, tough.

    3) He did it on purpose.

    In architectural terms, validation errors could be structural defects or scuff mark on the paint by the baseboard.

  21. 021 // Matt Wilcox // 02.25.2008 // 5:47 AM

    Here here!

    Nicely said Jeff, spot on.

  22. 022 // Adrian L // 02.25.2008 // 6:15 AM

    Not validating code is right up there with not checking to see how something looks in various browsers.

    Does code HAVE to validate? Not all the time - depends on the project. If there’s a reason it doesn’t validate, then that’s fine. If it doesn’t validate cos the coder was too lazy to check, then there’s no excuse.

    Same like a site doesn’t have to work perfectly in all browsers. Depends on the project.

  23. 023 // Joe Clark // 02.25.2008 // 6:23 AM

    A reason, apart from the ones that almost never occur, to validate somebody else’s code is when that somebody is a huge corporation, a government department, a public utility or equivalent agency that should know better – but still manages to produce a new site with tables, font tags, and Flash all over the place.

    In other words, the reason I do it is just fine. “Asshole” that, Jeff.

  24. 024 // Wilson // 02.25.2008 // 6:34 AM

    Hi jeff. I have been reading your blog for years and I used to honestly enjoy it. Lately, your posts are self indulgent and make you appear as if you are think you are better than everyone else on the web. I’d like to see some of the old style come back and you should be more open to the opinions of others. Keep truckin..

  25. 025 // Sam McDonald // 02.25.2008 // 6:50 AM

    Gotta say, there is some web site that I do think should always validate, and that is W3C pages. It makes me laugh when they don’t.

  26. 026 // Natalie Jost // 02.25.2008 // 7:13 AM

    Alright, I was just saying to myself last night how lucky I am that I haven’t had a legalist bugging me lately and then over night (literally) I had two on my blog. One I didn’t even post because it was a “christian” legalist and she was a jerk. The other guy I posted because his wasn’t actually mean, just ignorant.

    Seriously, who cares if your site validates if you use code that doesn’t make sense? We were talking about floating an ol and I use spans around lis to split them up. A couple of people mentioned starting a whole new list with a different start number. Um, yeah, that just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe I’m wrong, but that sounds like using HTML for presentation, and so just not the coolest thing to do, not when the alternative is invisible (albeit invalid) spans.

    Grr. sometimes web standards isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, I should just go back to Frontpage, then everyone would be happy. Hahahahaha.

    BTW, thanks for posting this Jeff, I feel “validated” :)

  27. 027 // macx // 02.25.2008 // 8 AM

    Yes, I am - in your point of view - an asshole! I check others code to see, if they understand their job.

  28. 028 // Kevin Tamura // 02.25.2008 // 8:12 AM

    Right on Jeff. Code should make sense and if you have to bypass validation so be it.

  29. 029 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 8:50 AM

    In other words, the reason I do it is just fine. “Asshole” that, Jeff.

    Heh. There definitely are reason that are just fine, and that’s why I said “almost”. Your reason may well be just fine. But I’m not sure I understand your reason — your validate the markup of those huge corporations that should know better — but why? What do you do with the results? Are you just satisfying your curiosity (because that would be just fine)?

    Just wondering what your end game is when you validate their code. :)

    Hi jeff. I have been reading your blog for years and I used to honestly enjoy it. Lately, your posts are self indulgent and make you appear as if you are think you are better than everyone else on the web. I’d like to see some of the old style come back and you should be more open to the opinions of others. Keep truckin.

    Thanks, Wilson. I am kind of aware of that tone I’ve been putting out there, and it does bother me. I don’t want people thinking this, because I definitely don’t feel this way at all. I’ll definitely watch myself more going forward, and I really appreciate you saying something. :)

    Gotta say, there is some web site that I do think should always validate, and that is W3C pages. It makes me laugh when they don’t

    They probably should, yes — but there are regular people making those pages, too. And regular people make mistakes.

    Yes, I am - in your point of view - an asshole! I check others code to see, if they understand their job.

    Again, why? To satisfy your own curiosity? Or so you can publicly shame those people? If you’re just satisfying your own curiosity, I see nothing wrong with that (I’m never curious like that, but it’s totally fine that you are). However, in my experience, people rarely validate others’ markup without plans to publicly shame them if they find errors.

    Curious…did someone pick yours apart?

    Not recently, no.

  30. 030 // Devon Young // 02.25.2008 // 9:10 AM

    I typically check others code if their site doesn’t work right or looks off in some way, or if I want to learn why or how they did something. I don’t think most people think much about checking code unless they suspect something is wrong in it….and when I say wrong, I mean “doesn’t quite work” not invalid. I admit though, I will pick apart someone’s coding if they really did a stupid job at it and claim they are good in some way. Really, accessibility is more important than validity.

    Curious…did someone pick yours apart?

  31. 031 // Beckley // 02.25.2008 // 9:15 AM

    Hmm, sounds like you were pissed off by false logic. Markup validity has nothing to do with validity of opinion, so those cats using one for the other are for sure being assholeian. Sorta like saying you didn’t mow your lawn right so don’t talk to me about politics.

    Personally, I validate other people’s markup in order to learn. There are so many brilliant coders out there. And actually, I wish I’d get feedback about my code more often. I don’t know how many times something’s been broken that I was oblivious to for days.

  32. 032 // Jason Beaird // 02.25.2008 // 9:36 AM

    Looks like you were trying to live up to that last bit of your tagline - Instead of rocking the boat though, you found a common nerve. Nobody likes ignorant validation renegades. Especially when we’re all doing so much ourselves to spread web standards. Having code that doesn’t validate though just gives those who are still learning targets at which to throw stones. As petty and annoying as that is, I’m afraid it’s something we just have to anticipate.

  33. 033 // Jason Beaird // 02.25.2008 // 9:55 AM

    In regards to Joe Clark’s Comment, a huge corporation, a government department, a public utility or equivalent agency doesn’t need to be told “hey, your site doesn’t validate, you should fix that now, kthxbai”, they need to be told what the SEO and accessibility consequences are for the big mistakes they’re making. I assume that’s how you approach those “almost never occur” situations. In that case, you’re not being an asshole at all, but altrusitic. The difference is in the motive and approach. In my experience, most people who say “but, that doesn’t validate” are indeed being assholes.

  34. 034 // Matt Sanders // 02.25.2008 // 9:56 AM

    I’ve guilty of being overly critical in the past. When I look back on it… It wasn’t that big of a deal. Great post.

  35. 035 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 9:59 AM

    Looks like you were trying to live up to that last bit of your tagline - Instead of rocking the boat though, you found a common nerve.

    Heh. I never try to to rock the boat. Rather, it just always seems to happen — so I’m owning it. :)

    In that case, you’re not being an asshole at all, but altrusitic. The difference is in the motive and approach. In my experience, most people who say “but, that doesn’t validate” are indeed being assholes.

    Well said!

  36. 036 // Andrew Ingram // 02.25.2008 // 10:52 AM

    But sometimes it’s fun to be an asshole :(

    We should all set aside one day a week where we can be total assholes, I suggest Sunday since it is at the ass end of the week.

    Honestly though, I don’t explicitly validate people’s markup but I do have plugins installed that do it automatically when I view source (for my own usage mainly) which means I tend to be aware if a site validates or not. If someone asks for criticisms, validation will be on the list; but I don’t regard it as a major criticism as there are usually far more important things to worry about.

    But on the subject of unwanted critique and your rocking the boat logo, I find myself curious as to your reasoning for not using the sprite trick for your hover effect.

  37. 037 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 11:21 AM

    But on the subject of unwanted critique and your rocking the boat logo, I find myself curious as to your reasoning for not using the sprite trick for your hover effect.

    I was too lazy to put that together. I probably should, though — it would definitely be an improvement!

  38. 038 // Jason // 02.25.2008 // 11:53 AM

    What about the sites that proudly display the W3C XHTML 1.whatever badges in their sites footer, but when you validate the page, it is invalid?

    Claiming to be something your not is considered asshole-ish in some cultures.

    And for people to argue that they can’t control what markup users or ads put in their pages, I say that is total rubbish. Either use an engine that allows you to remove invalid markup or don’t claim to be valid.

  39. 039 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 12:57 PM

    What about the sites that proudly display the W3C XHTML 1.whatever badges in their sites footer, but when you validate the page, it is invalid?

    I agree that this is annoying, but still think you’re acting like an asshole if you respond to it by publicly shaming the person.

  40. 040 // Parrfolio // 02.25.2008 // 1:17 PM

    Quote of the day:

    Usually, if you’re validating someone else’s code, it’s because you’re being an asshole”

    Ha Ha stupid Standardista’s. :)

  41. 041 // Scott Johnson // 02.25.2008 // 1:29 PM

    It figures that the very first post in reply to this is a link to the validator…

  42. 042 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 1:35 PM

    It figures that the very first post in reply to this is a link to the validator…

    I think that was sarcasm for the sake of humor. :)

  43. 043 // Bridget Stewart // 02.25.2008 // 4:31 PM

    We should all set aside one day a week where we can be >total assholes, I suggest Sunday since it is at the ass >end of the week.

    Thou shalt keep ass-holey the Sabbath”, so saith Lord Ingram.

    Now this is a commandment I can get behind. :)

  44. 044 // Grant // 02.25.2008 // 9:07 PM

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said. For all those that loudly try to validate their asshole behavior I think many more of us let out an “amen”. Tools are rarely, if ever, meant to be public shaming sticks.

  45. 045 // Karl // 02.25.2008 // 10:26 PM

    I try to avoid doing this to others, but recently it would have been welcomed if someone had pointed out invalid code on a site I was doing. I’d made one error in the template, and this had duplicated to half of the site. It took me a week to noticed, and the error did cause an issue in one (lower usage) browser.

    I agree that valid code does not equal good code, however invalid code can cause rendering issues in certain browsers. Of course valid code can also cause issues in certain browsers (IE stand up and take a bow).

    One should only use a validator to validate code, and not people however. Discounting someone’s opinion or statements because their code doesn’t validate is stupid.

  46. 046 // Alex // 02.25.2008 // 10:30 PM

    Off-topic: I just noticed that lines that start with a quotation mark use proper hanging punctuation—gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside :) Did you code that yourself? Now that I think about it, it doesn’t seem too hard to implement… might try doing it myself when I have the time.

    (By the way, Devon’s comment is also out of order, in case you missed it; it’s after your response.)

  47. 047 // Jeff Croft // 02.25.2008 // 10:43 PM

    @Alex: I did the CSS, and typogrify automatically classes any initial quotes. Really quite easy!

    Also, Devon’s comment doesn’t look out of order to me. Hmm…

  48. 048 // Ross // 02.26.2008 // 1:50 AM

    I recently validated another site because the person trying to sell their services was offering complete sites for under $70. I pointed out to the client that there were about 1700 “errors” on this company’s portfolio sites (all seemingly run off the same horrific template system).

    The sites didn’t render at all in FF, and were barely usable in any other browser.

    Sometimes it’s something that can aide the internet in ridding it of web pollution.

  49. 049 // Don Ulrich // 02.26.2008 // 2:10 AM

    Web standards can be used as a copout to mediocrity by ppl who can’t or will not validate. Folks can’t blather on about standards and not validate XHTML. With XHTML there is no such thing as well formed, invalid markup. PPL who adopt the web standards flag as their own and blast validation do not understand that XHTML is a lower order language than HTML. If you don’t understand this that’s fine use an HTML DTD. XHTML is not a brand. It has a targeted purpose.

    If you have a XHTML page with XML errors and the browser parses it anyway the browser is quirking your markup and falling back to HTML to render your page. That’s fine just don’t use XHTML if you do not understand how to apply it. XHTML is not just about namespaces SVG or math ML.

    What most of your readers may be unware of Jeff is that semanticaly authored valid XHTML can be queried as easily as a database using XSL. Parsing Microformats would no longer need Js as XSL is native to XML.

    To me these people are short sighted when they tell me XHTML validation is not important and call ppl legalists. I’ll refrain from calling them assholes.

  50. 050 // Jeff Croft // 02.26.2008 // 8:20 AM

    What most of your readers may be unware of Jeff is that semanticaly authored valid XHTML can be queried as easily as a database using XSL. Parsing Microformats would no longer need Js as XSL is native to XML.

    I think you’re not giving my readers very much credit, if you say most of them probably don’t realize that.

    To me these people are short sighted when they tell me XHTML validation is not important and call ppl legalists. I’ll refrain from calling them assholes.

    No one said validation is not important. I think validation is quite important (I run the validator across most sites I code, many times). I just think it’s my job to use the validator to debug my own sites, not other people’s. I think maybe that point was lost on you. This wasn’t “blasting validation,” it was blasting people who use validation as a measuring or shaming stick.

  51. 051 // Andrew // 02.26.2008 // 11:13 AM

    Great post, again. I enjoy your web log.

    My overwhelming question to all the comments on here from people who disagree is just Why do you care? I mean, aren’t there better, more-profitable things to do than to critique other people’s code without their asking? I know I am far too busy for that.

    An idea: instead of trying to find fault with other people’s work, spend the time improving your own. I recognize that you can learn from others’ mistakes, but that shouldn’t involve trying to humiliate them…

  52. 052 // Adam Vandenberg // 02.26.2008 // 11:47 AM

    XSL is native to XML

    This does not compute.

  53. 053 // Natalie // 02.26.2008 // 3:21 PM

    To me these people are short sighted when they tell me XHTML validation is not important and call ppl legalists. I’ll refrain from calling them assholes.

    If you’re referring to my calling people “legalists” - I’m not referring to people who like validation because I love validation. I call people legalists in the same way Jeff calls them assholes. A legalist isn’t someone who loves the law and tries to follow it. A legalist is someone who points out when others are breaking the law and tries to shame them for it. That’s what we’re talking about here. You are not a legalist until you publicly shame me for my non-valid markup.

    What I like to see in people is mercy: giving people the benefit of the doubt and instead of assuming they’re a joker coder who touts web standards and doesn’t follow it, maybe they’re busy with other things and behind on checking a particular site. Maybe something was added recently and the validation check didn’t happen at the time. The coder probably genuinely doesn’t know their site doesn’t validate and may welcome a kind heads up. But a nasty “you’re not following web standards” or any kind of public shame is totally inappropriate!

    [going to check my code now]

  54. 054 // Jeff Croft // 02.26.2008 // 3:39 PM

    In short, I think Nat is saying that we all need just a little more tolerance.

  55. 055 // Shane // 02.26.2008 // 8 PM

    I totally agree.

    If they want to do it by sending an email, it is also like you said still annoying, but better. It’s almost like people who always point out the obvious, or better yet one of those guys that think they are an expert in EVERYTHING!

  56. 056 // Bane // 02.27.2008 // 3:11 AM

    Great post I just spent way to long reading re’s but the responses were great and I couldn’t stop… Really liked when that person said you had been ‘self indulgent’ in recent posts…

  57. 057 // Billy // 02.27.2008 // 7:46 AM

    Poster: Curious…did someone pick yours apart?

    Jeff: Not recently, no.

    Don’t mean to be an a-hole, but Jeff you need to be called out on this one. Your site has been criticized publicly. Recently, actually — Feb. 17. and you responded to the critics on Feb. 21. This article is dated Feb. 24.

    It’s not my intention to out you, but I feel that you should own up to criticism.

    http://www.cssbeauty.com/archive…

  58. 058 // Matt Stanley // 02.27.2008 // 8:44 AM

    Oh Billy!

    Over there at at cssbooty.com, folks criticized his design, his disregard for older browsers, and his choice in haircuts, but as far as I could tell, no one said his markup didn’t validate… which is what his post here was about. You just demonstrated Natalie’s legalism to the hilt.

    Oh, and kudos on using CSS Beauty as “your” URL. C’mon, have the courage to post your old, poorly marked up site (like mine), instead of anonymously sniping.

  59. 059 // Jeff Croft // 02.27.2008 // 8:51 AM

    Billy: I linked that that CSSBeauty thread here on JeffCroft.com. If that’s not acknowledging and owning up to the criticism, I don’t know what is. Like Matt said, that thread wasn’t about my markups validation (or lack thereof). Devon was clearly asking if someone picking apart my code for validation errors was the impetus for this post. It wasn’t, so I said it wasn’t. End of story.

  60. 060 // Josh Walsh // 02.29.2008 // 12:27 PM

    @Jeff

    You’re code doesn’t validate:

    Your” grammar doesn’t validate either.

  61. 061 // Jeff Croft // 02.29.2008 // 6:51 PM

    @Josh:

    Your ability to read doesn’t validate, because I’m not the one who said that, Neil Kelty did.

    Thanks for your insightful input, though. (rollseyes)

  62. 062 // Just Somebody // 03.02.2008 // 4:03 AM

    Oh my… this post nearly scares me out. I just added the xhtml validator addon to my firefox browser for the purpose of checking out on some of my sites and I visited your site after restarting the browser and the first thing I see is this.

    Makes me wonder for a short moment if you had some special ability to know what I’m doing.

    Phew!

  63. 063 // Nita // 03.02.2008 // 2:48 PM

    I don’t see how “shaming” via validation results is supposed to work in a competent community (which is the kind of community most people here seem to belong to).

    So, someone wants to spend their precious time running my site through a validator and reporting the results… great! Free testing, voluntary user participation in development - usually you have to work hard for that kind of stuff ;)

    As for using the results to “shame” the author - well, that’s the equivalent of posting a book review based only on the number of red underlines the text would contain in Word - i.e., ridiculous.

    Doesn’t everyone whose opinion matters understand that? And shouldn’t those who haven’t yet caught on be gently educated, instead of being painted as some sort of desperadoes? :)

  64. 064 // Scott Lenger // 03.02.2008 // 4:59 PM

    too funny. I almost did that once, but caught myself in the nick of time!

  65. 065 // Karl // 03.03.2008 // 11:58 AM

    Nita,

    you raise a valid point. If we want to bring the ‘desperados’ around to our way of thinking, I also believe we need the ‘softly softly’ approach instead of the electric cattle prod method.

    Perhaps pointing them in the direction of this article (and comments) would be a good start?

  66. 066 // ian // 03.04.2008 // 5:37 AM

    My mate sent me this, but none of his stuff validates; so he would, wouldn’t he?

  67. 067 // zodman // 03.04.2008 // 3:53 PM

    asdasdasdasdas

  68. 068 // loghun // 03.11.2008 // 11:28 PM

    Good post.. Did not knew about validation before….

  69. 069 // Collin // 03.12.2008 // 7:36 AM

    First time reader, first time commenter (I’ll pick up your RSS though!)

    Just wanted to say, I don’t even check my own code for validity, let alone others!

    Does it look good? Does it work in all browsers? Then what’s the problem?

    I can’t stand the use of validation for “points scoring”, it’s simply pathetic.

    The only time I have checked other sites is if I’ve been asked to!

  70. 070 // hypotheek // 03.13.2008 // 5:01 AM

    I think this post gives a great example of the mentality within the designer / coding scene in general. We are just so insecure and vulnerable we feel the urge to burn code or designs from others…

  71. 071 // Abraham Estrada // 03.14.2008 // 12:09 PM

    Validation is for code standards, come on. If you don’t validate, you’re not following the standards and that’s why Microsoft with his IE doesn’t care. How hard is for you validate with code standards?

  72. 072 // Ralph Masters // 03.15.2008 // 11:46 PM

    Ok this may sound stupid but…

    As a new coder, i want to get off on the right foot and make my code validate… But, at times the W3C Validator is slightly confusing and fixing an error results in a dozen more etc.

    Is there any Validator service aimed at “more stupid people” that gives better hints and corrections on getting the Markup right?

    Yeah i know, i’m a halfwit and should just learn the terminology and to code perfectly but for now is there any “beginners” Validator?

  73. 073 // Ptah Dunbar // 03.21.2008 // 9:05 AM

    Ok, I get it. Validating your code is something to strive for. Everybody knows that there are multiple ways of coding a layout to achieve a certain effect. There are invalid ways, and then there are valid ways.

    Taking the time to validate your code to me simply means that you care about doing it right. Maybe you know to how pull off a certain technique, but it fails validation.. that just means that you just have to try it again in a different way so that it’ll validate. I know rules are there to be broken, but if the barrier to fixing this problem simply means that all you have to do is reformat your markup, is it all that bad?

    I don’t want to come off and sound like an asshole or anything, I completely agree what you said Jeff and I am not one of those people, but I guess it’s just me being a perfectionist and if it means that I have to learn how to do a certain technique 4 or 5 times in order for it to valid, then I take that as a challenge.

  74. 074 // hawken king // 03.24.2008 // 11:38 PM

    I’d say I have to agree with the above posts 72 & 74.

    I can understand that it must be annoying to see people slagging each other off for not using standards but you shouldn’t discourage people from not validating their code! otherwise we get into the same situation we’ve always been in, where standards go out the window.

    I mean, what was the point to this? Are you saying that if we comment on other peoples code pointing out their mistakes? No one is infallible my friend. Even ones-self.

  75. 075 // Jeff Croft // 03.24.2008 // 11:44 PM

    I can understand that it must be annoying to see people slagging each other off for not using standards but you shouldn’t discourage people from not validating their code!

    Hawken: If you can find someplace where I encourage people to not validate their code, I’ll PayPal you $1000 right now. Good luck.

  76. 076 // James Harrow // 04.01.2008 // 10:01 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. Excessive use of validators with regards to someone elses code can be a real pain in the neck. Validators are there to use them wisely!

  77. 077 // Tyler Gore // 04.01.2008 // 8:25 PM

    Nice post.

    The whole standards movement, while liberating and much needed, has also bred a lot of “code nazis.” Purists are annoying in any context. Pointing out validation errors is about as charming as harping on typos in someone’s writing.

    Most of us focus on “what works” when creating a website. When the push for everyone to code according to standards first emerged, with CSS gurus urging everyone to stop creating table-based layouts, the passionate idealism made sense — after all, there can’t be “standards” if most people (including browser developers) pay no attention to them. So pragmatism was frowned upon in favor of purism.

    But by now, most people are coding this way (or at least know they should be), and browsers are increasingly compliant. So everyone can relax a little, and stop with the validation jihad. No one likes a fanatic.

  78. 078 // James Creare // 05.07.2008 // 3:46 AM

    Thats a good post, at my web design company, our customers have reported to us on several occasions that hot shot web design/SEO salesmen, who know nothing about web design go into their office, bring up the web-site that we have designed for them, and run it through the W3C validator.

    After revealing a few mistakes, the salesmen proceed with their sales pitch to poach the business.

    HATE IT !

  79. 079 // Sharp // 05.28.2008 // 5:57 AM

    Excessive use of validators is a real pain in the neck.

  80. 080 // Adult // 05.28.2008 // 6:47 AM

    If you want valid code in a CMS I would recommend using something that uses XSL templates. A good developer will be able to create you something that is impossible to be invalid :)

  81. 081 // Aquos // 06.07.2008 // 5:34 PM

    I agree with you. Good developers create things that validate most of the time.

  82. 082 // oli // 06.10.2008 // 8:31 AM

    I always make sure I validate my code before uploading any websites. It just makes sense to validate the code yourself so you know it will be up to the standards.

  83. 083 // Max // 06.28.2008 // 3:44 PM

    Nice post! Validating the code is most important part… Validate And Don’t be an asshole ;p

  84. 084 // Clark // 07.10.2008 // 11:01 PM

    Does it really have a huge effect in SE if your website is w3c compliant. Ive noticed most big sites are not valid.

  85. 085 // Kevin Design // 07.25.2008 // 1 AM

    I agree. For some people it’s a boasting point - especially when it comes to selling a product to a client. It is important, but it’s not the be all and end all.

    Nicely put post =)

  86. 086 // Firebubble Design // 08.03.2008 // 2:45 PM

    Great post, markup validators are often just a pitching point for salesmen with no web design skills poaching business. I try to make all the sites I develop W3C, to avoid this from happening, but never use it to check others code as it isn’t the be all and end all of web development.

  87. 087 // SJL Web Design // 08.08.2008 // 2:39 PM

    I agree that w3c can be useful to check your own mark up, but for salesman to use it to try poach business is not what it is intented for.

  88. 088 // Mike // 08.12.2008 // 7:44 AM

    Very good post - this open eyes on W3C.

  89. 089 // Disabled Designer // 08.13.2008 // 1:40 AM

    I completely agree with SJL web design, i have seem W3C mark up being used as a sales tool. Not very ethical i say.

  90. 090 // SEO Co // 12.15.2008 // 2:31 AM

    I used to work for a company who would regularly test potential clients websites against the W3C markup validator and if it failed, they base their pitch around it failing. I always disagreed with this as it seemed that the W3C validator was losing its intended purpose, and was becoming more of a dodgy salesmen tool.

  91. 091 // Hot Myspace Layouts // 01.28.2009 // 6:42 AM

    Not sure if excessive use of validators serves any good.

  92. 092 // Webtiful web design SEO // 02.26.2009 // 6:12 AM

    Validator = standard, less manual work, less error.

    Thank you for sharing …

  93. 093 // web design norwich // 04.02.2009 // 5:56 AM

    Goto agree with SEO CO about it being a tool for dodgy salemen. I used to work for a web design company where the salesman/owner of the company used to ring up prospective clients and tell them their website didn’t validate, giving them the hard sell into getting a new website. This and similar tactics made me leave that company!

  94. 094 // Richard, Peacock Carter Web Design // 08.20.2009 // 3:15 PM

    It’s a tool for debugging.

    Absolutely; nothing more needs to be said!

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