Validating Your Website
Once your site gets published online, how it will appear to visitors will mostly depend on the browser they are using. Each browser has its own way of interpreting your site’s code. Moreover, browsers have different error-correction functions unique to them. This means that your website may be up and running for some visitors while “borked” for others.
Website validation is the process of ensuring that a particular web page, or the entire site, conforms to the standards set by several Internet organizations. Validation is important as it will ensure that your website pages are universally understood by different browsers.
Put simply, website validation is a one way of ensuring that your website complies with standards acceptable to majority of web developers and web designers, which in turn makes your website available to your visitors, across most browsers and operating systems (OS).
Here are some other major reasons why you should have your website validated:
- • As a debugging tool: most contemporary browsers have advanced built-in parsing techniques to catch errors – from the most obvious glitches to the more complex bugs. Most web professionals first check the errors detected during website validation whenever they encounter a web scripting or web styling bug.
- • As a quality check against future platform changes: Web validation is one of the simplest ways of checking whether a website conforms to Web standards. It also provides a guarantee that future website browsers and platforms will handle it as is.
- • Ease of maintenance: Creating a website in accordance with widely accepted coding standards makes it easier to do site maintenance
- • Develops good development practices: automated validation tools are invaluable error-checking tools that can be used by students as building blocks for more complex quality assurance concepts
Website validation tools
Below are four online tools that you can use to validate your website:
- • W3C Markup Validator: this validates your HTML or XHTML codes. You can either paste the URL of the page you want to check or upload a raw file
- • W3C CSS Validator: this validates your CSS codes. Again, you can either use a URL or upload a CSS file
- • Feed Validator: this validates all versions of your website RSS and atom feeds to ensure that visitors do not have issues receiving your feeds
- • Total Validator: this is an online and desktop program that can be used to validate your website. Features include:
- • HTML validation: you no longer have to validate your site page by page – with this tool, the entire website is automatically crawled and submitted to the validator
- • Accessibility: your website will be checked for any existing accessibility issues
- • Spell Check: this tool also has a built-in spell checker
- • Link checker: will check your site for any broken links
When using a validator to check your website pages (HTML, XHTML, CSS) a list of errors will be generated. Review the errors and then go through all your files to fix them.
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