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  1. #1
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    Validation Important?

    I am wondering how important HTML and CSS validation actually is. In university we were all taught how important it is to ensure your code is properly written. Currently interviewed many web companies. Honestly speaking, they never validate their code and in many cases having inconsistencies between web browsers. Is this common practice in the industry?

    As these customers are completely uneducated in the web most of them are non the wisest, and since they get their product quicker than normal they are always happy.

    So how important is validation? Serious answer’s only. I know how to validate and therefore I always validate, therefore charging extra.

    Where these lecturers of mine right to be hard-liner valuators, or was it all hype? What do you all make of what I said?

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    validation

    From a pragmatic point of view, you could say if it "works" it's "good enough". But IMHO having non-valid mark-up, style, code syntax, is a shaky foundation. It's harder to trouble-shoot problems and impossible to be confident that no obscure bugs will appear if you don't have a good starting point to begin with.
    True, just because everything is valid doesn't in itself make a great page, but it's a start.

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    SitePoint Evangelist Karpie's Avatar
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    Why do you charge extra for doing your job properly, and validating?

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If it doesn't validate then it is guaranteed to not work on at least some of the thousands of different browsers out there. Unless you test your page in all of the thousands of browsers you will never know for sure which it works in and which it doesn't work in. Since such a test is impractical, validating to the standards and testing the most popular five or so browsers is usually a good compromise. At least then you know that it works for the majority of your visitors and that for those where it doesn't work it is their browser that is broken and not your page.
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    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    Honestly speaking, they never validate their code and in many cases having inconsistencies between web browsers.
    So the answer to the question is....!
    Is this common practice in the industry?
    Only from the remnants of the days when it didn't matter. But the trash takes years to decompose.
    As these customers are completely uneducated in the web most of them are non the wisest, and since they get their product quicker than normal they are always happy.
    In such a case, they can't be happier because they must not have ever known the difference. As more become aware of other browsers, and get more complaints from customers, those smiles will quickly turn to frowns.

    I know how to validate and therefore I always validate, therefore charging extra.
    I agree with the previous poster. Not only do I never bring this up to non-technical customers, I always provide valid markup. There is no extra charge because I write markup the way it is to be done. I would expect no less from anyone else. When I write letters, my letters all have proper syntax, too. I don't charge anyone extra for using a spell-checker either.
    Where these lecturers of mine right to be hard-liner valuators, or was it all hype? What do you all make of what I said?
    Letting invalid markup slide through is the mark of a lazy coder or one who doesn't know how to do it properly; such as one who uses Dreamweaver only in design view (or whatever it's called). Oblivious to the errors of their ways, they rely on others, the browser vendors, to make their code work for them. They are the type that, rather than make things happen, they let things happen to them.

    Validating is easy, but valid markup does not guarantee the page will turn out correctly either. So I can just imagine what a shoddy job the rest of the page is. It's like the guy who drives some old, junker of a car to work.

    "Well, it works", he'll say, "and it gets me where I'm going," he might say, too. But you'll never see him in the nice part of town and don't expect him to win any races. I wouldn't bet on him.

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    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    Those lecturers were right after all. Thank you guys for your advice, I think now I understand how the topic goes. For the record, I always hand-code and I always validate it. If I struggle to validate it, there is always the sitepoint forum. :-)

    We charge the companies per hour, this is why they incur additional charges for validation, because it normally takes me longer. But then again, if you want a proper job doing, you are probably going to pay for it. It's the company that charges extra, not me. They basically ask me how long it will take me to do the job, and then charge the client accordingly.

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    SitePoint Evangelist Karpie's Avatar
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    Or you could just code it correctly from the get-go, and not have to spend extra time later validating.

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    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    You never validate "later". You validate as you go along. Like spell checking and proof-reading any document.

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    Makes sense if you think about it. Normally I validated after, but it would save an awful long time if I did it on the get-go. Thanks for your tips and for giving me a new insights to how you work. I will from now on validate as I go along.

    On a different point, does Dreamweaver produce validated code? How does this program work in terms of w3c standards?

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Dreamweaver can produce valid code if it is configured correctly to do so.
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    I am also a believer in validation however, if you look at some of the worlds biggest websites (google, yahoo, facebook,youtube to name a few) they don't do it.

    Surely if it was so important the biggest websites in the world would be doing it?

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    Oh, and to name one more: sitepoint.com. Only the one error on sitepoint.com which shouldn't cause many problems compared to several on the aforementioned websites

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    well, theres a saying, it doesnt matter if u loose by an inch or a mile, loosing is loosing
    Last edited by web67; Apr 15, 2008 at 20:08.
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    standards

    To me it's a matter of Professionalism. This means not only doing the best I can, but also never performing below standards, as well as striving to keep up with new knowledge. To me producing valid code is "standard", not "extra". I would lose some respect for any professional, (Doctor, Mechanic, Plumber, House Painter, etc) that was willing to deliver anything less than "standard", at lower prices or otherwise.

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    @above, well said!
    Last edited by web67; Apr 15, 2008 at 20:08.
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    Whilst I agree with what you are saying my question is: If the majority of the most popular websites aren't doing it surely this takes away some of the credibility of validation?

    As for a definition of the most popular websites go to: http://www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sit...ntry&lang=none from the top few i know the bbc.co.uk site now validates very few of the others do.

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    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by web67 View Post
    well, theres a saying, it doesnt matter if u loose by an inch or a mile, loosing is loosing
    Lose is spelled L-O-S-E.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Newell View Post
    I am also a believer in validation however, if you look at some of the worlds biggest websites (google, yahoo, facebook,youtube to name a few) they don't do it.

    Surely if it was so important the biggest websites in the world would be doing it?
    Without looking up to see if I said this already, some of those sites are so big it's difficult to move them. They have embedded software, structures and so on, and people, that just won't budge. But doing something the wrong way, and it works, doesn't make it right. They may regret the mess they're in some time in the future.

    Have you looked at MSN.com? They occasionally only have one or two errors.

    If you write a math formulas, and get the right answer even though you divide by zero, how much faith do you have in that formula if the parameters change?

    I just cannot fathom how anyone an think that producing computer code that contains errors is OK; even if it works. An error is an error. Just because it works once, in a specific situation, doesn't mean it will always work in every situation.

    Try and see how many errors you can get away with writing code in C, Python, Ruby, etc. LEARN TO CODE.

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    o! thanks 4 correcting!
    Last edited by web67; Apr 15, 2008 at 19:55.
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  20. #20
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    You will also find that some of the big companies occasionally break the rules knowingly in order to support the significant number of their visitors still using really antiquated browsers such as Netscale 1 which everyone else is small enough to ignore. In those instances testing their page on thousands of different browsers has probably been done in order to make sure that even the minority rowsers that don't come close to supporting the standards can still display the page.
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    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    It's interesting you should say this. For large website I can imagine how difficult a validation task would be. But if the developers validated as they went along, then theorically, it should not be that difficult. Anyway I think I have sparked an interesting dicussion.

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    So back to my question - does the big websites not having code that validates take away from the credibility of code that validates?

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard drhowarddrfine's Avatar
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    As one coder to another, I look down upon them, yes. But no one else would know.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    @Lee,
    no, I don't think it takes away from any credibility... more that it simply shows that non-validated code has enough browsers helping them with error correction that the "practical parameters" are quite loose. Meaning you can get a lot of garbage to work. That doesn't mean it's not garbage, nor does it mean that the content of the site or the status of the company behind it is not credible (except if they're a web-building company... I always look at the code of those who offer "professional services" in making websites or even web designs... and I have found very few in my area which have any understanding at all that there is such a thing as valid code and that there is more than just Internet Exploder out there).

    I wear cheap clothes made in the worst slums of Cambodia, and won't last me more than a few years if that, but that doesn't stop me from wearing them, nor does it mean that those who make nice, well-made clothes are working too hard for nothing... and yet if someone is high-priced because they have good designs, but the product falls apart after a year, then customers will stop or reduce buying their products... similarly, Yahoo and other sites may have invalid code but if it were invalid to the point that too many people could not visit it or have a frustrating experience with it, they will stop visiting.
    Instead, those poor poor folks at Yahoo have their work cut out for them if they want to make any changes to their site (at least the mail page... man that's nasty spaghetti code!). The cost is theirs. They could have avoided it by building a better product, but, tough.


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