Category Archives: Marketing

Code validation: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (turn and face the strain)

I started teaching HTML in the ’90s. At that time, I would tell students that valid code was important for several reasons, but the one that seems to stick was that it might help them troubleshoot why pages (p-p-p-pages) looked so different between browsers at the time.

You see, at that stage, there were many different browsers, but Netscape was the current champion with Internet Explorer the up and coming underdog. While there were standards for coding your Web pages, neither browser really followed them, which is why some pages could look wildly different between IE and Netscape.

I rejoiced when the World Wide Web Consortium put their online Markup Validation Service up. Now students had an easy way to confirm that their code was leaner, cleaner, and truer to the standards.

At that time, the student might not know if the problem was with their code or with the browser. By validating the code, they could start to eliminate potential problems.

Fast-forward to 2006. IE is the current champion, and FireFox (a relative of Netscape) is an up and coming underdog. While the new roles certainly signifies ch-ch-changes, the need for valid code remains the same.

XHTML (the evolution of HTML) is all about logically defining how content relates and not about how it looks. CSS is supposed to take care of that.

CSS1, the first level of the standard, took care of the basic visual chores of the horrid font tag and a few other simple visual feats. CSS2 (and 3) took on a much larger role. There are logic flow capabilities now, so that you can specify “if a heading level 3 is a direct child of a heading level 2, make it green, otherwise, make it red”. This is a powerful, but very hard to troubleshoot if your code is not logically marked up.

It lookd gud 2 me

Matt Cutts, master Google guy, brings up a good point. Although he is talking about general spell checking of your Web page content, it really goes beyond that.

The example that he shows has two mistakes (although he only noticed one initially). The word guarantee has a typo, and also don’t is missing the apostrophe before the t.

The point is simple: content counts. The example given is trying to sell you something. You can do all the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you like, and bring in hundreds of thousands of eyeballs to your site, but if your content is filled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes, you will not be able to convert them to sales (or whatever your goal of the site is).