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Looking for arguments in favor of valid markup

As well all know, valid markup is important... but when trying to find
a convincing modern argument in favor of this, I found pages like
http://www.htmlhelp.com/tools/validator/reasons.html
which was very nice when Netscape ruled the World Wide Web, and
http://valet.htmlhelp.com/page/why.html
which is very suggestive but does not really give any factual example.

Is there something to be _shown_ to people who ask "why validate?"?
A page that works one way on IE and another way on Mozilla or Opera,
just because it has an HTML syntax error that gets processed in
essentially different ways?

All the tests that I souped up - say, wrapping a table and other stuff
inside <font>, using naked text inside <ul>, etc. - get similar
treatment on IE, Mozilla, and Opera. Different behavior on browsers
less common than these is important to me, but probably not to most
authors.

Most of the markup errors that would have an essential impact on
rendering on browsers probably have an essentially similar effect on
most popular browsers.

So does this really boil down to the conclusion that validation is
important for catching errors caused by _changes_? Suppose you write a
long page, later edit it a little. You might not check what it looks
like now if you only added a line. But you may have introduced a markup
error that turns the rest of the page bold, or something. If you
routinely validate your pages, your visitors would avoid some mess.

(Note: We know that in XHTML valid markup is a must, since it's XML and
in XML markup errors mean that the error is reported and nothing is
shown. But while waiting for XHTML to actually incarnate, does valid
markup really matter?)

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html

Jul 20 '05 #1
38 3608
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
(Note: We know that in XHTML valid markup is a must, since it's XML and
in XML markup errors mean that the error is reported and nothing is
shown.


It doesn't have to validate. It just needs to be well-formed. If you
want to produce a document with XHTML elements, the namespace is most
important.
--
Anne van Kesteren
<http://www.annevankest eren.nl/>
Jul 20 '05 #2
"Jukka K. Korpela" <jk******@cs.tu t.fi> wrote in
news:Xn******** *************** ******@193.229. 0.31:
Is there something to be _shown_ to people who ask "why validate?"?
A page that works one way on IE and another way on Mozilla or Opera,
just because it has an HTML syntax error that gets processed in
essentially different ways?

All the tests that I souped up - say, wrapping a table and other stuff
inside <font>, using naked text inside <ul>, etc. - get similar
treatment on IE, Mozilla, and Opera. Different behavior on browsers
less common than these is important to me, but probably not to most
authors.

Most of the markup errors that would have an essential impact on
rendering on browsers probably have an essentially similar effect on
most popular browsers.


Things get stickier once you start trying to script (DHTML) or style
invalid HTML. Of course, examples of this sort of failure would have to be
more substantial than the sort of simple examples that used to be able to
show incompatibility .
Jul 20 '05 #3
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

Is there something to be _shown_ to people who ask "why validate?"?
A page that works one way on IE and another way on Mozilla or
Opera, just because it has an HTML syntax error that gets processed
in essentially different ways?


Perhaps this?

http://ln.hixie.ch/?start=1037910467&count=1

Any differences appear to be fairly trivial, though. If I understand
it correctly, it's limited to applying css and accessing elements via
the dom that's affected.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #4
Jukka K. Korpela <jk******@cs.tu t.fi> wrote:
Is there something to be _shown_ to people who ask "why validate?"?
A page that works one way on IE and another way on Mozilla or Opera,
just because it has an HTML syntax error that gets processed in
essentially different ways?


I recently encountered a page (which has since been fixed by the author)
that included markup like

<h3>Lorem Ipsum</h4>

Opera displayed the rest of the page as though it were part of the H3.
Apparently, the author's browser(s) didn't, but I didn't check any other
browsers.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanford alumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp. com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"Advice is what you ask for when you know the answer but wish you didn't."
Jul 20 '05 #5
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
All the tests that I souped up - say, wrapping a table and other stuff
inside <font>, using naked text inside <ul>, etc. - get similar
treatment on IE, Mozilla, and Opera.


I'm not surprised, both Moz and Opera have fallen over themselves trying
to implement error behaviour similar to IE. Differences were greater
with earlier versions of Moz and Opera, but it's less easy to construct
convincing examples of rendering differences as a reason why folk should
validate with recent versions of these 2 browsers.

--
Spartanicus
Jul 20 '05 #6
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
(Note: We know that in XHTML valid markup is a must, since it's XML and
in XML markup errors mean that the error is reported and nothing is
shown.


A compliant X(HT)ML parser is only required to throw a parsing error,
Opera for example does this but it also renders.

Moz doesn't, this is a major problem because it can't render until the
entire document has been loaded.

--
Spartanicus
Jul 20 '05 #7
On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 18:50:09 +0000, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
As well all know, valid markup is important...


This might not answer you but it's just a thought. Valid mark-up does not
matter one iota to the end user. As long as the application (web page,
Perl script, C program, it doesn't matter) does The Expected Thing to the
end user, then that's all that matters. Valid mark-up only matters to the
developer, and it is important that he follows the standards set down by
the appropriate authority to ensure futureproofing of his work. Once a
standard has been set, it is not going to change. The application is
always going to work correctly as long as the interface adheres to that
standard. What is going to change is the interface - new versions of web
browsers, for example. Interface makers must do their best to support the
standards to make their product as attractive as possible to the user. The
problem is when interfaces do not adhere to standards or, even worse, make
up their own proprietary standards *cough*MSIE*cou gh*. This only serves to
fuck up development of the applications such that instead of writing valid
mark-up which should work in all so-called 'compliant' interfaces, various
'quirky' mark-up has to be written for each interface that differs.
Explain that to your boss, who thinks "as long as it works" and "it looks
alright to me". Tell him that next year, when the next release of x
browser comes out, all the apps may have to be rewritten.

And so, it is best if everybody stuck to standards, and that includes
browser makers.

And now I shall prepare for a shitload of corrections from everyone who
knows better than me :-)

--

..

Jul 20 '05 #8
Anne van Kesteren wrote:
Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
(Note: We know that in XHTML valid markup is a must, since it's XML
and in XML markup errors mean that the error is reported and nothing
is shown.


It doesn't have to validate. It just needs to be well-formed. If you
want to produce a document with XHTML elements, the namespace is most
important.


But then validation is much more important to SGML documents which
may include elements with only start tags and prohibited end tags
like in HTML... there's no way an UA could know if this is the case
if there's no DTD and the document doesn't validate according to it.

--
Stanimir
Jul 20 '05 #9
On Mon, 12 Jan 2004, Vigil wrote:
This might not answer you but it's just a thought. Valid mark-up does not
matter one iota to the end user.
Not in itself, no; but its indirect consequences may very well be of
critical importance, and in ways that the user themself is not really
aware of.
As long as the application (web page, Perl script, C program, it
doesn't matter) does The Expected Thing to the end user, then that's
all that matters.
For a rather diverse definition of "the application", yes.
And so, it is best if everybody stuck to standards, and that includes
browser makers.

And now I shall prepare for a shitload of corrections from everyone who
knows better than me :-)


Looks like you've got the Right Idea, which is the main thing ;-)

Jul 20 '05 #10

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