An introduction to website validation

Check and Verify your website -> Testing issues for your website

Validation is the process of establishing documented evidence that provides a high degree of assurance that a product, service, or system accomplishes its intended requirements. This often involves acceptance and suitability with external customers.

It is sometimes said that validation ensures that you built the right thing and verification ensures that you built it right. Building the right thing refers back to the user needs, while building it right checks that the documented development process was followed. In some contexts, it is required to have written requirements for both as well as formal procedures or protocols for determining compliance.

Validation of a website is a process of checking your documents against a formal Standard, such as those published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)  for HTML and XML-derived Web document types. It serves a similar purpose to spell checking and proofreading for grammar and syntax.

It is important to note that validation has a very precise meaning. Unfortunately the issue is confused by the fact that some products falsely claim to validate, while in fact applying an arbitrary selection of tests that are not derived from any standard. Such tools may be genuinely useful, but should be used alongside true validation, not in place of it.

In the field of website development there are advocates of validation and those who say it doesn't matter. When you validate web pages using validator software or internet based validation tools or services, you simply check the content of the code to ensure it is valid and free from errors. Basically, validation ensures that code meets the basics required to meet industry standards.

Advocates of validation usually use strict DTD and are perfectionists. Many claim that the advantages of validation are that it increases traffic and improves search engine rankings as well as making the web pages more likely to appear free from errors in various browsers.

Another advantage of validation may be future compatibility. For instance, XHTML came about to exploit the advantages and minimize the limitations of XML and HTML. In the future, other languages are sure to emerge and converting to them will be less problematic if existing code on a server is up to standards.

It is very important to validate your website, even if it is working “fine” for you. The reason for that is simple, if your website has HTML or CSS errors it will rely on the error correction function of browsers.

Not all browsers correct errors on the same way though, meaning that your website might break down for some readers. Apart from this practical reason, web standards also play an important role on the compatibility issues of the Internet. The more people complying, the better.

In the menu on the left hand side, there are links for tools and utilities that will check your website in a variety of ways. Please use all so you can be sure that a browser that you are not using does not act up on your website and your site is tested and validated completely and to its fullest extent.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets standards that web developers should follow when creating websites, specifically with clean and valid HTML. Web sites with validating HTML can proudly be called W3C-compliant.

To be W3C-compliant, a web site must have well-composed HTML. Errors in your HTML may result in poor search engine performance, display problems, and prevent visitors with disabilities from using your web site.

Validating will greatly improve the quality and performance of your web site:

1. Web Marketing on search engines such as Google and Yahoo is more effective because search engine "web spiders" can easily read and sort through your clean HTML and deliver it to users.

2. Valid HTML allows browsers such as Internet Explorer to display your web site correctly and quickly when requested by an Internet user.

3. Your web site will be compatible with the latest platforms, such as cell phones and PDAs, and prepared for display on platforms of the future.
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