The Two Great Things About Validation
Post from January 30, 2009 (↻ March 30, 2016), reflecting Jens the Developer.
This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved e-book: On Web Development.
There are two great things about validation: Validating helps technical understanding as it contributes to awareness of the underlying specifications, and writing valid code is a sign of professionalism.
Put another way, developers who don’t validate most likely learn and know less, and invalid code can in most cases be considered unprofessional.
However, invalid code doesn’t necessarily mean inaccessible or unmaintainable code. That’s a myth. You can invert that statement too though: Valid code does not mean accessible or maintainable code, nor efficient or fast code. Anyone stating that is wrong or has different motives, as the advantages and great things about validation are, see above.
From my comment on Valid sites work better (?). Revised.
About the Author
Jens Oliver Meiert is a German philosopher and developer (Google, W3C, O’Reilly). He experiments with arts and adventure. Here on meiert.com he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.
it looks like our CMS ate your comment or something to that effect, I can’t see your comment in the (empty) pending queue. Can you resend?
Olivier, sure, I just submitted the comment again (twice, actually, the latter fixing a broken link).
Published! Thanks Jens for your patience.
I find it a bit scary that comments migh be lost like that, though…
Excellent post - and right to the point.
Replace “validation” with “alt text in HTML 5″ and you pretty much sum up my thoughts on that point also. Alt doesn’t make it accessible and missing alt doesn’t make it inaccessible, but having a guideline for implementing it educates, supports accessibility, and is professional.
Thanks, Olivier, Jared!
@alt, Jared, yes, that debate may be philosophical
Although I would agree that invalid code doesn’t have to mean inaccessible or unmaintainable code, I would say that valid code is definitely easier to maintain.
The big link between accessibility and validation is that valid code should behave more predictably across different browsers than invalid code. Of course that is a utopian view as browsers don’t just treat invalid code differently.
On July 7, 2013, 2:18 CEST, Alistair Lattimore said:
I agree valid code is a sign of professionalism but it can’t be a black and white scenario, as a lot of publishing platforms still get in the road of idealistic outcomes like W3C validation.
I say idealistic because browsers are largely indifferent to valid HTML versus invalid HTML, rightly or wrongly - that is just how things are.
Given that browsers are so tolerant of valid or invalid HTML/CSS, what would you prefer in general:
1) lean but invalid HTML/CSS or;
2) bloated but valid HTML/CSS