Martin Probst's weblog

Time for new HTML Validator?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 09:35 — 0 comments Edit

Sam Ruby (author of the excellent feed validator) asks this question.

I think the problem is not really with the validator not detecting bugs, it’s more about the fact that nobody really cares to look at it. I don’t think the situation can be fixed by providing a better validator. There is just no short term, visible benefit in making pages conformant (except maybe bragging in front of your friends).

Nothing will make people invest time (= money) into fixing their pages if they don’t get anything in return. There is no use case for conforming and valid pages, everything we do today works with invalid pages.

I think the only thing that would make webpages better would be the advent of a new technology that would crucially require valid webpages. However, noone will design such a technology, as anyone knows that all the pages on the web are invalid …

The only thing that can be done is avoiding the same mistakes with XML and e.g. ATOM feeds. Don’t consume incorrect feeds, so that people notice if their feeds are broken. Otherwise we’ll end up with something like HTML is today: building any app consuming HTML is unbelievably expensive and tedious, because all of the available HTML is broken. We should avoid this for XML, even if it means a little more expenses for the producers at the beginning.

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