Thursday, Aug 25, 2005 1:51:21 PM
My competition is not valid. Well, at least their code isn't. The other day I came across an html/xhtml validator link - so I ran the ArtistServer artist homepage through it and it came back with an obscene amount of errors.
It turns out - none of the pages on ArtistServer validated as good code. This got me down. But then I ran several of my competitor's sites though the validator - and they too weren't validating.
All of my competition FAILED validation:
This was no excuse. Having valid code is key for many reasons - one of which, is that it improves the opportunity for search engines to index your site. If a spider is crawling through your code and it's filled w/ errors, it will skip your pages. I want to make clear here, that these errors I'm talking about are for the most part, "NOT" noticable to the user. I've been looking at ArtistServer for years - the pages always looked good and rendered well. Little did I know, my browser was ignoring a lot of simple errors.
If you are a geek, you might have noticed that I'm going with "DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional" and not "XHTML 1." At this point, I don't see a need to make those kinds of changes to the site. I also felt that getting the site to validate at it's current state would set us up for a better transition into "XHTML 1."
Funny thing about some of the sites on the Web that are doing well or are very busy as the 'new' thing - they don't validate either:
- www.backpackit.com - 6 errors - failed
- www.43things.com - 34 error - failed
- www.flickr.com - 6 errors - failed
- del.icio.us - failed - it wouldn't even parse it
- last.fm - 2 errors - failed
- www.boingboing.net - 132 errors - failed
- www.icerocket.com - 40 errors - failed
A few passed:
- www.rubyonrails.org - passed
- www.technorati.com - passed
- www.feedburner.com - passed
Ok - back to ArtistServer... why so many errors? One aspect has to do with the amperstand symbol being used in URLs. Any site which has variables passed in the URLs will not validate - period. This was news to me, and probably news to most Web developers, as I see most people have this very same problem.
I've sat down for three sessions and worked on modifying the code to get it all to validate. So far, I've cleaned up 16 pages, which includes all the pages in an artist account, the site homepage, the music page and most other key pages on the site. I have around 25-30 more pages to check. I'm happy to say that the main/core pages of ArtistServer are now valid!
Now for the rest of you developers out there... clean it up! :)
BTW - If you are an artist or member on ArtistServer, and you add HTML to your site, you may want to validate the code before you publish it to the site. Visit the following site to validate your code:
- ADD TO: