I learned HTML at a time when some people were still building several versions of their site. I’m not talking about the web, mobile and iphone versions – more like the netscape and IE3 versions. That was a time when writing “standard” HTML was still a fairly novel idea, but a powerful one. It made sense: the alternative was “write standard code or risk having browsers crash miserably on your web page”.
That was more than a decade ago. Browsers, meanwhile, have made incredible progress at gracefully rendering even the most broken web page. And that is a good thing.
Does this make validation and quality checking of Web pages moot? Of course not. There are many more incentives to build great standard-compliant websites: ease of maintenance, show of professionalism, or, in the words of Zeldman,
Client who saves $5,000 buying cut-rate non-semantic HTML will later spend $25,000 on SEO consultant to compensate.
It makes me curious, however, to know what are the real-life arguments in favor of valid, standard code today. Do you have an untold story of validation getting you rid of an awful rendering glitch? Real-life accounts of a search engine bump achieved by fixing the syntax of you HTML
<head>? A typo in a CSS stylesheet that hours of glancing at code didn’t show, but the validator did? A forgotten
alt that would have lowered your search rank for an important keyword, or cost a big fee for non-accessibility?
Use the comments below to share and discuss your experience – we’ll update our outdated “Why Validate?” doc with the best examples.