To Validate or Not To Validate

Every time I use a new theme for my blog, I immediately strip out any indication that it’s W3C Valid if there is any. I don’t want to accidentally mess it up and get the hardcore guys on me whining that I’m using the valid logo inappropriately.

As I come down the finishing stretch of finishing my first theme, Amalgam, I’m faced with that big problem: the question of validating or not. One of the ‘big things’ is to have your website be W3C XHTML valid. This basically means your site passes the World Wide Web Consortium’s standard for XHTML coding. There are lots of rules and even more nuances. I have never paid it much attention since as long as a page has looked good and worked for me, I haven’t bothered messing with it, just to be able to get that little W3C Valid logo on my site. But now that I’m planning to release this theme for mass consumption, validation has become a hot topic. One of the (seemingly) main criteria for a theme is to be W3C valid.

Needless to say, my template isn’t there yet.

I spent a good block of time today trying to fix as many errors as I could. I started off with something like 55 errors and fixing the stuff I could easily (an external hit counter was creating 6 or 7 errors, getting my CSS IDs and classes mixed up caused like 20-some errors) brought me down to 24. Now I’m looking at the errors and I’m not really sure why they’re there. Usually I get something like this tag is not allowed to be used here. Well, why? I’m definitely going to have to do some research into these little things.

And the thing is, my template looks fine in all the browsers I’ve tested it with so far (even IE which is pretty shocking since it likes to be difficult a lot of the time). So how is this W3C valid tag going to make my site any better?

It comes down to following rules and regulations. Proper practice, interoperability and all that are pretty much guidelines when it comes down to it. Just like in the engineering world where perfection is measured against economical value. Spend 60% of your resources and time to get 85% results or spend 95% of your resources and time to get 100% results? It comes down to efficient use of resources and in my case, time and effort.

So my theme is looking fine and is working fine. Am I going to try and get it to validate still? Sure, I’ll definitely try. But the instant I deem my efforts are no longer worth the incremental benefit, I’ll drop it and be happy with what is the end product. After all, that little logo isn’t that important to me. Should it be that important to you?

[tags]w3c, xhtml, validation[/tags]

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