Total Validator

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I came across a site this week that provides a true service to the web design community. Total Validator was set up by Andy Halford in 2005, and allows the designer to not only make sure his/her pages produce valid code, but also to view a rendering of the page tested in a number of different browsers. The site itself is a solid CSS layout.

Why validate?

On one, concise page, Andy makes argument for having valid code in your pages:

Top three reasons to use Total Validator

Why test at all if your website looks okay in your browser? Here are the top three reasons:

Number One: Search engine robots/spiders are very fussy and will not search or index some or all of a site if they come across invalid HTML. So if you want to be properly listed you need to be sure your HTML is valid.

Number Two: This should be reason number one, but unfortunately it’s not yet considered as important as search engine listings. Just because you can use your website doesn’t mean that someone with a disability can. You should ensure your sites conform to the W3C WAI Accessibility Guidelines, (and that also means strictly W3C validated HTML), or US Section 508 standard, if you want your site to be accessible to all.

Number Three: Just because your website looks okay in your browser, doesn’t mean that it will in someone else’s. There are many different versions of different browsers out there. What works for IE6 may not work for IE5. Using standard HTML can help, but for the ultimate test the screenshot (snapshot) feature can help ensure your site looks okay in browsers you don’t have access to.

For more reasons see the Validator blog

An excellent, free service.

But there’s more, and this deserves mention and your consideration as well. Andy also has a Pro Tool for sale, GB£20 (approx US$36, or €29), a desktop version of his free validator tool, which you can use to validate an entire site. The Total Validator online version only validates one page at a time, and Andy limits you to 5 pages per visit because of the popularity of the site. Most certainly worth the expense.

Perhaps a holiday stocking-stuffer for the web designer in the family?