HTML is the foundation of the web! HTML defines the structure and presentation of the website. Therefore, it needs to be clean, correct and validated.
HTML document validation is an automated process. Just like the Spell-Check feature in MS Word enables you to identify and correct spelling and grammar mistakes in the document, there are HTML validators that enable you to validate your HTML coding. However, there are cases where HTML validators return cryptic or arcane-sounding results that confuse the web developers. And fixing these errors can be a daunting task.
It is not uncommon to make mistakes while writing code. To ensure that the code is written correctly and to fix any undue errors, HTML validators are used. There are a number of free online HTML validators available on the web that are up-to-date and efficient. In fact, the World Wide Web Consortium, W3C has its very own W3C HTML Validation Service at http://validator.w3.org The W3C is a standard body that offers specifications and guidelines to enhance the accessibility of website and define standard HTML specifications.
It is very easy to use the W3C HTML Validation Service. You just need to enter the address of the online web page, upload the HTML file or documents. After you have done this, the service will automatically display a list of all the potential problems in the HTML. You can correct all the mistakes and resubmit it to confirm the consistency of the document.
However, in order to sort the problem, you would need to know what the problem is and how it can be sorted. This is something that bothers a lot of young web designers and developers who are fairly new to the intricacies of HTML. Fortunately, some of the most common HTML errors are in fact common. Here are some popular errors and ways to fix them.
Absence of DOCTYPE
The HTML document should start with a DOCTYPE declaration. In fact, it should be the first line of your document. If you do not start the HTML document with a DOCTYPE declaration, HTML validators will not be able to perform their job.
Absence of Closing Tags
One of the most common mistakes that happen in HTML coding is unclosed tags. Especially, I you have the habit of copying and pasting codes among documents, there may be several instances where you start a tag but forget to close it. This can wreck havoc on the layout of the web page.
Improper Nesting of HTML Tags
This is the case when you forget to close HTML tags in the reverse of the order in which you opened them. This further leads to discrepancies in the overall code. However, once you spot them, it is extremely easy to fix them. All you need to do is to arrange them accordingly.
Absence of Quotation Marks
Often in case of hyperlinks, people tend to start quotation marks but forget to close them. This results in the link not being created at all. It is important to go through the text carefully and close the quotation marks.
Absence of ALT Attributes
Alt tags are necessary in tag in order to display the alternate text that describes the image used on the web pages. Without the Alt tag, the image will be on its own supplying no information to search engines and thus hampering the accessibility of the website.
Once, you have corrected all the errors in your HTML codes, resubmit the document to the validator in order to ensure that the code is clean and free of all inconsistencies.
By Joe Haworth
Joe Haworth heads up Enigma Web Design, and can be contacted by visiting his site. Enigma is a Web Design and SEO company based in Preston Lancashire.