Look At Me, I Am Cool Because I Am Valid

I was playing around the other day on one of the many news sites I visit and there was an article about can’t-miss web site “footers.” So, I checked out these masterful designs and what did I find? Nearly all of them had “Valid XHTML” and “Valid CSS” links on them. Most, like my humble little blog, had fancy little 80×15 buttons too. And then it hit me – WHY!?

I am sick and tired of these buttons. Honestly, I don’t give a crap if your stupid homegrown blog is valid code, so long as it renders properly in my browser. I’m not using an accessibility application, and I wouldn’t stop visiting a site if it weren’t properly semanitcally marked up. I bet you very few external apps will choke if you enter a URL with an & instead of a properly escaped &. XML needs to be validated. HTML and XHTML don’t. HTML has survived because of so many browsers having such a capable quirks mode. Frankly, as of right now, I find the entire validation link concept obnoxious.

Slapping some tag on your page does nothing for your reader – if they truly have a screen reader or some such device, it will either work or not, no checking for a silly button. If the browser is a text-only browser such as Elinks, it will either render or not, but ironically, it will not display your stupid “Valid” buttons.

Furthermore, for almost every blog, validity is a product of dynamically build pages and feeds born from a database backend, and unless you are doing lots of checking, validity can be comprimised by invalid input, regardless of the quality of code.

OSNews v3 was written to render in virtually every browser, and to do so, it uses Eugenia’s mix of HTML 2 and HTML 3, a subset often called C-HTML. The code is just plain ugly, but it works. And it sure as hell isn’t valid.

Maybe it’s blasphemous for a web programmer to say such things, but the fact remains, bragging about or advertising your validity is pointless, and I think most of your readers have trained themselves to ignore it. Also, if your code works and renders properly, what difference does it make?

I’m sure people out there disagree and will tell me why I’m wrong. But in the meantime, I will be removing the buttons from my site the next time I edit my blog code. Pffft.

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