SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: HTML Validators
Re: SIGIA-L: HTML Validators
From: George Olsen (george.olsen_at_pobox.com)
Date: Thu May 24 2001 - 12:39:25 EDT
At 8:42 AM -0700 5/24/01, Lyle_Kantrovich_at_cargill.com wrote:
>In order to make sure sites work
>well in our main target browsers, HTML/page validation seems to be a
>quick, cheap, and effective method for testing what pages are likely to
>have trouble in new or old browsers.
Actually HTML validators are _not_ a good way to do this because pages with
perfectly valid HTML can -- and do -- fail to render properly in browsers
due to poor standards support and outright bugs -- this is particularly
true for CSS.
>Browser compatibility testing, link checking, accessibility checking
>all relate to usability and implementing an accessible IA.
Um, I'd say they're actually QA issues not IA issues -- but they're still
>Any recommendations on how to best test your site code to ensure that
>it works in all target browsers? Manual testing seems very error-prone
>and time intensive and we'd like to avoid it as much as possible.
There's of course the HTML and CSS validators at W3C <http://www.w3.org>
which are useful for making sure your pages are coded correctly, but won't
tell you if they'll render properly.
<http://www.drhtml.com/> (free for single pages, costs to test multiple
pages, can be licensed) does report which tags in your page are supported
by which browsers, which is helpful, but no substitute for actually looking
at pages to see if they render properly. And yes this _is_ time consuming.
DrHTML also does link checking, spell checking (albeit clumsily), image
size analysis, and other useful stuff you don't get with a traditional
If you're willing to trade money for time
<http://www.netmechanic.com/browser-index.htm> offers a service where you
submit a page URL and it renders it in 14 different browser/screen size
configurations and sends back screenshots. Haven't used it myself but it
got good ratings. At $120/year for unlimited used, it's probably worth
checking out, however, I don't know how long it takes to get results --
which is an important consideration when debugging. Unfortunately it only
tests the most popular configurations so you won't get info about old
For accessibility, you can test pages at <http://www.cast.org/bobby/> and
the test engine can be downloaded.
But ultimately QA work is time-consuming and there's not necessarily
shortcuts. However if you're doing a template-based site, you can usually
test the templates until they're bullet-proof and then you can load content
and only have to check those parts of the page, which is generally easier.
George Olsen george @ interactionbydesign.com
User Experience Architect 310-993-0467
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:41 EST