The Web Design Group

Style guide for online hypertext

Validate the document

To ensure that a document can be successfully read by any browser, make sure it adheres to the syntax rules for HTML. You don't need to do this by hand, that's what computers are for. Several tools exist to check HTML for syntax errors. See the WDG's list of validators for a complete overview.

Don't assume that since the document renders as you expect in the browser you use, it is valid and will be displayed this way by all browsers. A browser is designed to fix bad HTML, and sometimes it may even be able to completely repair a syntax error so the result is what was intended. However, such fixes are usually dependant on the browser's parser, so a future release (with an updated parser) may repair the invalid HTML differently.

Test the document

Even when the document passes validation, it will not necessarily work as you intended on all platforms. Several programs are available tho check documents for stylistic problems. Even a syntactically valid document can be hard to read because of things like forgotten alternative texts for images, unwanted whitespace, deeply nested lists or non-hierarchical use of headers.
Previous Next Table of contents
Web Design Group
Last updated: 30 Sep 1997
Copyright © 1996 - 2006. Arnoud Engelfriet.