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  1. #1
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    Exclamation W3C Website Validation Categories Question

    Hello,
    I am by no means a web designer, but I've been involved in a long & drawn-out redesign of my company's site over the last year. We finally have some live pages to look at but the site is a mess (breaking when minimized, etc.), and I've just discovered something that seems rather strange. On our new homepage, the designer has placed a W3C XHTML 1.1 badge but when I found the W3C Markup Validation Service, the site only passed as XHTML 1.0 Strict. When I ran the 1.1 test it gave me the following error message:

    DOCTYPE Override in effect!

    The detected DOCTYPE Declaration "<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">" has been suppressed and the DOCTYPE for "XHTML 1.1" inserted instead, but even if no errors are shown below the document will not be Valid until you update it to reflect this new DOCTYPE.

    My question is this a big deal. Is my designer trying to say that the website is compliant with a more updated set of code than the site really is.

    Additionally the site failed the W3C's CSS Validation service with the following errors, and I'm just not sure if these are common little blips that come with most new sites or if something is fundamentally wrong with how the site is coded:
    145 #leftnav_atm Value Error : margin-right Too many values or values are not recognized : 10px 0
    446 a.print Value Error : background-position Too many values or values are not recognized : bottom-left
    749 a:visited Value Error : color Lexical error at line 749, column 17. Encountered: ";" (59), after : "#" ;
    750 a:visited Value Error : color Parse Error }
    URI :
    89 ul#menu li:hover ul, ul#menu li li:hover ul, ul#menu li li li:hover ul, ul#menu li.sfhover ul, ul#menu li li.sfhover ul, ul#menu li li li.sfhover ul Property zoom doesn't exist : 1
    URI :
    5 body Value Error : position top is not a position value : top
    76 #content Value Error : position top is not a position value : top

    Any advice or suggestions is much appreciated. Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by Kabdriver; 08-10-2012 at 05:53 PM.

  • #2
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    First of all, a site “breaking when minimized” doesn’t necessarily have to be a result of erroneous HTML or CSS, it might just be a result of bad coding practices (i. e. no scalability or consideration of different preconditions of the end users’ devices). The code can be perfectly valid and yet, the page could look messed up under certain circumstances. On the other hand, a document with errors doesn’t necessarily have to break or look messed up. It depends on the severity of the errors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    Is my designer trying to say that the website is compliant with a more updated set of code than the site really is.
    Basically yes. Apparently the document is declared as XHTML 1.0 so you can’t say it’s valid XHTML 1.1.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    My question is this a big deal.
    Technically, it’s not. Morally it’s as big as you make it. I wouldn’t worry too much about the result of the validator but I’d still suggest to not have any “valid” badge at all. After all, it’s more a programmers’ thing anyway, nothing for the average public, and it might confuse interested amateurs when they see ambiguous results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    Additionally the site failed the W3C's CSS Validation service with the following errors, and I'm just not sure if these are common little blips that come with most new sites or if something is fundamentally wrong with how the site is coded
    One of them is a “common” error (a property that is not defined as standard CSS but necessary for support in IE), the others are plain wrong (could be typos or negligence or lack of knowledge, I don’t know). But errors in the CSS usually result in those rules being ignored. If something screws up then it’s the application of the CSS on the HTML that is badly executed.

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  • #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIPStephan View Post
    One of them is a “common” error (a property that is not defined as standard CSS but necessary for support in IE), the others are plain wrong (could be typos or negligence or lack of knowledge, I don’t know). But errors in the CSS usually result in those rules being ignored. If something screws up then it’s the application of the CSS on the HTML that is badly executed.
    Thanks so much, VIPStephan!
    Could the "common" error result in a very distorted site in IE? Currently the site looks "fine" in Firefox, Chrome and IE9, but it's all jacked up in IE8. I know that 8's not the most current but many of our customers are on the older side and probably don't have the most up to date technology.

    I'm assuming this is way too complex of an issue to boil down to a single point or two, but are there a couple of concrete pieces of evidence that basically can help discern typos from a lack of knowledge? I'm starting to wonder if the only way to complete our site is finding a new designer, but the only way that will ever happen is if I can have some solid ammunition that outs our designer as an amateur. Aside from the errors I posted previously, the site also registered 100+ warnings (mostly dealing with undefined colors, undefined font families and the need for redefined image locations). It also notes that the site has been coded using iso-8859-1 character encoding rather than UTF-8, which seems to be the typical recommendation.

    Rather than relying on CSS, for the backbone of the pages, the site also looks to be made from a Photoshop image sliced up to be pasted onto a very basic skeleton, which just didn't seem to mesh with other current sites that we've used as inspiration for our new site.

    I'm sorry if I'm throwing too much out there. I'm just grasping at straws at his point...
    Last edited by Kabdriver; 08-10-2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: typo

  • #4
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    Could the "common" error result in a very distorted site in IE? Currently the site looks "fine" in Firefox, Chrome and IE9, but it's all jacked up in IE8. I know that 8's not the most current but many of our customers are on the older side and probably don't have the most up to date technology.
    No, that “common” error that I saw from the snippet you posted (“Property zoom doesn't exist : 1”) is actually fixing issues in IE that other browsers get right in the first place. However, it is not required for IE 8 anymore (but not breaking anything either), and honestly, IE 8 isn’t exactly “on the older side” in terms of recency, it’s a web developer’s dream compared to the previous versions, and it’s totally acceptable to still use that version (the most recent one is version 9 and people aren’t always upgrading immediately). If a site is all jacked up in IE 8 then it’s clearly a sign of either total incompetence or complete ignorance on the part of the developer because it’s not actually that hard to get it working in this version of IE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    I'm assuming this is way too complex of an issue to boil down to a single point or two, but are there a couple of concrete pieces of evidence that basically can help discern typos from a lack of knowledge? I'm starting to wonder if the only way to complete our site is finding a new designer, but the only way that will ever happen is if I can have some solid ammunition that outs our designer as an amateur.
    Well, actually my last point is a concrete evidence that you should find another designer/developer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s incompetence or ignorance, if they don’t deliver, they aren’t the right person for the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kabdriver View Post
    Rather than relying on CSS, for the backbone of the pages, the site also looks to be made from a Photoshop image sliced up to be pasted onto a very basic skeleton, which just didn't seem to mesh with other current sites that we've used as inspiration for our new site.
    If this is true then this is also a sign that it’s not the right person for the job. But I do have to clarify that a great designer doesn’t necessarily have to be a great coder/developer. So, if you hired a graphic designer to design a website (i. e. create the graphics) it doesn’t mean they are also great at converting the design comps into a working website.

    But how to proceed with them depends on the agreement under which you hired them. As a professional web developer myself I would say get someone else to code it properly.

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