Everybody can benefit from authors passing their web pages through a validation process to ensure that they meet the HTML standards defined by W3C. It avoids problems with your visitors' browsers, and ensures that your pages will be seen by as wide an audience as possible, in the way that each visitor has chosen to see them. In my case, I validate 'Electric Soup' to HTML 3.2, or, occasionally, to the newer HTML 4.0 Transitional DTD.
It's a bit of a pain to do, but you can save yourself a lot of bother by setting up a page such as this for your site, if you have one. Every time you upload a new or revised page, all you have to do is select the correct link, and hey presto! - you'll get a report back in a few seconds. If you haven't tried this before, you may find there are a lot of errors - be willing to correct them all, lest a serious error be masked by all the 'trivia'. But you'll soon get the hang of it, and pages will start to come out right first time, with just the occasional error standing out.
I want you to enjoy your visit here, whether you're using a palmtop, a laptop, a speaking browser, a UNIX box, a Mac, the latest whizz-bang Pentium, an ARM-Powered desktop beast, a Network Computer, a WebTV or whatever. I hope nobody feels 'disadvantaged' or 'challenged' by Electric Soup. There are no 'frames' on this site, and the few tables should degrade gracefully on earlier browsers.
Please note that Electric Soup cannot guarantee that linked pages outwith this site will pass validation - that is a matter for their authors. For my part, I have made every effort to ensure that all my pages pass HTML validation.
If you would like to validate your own pages, you can check them at The W3C HTML Validation Service, now under the care of Gerald Oskoboiny, who created the original KGV Service.
If you would like to check your own pages for disability access, page loading speed and browser compatibility, visit Bobby.
These little icons have to be earned, unlike some I could mention!
From studying the numerous resources available on the web, I came to realise that the counters I'd been using were not accurate. They relied on visitors having graphics switched on in their browsers. Added to that many Service Providers have web caches, which store a copy of frequently accessed pages on their own sites to reduce pressure on internet bandwidth. As a result of this, as far as I'm able to judge, the counters read about 40%-50% low!
I continued for a while to maintain them for two reasons:
Incidentally, I also got to know what graphical browsers are being used - assuming 'graphics' is switched on. For example 'Lynx' users don't show. I'd still welcome comments from Lynx users, and people using 'talking' and other specialist browsers.
However, the workload in maintaining the pages and clearing out the log files was too much to warrant the effort, so I decided to drop counters when I revised these pages in July 1998.
There are bags of sites on the web offering advice on authoring but not all give good advice! Of the two listed below, the first is one which has helped me immeasurably, as it offers links to all the authoritative resources one could possibly require. Indeed, it led to the creation of the second site, to be found within these pages.
If you need web design advice of a more general nature, Jakob Nielsen's thought provoking Alertbox articles are highly recommended.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html is a very useful newsgroup dealing with this topic. Please make sure your postings to it are strictly relevant to HTML - there are separate newsgroups dealing with graphics, Java, ActiveX and the like.
If you do decide to post an enquiry there, please make sure that you have first consulted the 'Frequently Asked Questions' available from the Web Design Group website. I would suggest holding back from posting until you have become reasonably familiar with the newsgroup and the way it works.
Please note that this is also a very busy group, with several hundred postings each day.
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Electric Soup © I.W.Logan MCIT 1998. Last updated: 10 Nov 98 at 1540GMT.