A software package a day: HTML Validator

Yesterday I talked about Firefox’s Web Developer package. One point I wanted to make clear is that it is a great “kitchen sink” for getting started, but also that there are better tools for doing specific tasks. One of those “better tools” in the CSE HTML Validator. The program does all of the validations that the “Tools” menu in the Web Developer does and more. I have been using it to clean up web pages for many, many versions now and if my goal is to do more than a few pages worth of validation I reach for it first.

This isn’t a tool for the casual user though: there are plenty of free options out there that do a decent job at the various validation tasks. Being able to navigate a website and do live validation is a huge advantage. Unlike many validation tools, CSE can deal with script tags without confusion and even notes problems in the JavaScript strings correctly. This is not a simple tool which means there is quite the learning curve (which is something most validation tools really *don’t* have). Once you get comfortable with the software though you will find a lot of niggling details that you never noticed and browser’s quirk modes may have smoothed over. I believe that it is best to find these hidden problems before a customer does via an upgrade to their favorite browser and no tool does it better or faster.