What Is HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) Validation and is it Necessary?

Grammar, grammar, grammar. Languages have a set of rules for how words and sentences should be structured. These rules known as syntax delineate how programmers write source code. They are the governing agents in computer programming that define declarations, commands, functions and various other symbols every programmer needs to understand in order to write code that will create the desired web pages. The universally accepted programming language, with grammatical rules and guidelines that enable search engines to read documents properly and uniformly is html. When designing a web page, in order to have it seen as intended by multiple browsers and operating systems, the code must be free of errors and maintain an accepted format that will allow the appearance of the web pages to appear the same to all users on various systems.

HTML validation finds areas within the html code that may prevent search engine spiders from accessing the website. The validation helps to develop pages which are search engine friendly. If the web pages contain html errors, not only the browser may have difficulties to parse it out, but also the search engines will take more time to spider the pages and thereby extend test time. Maintenance and updating pages are easier with HTML validation.

HTML insures the order of the characters or symbol placement in a text will clearly and uniformly describe the page structure when it is displayed. The importance of HTML validation is to monitor syntax errors such as forgotten quotation marks, extra spaces or open tags which can cause web pages to look vastly different from one browser to the other or from how the web creator intended the web pages appearance. The symbols or characters webmasters use in specific areas of the text will translate into what you actually see on the site.

It is time consuming or virtually impossible to verify the integrity of HTML elements manually, and especially difficult when validation rules vary as in XML* (Extensible Markup Language or CSS **(Cascading Style Sheets). A validation program will enable the user to easily find errors and choose how to correct them.

The benefits of HTML Validation include faster loading time. Removing unnecessary code creates smaller pages which can make a website load faster. Users prefer to visit websites that load faster. This can lead to more repeat customers and in turn improve search engine ranking. A reduction in bandwidth can reduce the cost of your hosting site when you cut down on web space by producing clean code. Ensuring your site is compatible with all web browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer is not optional if you want to be recognized and increase traffic flow to your website.
*XML (Extensible Markup Language) recommended by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), provides content while HTML gives pages their structure. XML is a simple format to store and transport data or information, while HTML is used to display that data on the web pages. XML contains markup symbols to describe the contents of a file or page in terms of what data is being described. The X, which is the extensible in XML means the markup symbols are unlimited and self-defining.

**CSS or Cascading Style Sheet are the technical specifications for a layout. It insures that a design meets its exact specification and tells the Web browser how to render the document being viewed. Every Web page has at least one style sheet, by default or intention. The designer has the ability to instruct the browser to use a chosen style sheet instead of the one provided by the Web browser. For example, a font can be redefined by the designer. CSS is perhaps the most powerful tool a Web designer has to affect the entire design of the Web site.

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