Mike Davidson, art director behind the now-legendary ESPN.com CSS redesign, announces the redesign of ABC News, touting it as a success of
real-world web standards means. It apparently doesn’t mean valid: the validator spews hundreds of errors at the time of this writing. Granted, Davidson admits that
the overwhelming majority of errors…are ampersand-related and [they’re] fine with that, perhaps since valid code isn’t really required to meet their users’ needs.
And surely unencoded ampersands couldn’t louse up a web application.
But if Davidson and Disney are “fine” with the current state of their code, that’s of course their prerogative. After all, for a brand that size to launch an online property that validates right out of the gate? Surely that’s expecting too much.
I’m of the mindset that validation isn’t an ideal, it’s a necessary baseline. The true costs of a software project are incurred in maintenance; ensuring that your code is standards-compliant — and yes, valid — will keep support issues to a minimum, and your clients happier. That’s not to say that it’s easy, not by a long shot; Davidson and his team have done a stellar job of applying (nearly valid) CSS to a media-rich web site, and I’m sure site owners and users alike are reaping the benefits of lighter pages that are easier to maintain.
However, to say that validation is unimportant and then call your work
web standards? Real world or otherwise, it smells like semantic snake oil to me.
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