Working together for standards The Web Standards Project

We’ve all been there.

You’ve got a blog. You’ve spent hours getting the templates and CSS just right. It even validates. You are the model of a cool, modern, standards aware weblogger.

So you post a new entry to let the world know that you are now compliant. You even include a link to the validation results for your page so your readers can see for themselves. You go out for a drink to celebrate a job well done.

When you get home, your inbox is full. It’s all the same thing, from visitors to your site. They’re saying that your page doesn’t actually validate. “But that can’t be,” you say, “I just got it validating and i haven’t changed the templates since. All I did was post one entry!”

You run the page through the validator again and, sure enough, there’s a big “This page is not Valid XHTML 1.0!” warning and an error message. You look closer and it all becomes clear.

The URL for the validation results that you linked to has something like “.../check?uri=...&detect_charset=...” in it. You’ve let a bare, unescaped ampersand slip into your pristine page. For shame! So you escape it properly and vow to be more careful posting links in the future.

Of course that lasts about a week and before you know it, you’re getting more email from concerned visitors pointing out that your site doesn’t validate because of more bare ampersands in URLs (OK. maybe you don’t. we sure do anytime our site doesn’t validate).

It’s a never ending battle and the temptation is to just give up and admit defeat.

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between constant, tiring vigilance and going back to the land of “almost compliant” pages. At least not if you use Movable Type.

With some help , Gavin Estey has made the world safe for standards compliant blogging with the SafeHref MT plugin. It automatically escapes the ampersands in your href’s and lets you post free of worry.

Finally, you can relax and get on with the blogosphere gossip and meme propagation that makes your weblog the beautiful and unique snowflake that it is.

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