Checking Your HTML Documents

Once you have produced your HTML documents, they should be checked for errors. HTML creators such as Dreamweaver have built-in checkers for spelling, grammar and HTML code. Have a good proofreader read through your text and verify that all of your links are working.

HTML Checking

The traditional approach to HTML checking is to preview the document using your favourite Web browser. This works fairly well except that your test browser might be very forgiving of mistakes, perhaps more forgiving than the browser used by many of the people looking at your document. Dreamweaver provides a good built-in checker for HTML code; however, if you want a “second opinion”, you can also submit your HTML documents to an HTML syntax checker.

We recommend the W3C HTML Validation Service to check the syntax of an HTML document and return a list of (sometimes rather cryptic) warnings and errors. The checker tends to be very picky, but this is necessary to ensure that your HTML is readable by as large a population as possible.

You can access this service through your favourite Web browser. This is easy to use and is based on an SGML parser. It checks HTML documents for compliance with W3C HTML Recommendations and other HTML standards. On the web form, you type in the URL of your page and the program returns a summary of your errors (or declares your code valid). Note that your HTML file must be readable on the Web server (i.e., installed into your /web/www/your-unit-name area) and include a valid <!DOCTYPE...> declaration on the first line.

The form includes a number of options listed below the URL entry. Of these, the Show Source is very useful.  To do this, select Show Source to get a line numbered listing of your HTML file returned to help you track down your errors.

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