The Importance of Writing Standards-Compliant Code - dummies

The Importance of Writing Standards-Compliant Code

By Sue Jenkins

First and foremost, designing websites that follow web standards helps ensure that anyone using the web — regardless of their browser, device, or operating system — can view the content on a web page. Additionally, following web standards also makes sites easier to maintain and thus makes them an even more cost-effective method for communicating with site visitors than traditional methods of marketing and communication.

The more all Internet software and hardware manufacturers comply with these World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendations, the better all web visitors’ experiences can be. That’s where you come in.

As an added bonus, besides being accessible to the widest possible audience, standards-compliant websites are more likely to load faster in a browser and tend to have better search engine rankings than their non–standards-compliant counterparts.

Ultimately, though, the number one reason to use web standards is that by following them, you can honestly and proudly present yourself as a professional web designer or developer. This not only makes you look good, but it also makes your clients look good too, and that’s good for everybody’s business.

To help be a part of this Internet utopia, you must do your part to follow the recommendations when writing the HTML, HTML5, XHTML, CSS, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, and other programming code for your websites. Most WYSIWYG code editors, such as Dreamweaver and Expression web, do a respectable job of writing standards-compliant code — particularly when certain Accessibility preferences are set within the applications.

However, it’s ultimately up to the designer or developer how standards-compliant that code is. This is especially true for anyone who intends to hand-code, hand-edit, or use HTML code editors such as TextWrangler and BBEdit.

Above all, you must do your part to ensure that the code is written in correct, valid, semantic HTML (code that uses tags to accurately define contents, such as <li> tags for list items) and that the code follows the recommendations of the World Wide web Consortium (W3C), the organization that helps develop these standards.