This post about web standards struck a chord wih me. Because I promote TopStyle as a tool for building standards-compliant sites, I frequently get email reporting that my own site doesn’t validate.
However, the reason it doesn’t validate is quite simple. My site uses Atomz search, and Atomz offers proprietary elements which control how a site is indexed. For example, Atomz won’t index anything wrapped in
<noindex>..</noindex>. I use
noindex elements on every page to skip indexing the navigation links, which causes the W3C’s validator to complain that my site isn’t valid XHTML. This inevitably leads to email from people calling me a hypocrite.
Now, I’m all for web standards. I’ve been creating sites since 1995, and I’ve learned the hard way how writing browser-specific code leads to problems down the road. However, I consider standards-compliance a goal, not a requirement. Limiting the usefulness of my site’s search feature just to make it 100% valid XHTML seems way over the top. Standards-compliance isn’t an uncomprising religion, but rather a practical business decision that must be weighed alongside the other goals of your site.