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Stories on Webdesign

A new online validator

08 September 2005

For years now the W3C validator has been the leading online (X)HTML validator out there. You can upload your files, link to a page on the Internet or just paste your code and on the click of a button your code gets validated (or not ;-) !). But it has its limits and isn't always that accurate. Furthermore it doesn't validate your markup semantically, only syntactically. So you might be writing syntactically correct markup, but it can still be a semantic horror-story . Finally there's an online validator that can combine these two things as well as tell you what kind of Accessibility errors your code (might) contain:


Instead of me elaborating on the who, what, where and how, here's the short introduction by the makers themselves:

"Relaxed" is an easy to use HTML validator implementation which doesn't use the official W3C DTD's. It rather validates HTML documents using it's own schema definitions written in Relax NG with embedded Schematron patterns. This is an extremely expressive combination of languages which enables validation of additional restrictions which can not be expressed using DTD. This includes most restrictions specified in the W3C HTML 4.01 and the W3C XHTML 1.0 recommendation and some restrictions from WAI WCAG 1.0 Guidelines.

I've used it or several sites already and I must say that the results are very useful. Compared to the W3C validation results, the results of the "Relaxed" validator gives even more good tips, hints and explanations on the different errors. But more importantly - it tells you if the markup is semantically incorrect. It even tells you what Accessibility guidelines you are violating. Excellent! Go check it out!

Updated 12 January 2006, by Sebastiaan Naafs - van Dijk

As it seems that the Badame Validator - aka Relaxed - is no longer available, I've managed to gather the URL's of a couple of other similar online validators, some of which also use the Relax NG code.

And last but not least a very extensive validator with an immense amount of reporting tools:

Updated 16 January 2006, by Sebastiaan Naafs - van Dijk

It's back - the validator is online again!

There was no mention on the validator-pages as to why it has been offline. On the personal website/weblog of the author himself there also is no mention what caused the hick-up.

Anyway, happy validating!

Posted by Sebastiaan Naafs - van Dijk | top


  1. Jeroen posted:

    There is no validator that is able to check for semantically correct markup, and neither can this one. First of all, WAI does does not put restrictions, but rather guidelines. Accesability is an area which leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

    For example, I checked my homepage with your tool, and it reported many errors about images without an 'alt' text specified. These images are clearly decorational, and have no meaning within the context of this page, so I correctly added the alt="" property to the image element. Validators only see images, but can't know whether an image is decoration or part of the story.
    Never make the mistake of using the WAI guidelines as rules!

    ... on 09 September 2005 @ 10:38

  2. Sebastiaan posted:

    OK, I admit that the semantics might be very difficult to get for a validator - that is still the perogative of a programmer. But it gets a long way to better the value of the validation results.

    One example I find very intriguing is that it throws an error if you have provided *only* the "onclick" attribute in a tag. If so it tells you that you should also provide the "onkeypress" (all lower case of course!) attribute, to cater for keyboard users!

    As regards to the alt="" attribute: I guess Jukka Korpela wrote the bible on that one. All the do's and dont's - 28 pages if you print it from the browser ;-)

    ... on 09 September 2005 @ 13:51

  3. Storm posted:

    Link does not work

    ... on 11 January 2006 @ 17:36

  4. Sebastiaan posted:

    For some strange reason this website is no longer available. I haven't read anything of late to indicate that it should go down or wouldn't be available anymore. Just recently it was greatly improved with more and better options for validating one's code (MathML, WAI, WML, etc.).
    I even used it to check some code a couple of days ago!
    I'll keep you posted if I hear anything more about the wellbeing and state of this excellent validator!

    ... on 11 January 2006 @ 19:22

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