Valid Weblog!

Tuesday, 2005-08-30; 18:27:00


So, I decided to embark on the project to make my weblog have valid XHTML, CSS, and RSS. It turns out that it wasn't hard at all -- most of the errors were caused by me using manual HTML code in my entries rather than XHTML as the document specified, and some random things caused by the comment system (basically the links had ampersands in them that weren't encoded, when they should be). All were very easy to fix, and as a result, I now have the valid XHTML, CSS, and RSS badges displayed on this weblog. Even the archive, calendar, and all the other pages should validate -- I went through all of the entry pages to correct my manual HTML, since there weren't that many entries. Yay for web standards!

I even learned a few things about XHTML in the process of validating -- it seems that tags are oftentimes case-sensitive, so line break tags need to be all lowercase, otherwise the validator will generate an error. Also, a slash preceded by a space at the end of a tag signifies a tag that automatically closes itself, like you usually do with image tags. I didn't know you actually needed to specify the auto-closing, though. And then, of course, there was the requisite adding of all the alt attributes to the image tags, so that my website is fully accessible.

There's a slight "warning" with my RSS feed when it runs through the validator: the encoding on my feed is different from the server encoding. Unfortunately, I can't mess with iBlog's RSS creation (except for manually after each time the RSS feed is created), and I also can't mess with .mac's server settings. So, this warning will remain unfixed. Whatever -- my feed is still valid anyway. ;)

iBlog is really cool, in the fact that it creates the majority of the XHTML through templates. The templates are normal text documents that you can easily modify to your liking, and iBlog will happily use the modified versions. There are a few variables that put in the entry text and the calendars and stuff like that, but everything that it spits out is valid XHTML. That's why it only took me about an hour to get this weblog to conform to web standards. It also made it really easy to modify certain aspects of this weblog. For example, all images by default now include margins around them, whereas before I had to either manually do it with HTML code in iBlog. Thanks to CSS, all images automatically have margins, even when I don't explicitly specify it.

Like I said, yay for web standards! (It looks reasonably good in all major Mac browsers, too, including Opera, Firefox, Camino, Safari, Omniweb, as well as IE for Mac. As for Windows browsers -- I have no idea, but the only one I'm really concerned about is WinIE.)

Oh, one other thing -- the RSS button should now show up in Safari 2.0.x under Tiger when you visit this page; that was as simple as adding an extra link tag in the head of the main page. Yeesh, I'm such a perfectionist.

[OK I lied, one more update to this entry, that has nothing to do with validation or usability of this web page. Somehow I got onto to check out old versions of my website, and the first cached version of my website is quite a blast from the past! I totally forgot about the NetFungus tournament that I set up; the main graphic is funny, lol.]

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