In the many years that I have been doing this, I have heard multiple arguments for and against W3C validation. Some developers believe that having a site validate completely is the only way to build sites but some, like myself, believe validation is highly overrated. Below, I will lay out some of the common arguments both for and against validation.
- It is believed to help with SEO and search engine rankings.
- It is believed to ensure cross-browser compatibility.
- It is believed to speed up site loading.
- Fully valid code is highly restricted code. You lose the ability to utilize many modern coding practices and scripts as they are inherently impossible to validate.
- The cost of micro-analyzing each line of code, on each page of a site versus the perceived benefit of W3C validation simply doesn’t add up. If I were to nit pick at such an excruciatingly small level, the sites I create and manage for clients would cost ten to twenty times what they currently do. If the only major benefit is a marginal increase in search engine rankings (and that is highly debatable) then that is money utterly wasted.
- In my experience, fully valid sites are anything but cross browser compatible. In fact, in order to get most sites as cross-compatible as possible, one must usually employ tricks, hacks or work-arounds in your code that are definitely not going to be “valid” but nonetheless work well.