One of the things web developers face when creating websites is making sure their websites meet web standards. There are different standards for different types of websites, from those created using basic html, to css style sheets, html5 and more. Each standard a website meets helps make more likely the chance that any website (which also follows those standards in rendering websites), will display the page exactly as the developer intended. For web developers wanting their sites meet those standards, Open Validator is an easy-to-use web conformance tool that runs on Java, so this is a tool any developer, whether using a Mac, Windows or Linux, can use.
One of the nice features Open Validator has is the ability to either check a single page, or an entire website all at once. Simply type in the URL for the page, then choose the level of recursion you want. Setting it to zero will tell Open Validator you only want to check the home page; otherwise, any level above that will cause Open Validator to follow links for that many levels throughout the entire website. Checking the reports tab will show how the page performed against common web standards tests.
You’ll see three different types of messages available inside the report tab. Errors, Warnings and Info. Errors appear when something in the page fails to conform with W3C standards in some way. This could include a syntax error (such as an unclosed or incomplete tag), or improperly formatted header, metadata, or something similar. Warnings are shown when something meets the standards, but could cause problems in accessibility. For instance, pictures without descriptive text (which can be read by screen scrapers for the blind), is an accessibility issue. Finally, there is the Info column, which shows information such as how the website will be indexed (whether a site map is present or not), and other issues unrelated to how a page is displayed.
Open Validator is not only able to find many errors, but to fix them as well. These errors can include such things as missing height and width information for photos (which can slow down page rendering), HTML Tidy support for optimized pages, validation of framesets, and more. Open Validator can complete missing or incomplete metadata, such as the language of a page (metadata is used by search engines to properly index your website), and can verify links as well, so you’ll know when a page you think you’ve linked to won’t load correctly.
In addition to showing and fixing potential errors, Open Validator is able to produce reports, in both HTML and ODF format. It has password support for verifying protected websites, includes SSL support for security, and can be used with web proxies. The program binary itself includes balloon tooltips for explanation of features, and is optimized for computers with multiple processors. Finally, Open Validator isn’t an English-only application. Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other languages can be used.
Open Validator definitely isn’t a program most people will use. It’s not something my parents would use, or my sister, her husband, and it’s nothing I have a need for. But I’ve done basic html work in the past, and after seeing the lousy html output many web creation tools use, having access to something like Open Validator is a good thing. In my look at it, Open Validator seemed responsive, gave good explanations for errors and warnings, and is an overall useful tool. As mentioned, it runs on Java, and the home page includes downloads for Windows, Mac and Linux.