In the latest issue of ALA (A List Apart), Ethan Marcotte weighs the subtleties of valid markup. There are separate camps that have evolved and one side clings to validation as an important part of web design while the other sees it as only a small part of the process. For the average consumer who wants a site built for themselves, valid markup is probably not one of their major concerns. They just want a website to promote their products and services and start driving traffic to it. As a developer on the other hand, I feel that it’s part of my craft (remember that word from commercial art class?).
Imagine for a moment that web design was a surgical procedure. If I’m the doctor, then I’ll have to follow conventions and practices, i.e. standards, in order to complete the surgery. If I don’t adhere to those standards, then what the outcome could be, well, you can imagine. Even though web design isn’t a life or death issue, I think it’s extremely important that to hone your craft in web design just as you would in any other pursuit. Over time, you want to get better at markup, don’t you? You want to be able to produce pages without bogus code and validation errors, right?
Would you like your doctor to jerry rig your operation? Or have your mechanic botch your next auto repair because he didn’t follow the industry standards and protocols for that procedure? I think you know the answer.