In the past few months we’ve all seen the rise of WYSIWYG editors, allowing everyone and anyone to create a web page in a fast, efficient manner. However, there are those among us, myself included, that would much rather edit the HTML source directly. Many of the new editors like Evrsoft’s FirstPage and Allaire’s Homesite that are designed to be pure-HTML editors have proofing tools built-in, and while I personally don’t celebrate Notepad, I know a large number of you out there that do.
While the custom-built products out there have integrated tools to tell you when you’ve spelled a tag name wrong, and when you’ve used an invalid attribute, or when you give a text value to a Boolean attribute, and some even have tools to automatically fix improperly nested tags. Notepad, and even some of the more text-based editors, lack these features. The answer, my friends, is the CSE HTML Validator from AI Internet Solutions. This amazing little package (2.4 megs is little in my book) is capable of running through an HTML file, and alerting you of invalid tags, misspelled tags, invalid attributes, missing quotation marks, missing or extra closing tags, use of extended characters in HTML, and even possible cross-browser issues!
This program was ridiculously easy to setup and get started. I soon found that the program not only serves as a validator, but also as an HTML editor that is like Notepad on steroids. It has color coding of different aspects of the document, numbered line, optional split view, a resource tab, full screen mode, and the ability to easily preview the page with an external browser. It also has the ability to place bookmarks within a document, and the option to create batch files (remember DOS?) to automate the validation process.
When I went to validate a document, the speed was incredible. In under a second, it had developed a list of errors, determined the structural layout of the document, made recommendations about tags that are depreciated in HTML 4.0, and even reminded me that our friends using text-only browsers appreciate the use of the ALT attribute for images. It also compiled a list of all links in a document, and gives you access to two independent scratch pads so that you can make notes about your document that won’t be saved as comments.
Another feature that I found useful was the structural tab that is generated during validation. This tab not only shows you what the nesting order of a document is, it also gives you quick access to the percentage of times that you forgot to close a given tag.
Among the two best features that CSE HTML Validator offers are line highlighting, and versatility of validation. Whenever you run the validator, it will automatically mark the lines that contain errors by changing the background color of the line. As for the versatility of the editor, I must say that I was amazed when I learned that this program not only checks for HTML problems, but for problems in C++, Perl, Delphi, Java, VBScript, and SQL too. Any one of these alone is worth the price tag of $49.95 in my book!
Overall, I must say that I was more than impressed; I was blown away! The speed and ease of use of this program are absolutely amazing. I challenge you, for the money, to find a better HTML validator. It will save you hours, over the course of a week, in development time, by allowing you to forget about the mundane and monotonous task of going through HTML files searching for that proverbial error that prevents the page from displaying properly.