State University of New York Institute of Technology
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HTML, XML, and CSS testing tools available on webdevel

What's up?

There are three new tools on SUNYIT's web development server that can be used to text the syntax of HTML, CSS, and XML files.

Why should I test my files?

These tools can verify that data that's available on the SUNYIT web site is accessible and indexable. 

Accessible

Content that is accessible is can be used (accessed) by a wide variety of users in a wide variety of environments.  Wikipedia defines accessibility as:

Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and possible benefit of some system or entity. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities, often through use of assistive technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility

SUNYIT is required under New York State law to make it's web content is considered "accessible."  One of the first steps in providing accessible content is making sure that the content is syntactically correct so that screen readers and other assistive technologies can accurately represent the content of our web pages.

Indexable

Hand in and with accessibility is the ability for search engines (like Google) to index SUNYIT's web content.  If search engines can't index our pages, our pages will not be ranked correctly in search engines' result listings.  If the search engines can't understand our web content (potentially because of syntax issues), they can't index our web content.

What does this have to do with these tools?  Why do I care about accessible and indexable pages?

These tools help us spot basic problems with our web content which can prevent search engines and assistive technologies from being able to use our web content.  If we have content that can't be found (i.e. it's not indexable) and/or can't convey information to our end-users (i.e. it's not accessible), then the content loses it's value.  It's in our best interests to make sure that our content is as easy to find and easy to use as possible.

Three syntax checking tools

There are three tools available on the Web Development server 'webdevel.sunyit.edu' for testing the syntactical validity of HTML, CSS, and XML files:

HTML

HTML can be validated using the htmllint tool at:

/usr/local/bin/htmllint <filename>

This tool can be given one or more files (or URLs) to process.  If the file being tested has no errors, the htmllint tool will exit without any warning messages.  If, however, there are error messages, it will present the line number of the problem and a message for each encountered error.

CSS

CSS can be validated using the csslint tool at:

/usr/local/bin/csslint <filename>

This tool, like htmllint, can be given one or more files (or URLs) to process.  If the file being tested has no errors, the csslint tool will exit without any warning messages (like htmllint).  If, however, there are error messages, it will present a warning message for each error it encounters and where the error was found.

XML

XML can be validated using the xmllint tool at:

/usr/local/bin/xmllint <filename>

This tool, like the others, can be given one or more files (or URLs) to test.  Unlike the other tools, if there are no errors, xmllint will present the entire file.  If there are error messages, it will present a warning message for each error it encounters and where the error was found.

Where do I learn more about accessibility?

Section 508 (an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 enacted in 1998 that requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG):

US Government's site on creating usable web content

WAVE toolbar (Mozilla Firefox toolbar for evaluating content for web accessibility)

Contact us!

If you've any questions, please don't hesitate to send webmaster an email or fill out the web site comment form which is online at:

Thanks!

Wes


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