Home Page Construction Set / ERIC'S TIPS FOR WEB AUTHORS

Proofreading and HTML Checking

  1. Look at your pages before you release them to the public. That seems to be a no-brainer, but you can find examples where people obviously haven't looked at the HTML output. For example, links run on forever, the result of an accidentally omitted closing </a>. You can easily spot omissions if you take the time to go over your pages when you are finished writing them.

  2. Beta test your pages before a large-scale announcement. Consider posting to a local Web-related newsgroup before you send your announcement to comp.infosystems.www.announce and so forth. Also, subject-specific mailing lists are a good way of seeing how well your content and design hold up when examined by subject matter experts.

  3. Feed your pages through an HTML checker. Just because it displays correctly doesn't mean that you have clean source. Most browsers are very forgiving when it comes to missing end tags or quotation marks. Automated checkers are good for finding the most nitpicky problems in your HTML which could have adverse effects on some browsers.

  4. Test your pages on several browsers. Use as many Web browsers on as many platforms as you can and see if there are any glaring formatting problems. For instance, a page that displays perfectly on Netscape may be completely unreadable on a text browser. Even among the same product family there may be glitches (like between Netscape for X and Netscape for Macintosh). You should strive to have readable and attractive output on as many different browsers as possible.

    I try to proof my pages on the following browsers: Netscape (X-Windows, Windows 3.1, Macintosh), Mosaic (X-Windows, Windows 3.1, Macintosh), IBM WebExplorer (OS/2), Arena (X-Windows), and Lynx (text-only--Unix).

  5. Periodically check your links for accuracy. Webmasters are notorious for moving their pages, often to new servers. Try to visit all of the links on your page at least twice a month to make sure they are current. Or use a link-checker, like Checker (runs on a variety of Unix machines), which automatically processes your HTML files and checks the links for validity.

  6. Run your pages through a spelling and grammar checker. Credit for this tip goes to Robert Whitsitt, who pointed out several grammatical errors in these pages. Using your browser, save your pages in text-only format (to get rid of the HTML tags), then load them into your word processor for checking.

    You can also feed your documents through The WebSter's Dictionary, an online WWW-to-ispell gateway. Thanks to Jack Decker for letting me know about this helpful page!

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Last Modified: August 12, 1995
/ Eric Sasaki
gt7294b@prism.gatech.edu (feedback welcome)

All original content Copyright © 1994-95 Eric Sasaki. All rights reserved.