An open letter, (or nasty-gram as my hubby would say), to…..

See update in this post: “This document was successfully checked as HTML 4.01 Transitional”! (and they said it couldn’t be done)


I just feel like having a rant…

First off, I’ve been totally redoing my website from scratch the last several weeks. I’ve changed my entire format, and I’m editing the content, as well.

To put a finishing touch on the whole thing, I’m working on getting my code valid according to the W3C Markup Validation Service. It is a good tool to find my own oopsies, like missing tags, etc.

The problem is that I have eleven favorite books that I recommend on my website. I am signed up with so that I can find out if anybody buys a book I recommend. In order to do that, they provide special link code.

But, the links break all the rules of html protocol! I will never, ever get my code the green light from W3C because of those links.

Not only is the code never going to be valid, but I have to hunt through hundreds of Amazon’s errors just to find my oopsies. These oopsies, if not found, make the web pages do funny things you do not want them to do.

You may ask “Surely, cares for its customers and would fix the code if they were aware of the problem”. Well, you would be wrong. I have written politely, two different times. Here the the standard reply:


“Please know that the coding in the Build Links tool is the only coding we provide.

I would not be too concerned that the coding we provide does not pass through the W3 validator. The W3 validator is very strict and constructing an HTML page which passes through it without any errors is quite a difficult task. As long as you use the coding we provide, we will be able to track any activity via your Associates links.If you would like for us to test the functionality of your links once they are built, please use the link below to contact us, and send us the URL for the page on which these links are stored. We will be happy to assist you.”

Unquote (emphasis mine) says: “The W3C validator is very strict”…. so you are not even going to try to write valid code, The protocol rules for code are there so that code works in every browser, in every language, and that the web pages load quickly. They are not “strict” because they are mean.

If I, little old X, learning html as I go, can get my code valid (except for their links), why can’t the Great and Powerful get their code valid? (I’m still getting the errors out of my website, but at least I’m making an attempt. I’ve having trouble with the meta tags right now….)

These are the rules they are breaking – rules that are there for a reason:

No alt text:

  • Alt text is so electronic readers for the blind have something to read since it cannot describe the image.

No image sizes:

  • Image sizes make the pages load faster since the browser knows the outside limits of the image. says not to edit their code, but I get in there and add the alts and image sizes, anyway. So neener…

In addition to that, the links have many characters and symbols that are not valid including:

  • too many “&”s
  • too many “ />”s

Each link gives many errors in validation. A page where I list all eleven of my favorite books brings back hundreds of errors.

Something else that code is missing is Target = blank. Target = blank allows a new page for a link to open instead of staying on the site where the link is (sneaky I get in there and add that to their links, too.

I’ve been working on my site for weeks, and I thought I just deserved a good rant.

If you read this far down, click here.




Filed under Computers and Internet

12 responses to “An open letter, (or nasty-gram as my hubby would say), to…..

  1. Michelle

    Girl, you are way over my head with all this but I truly admire your spunk and know-how…you can rant all you want and I will be your cheerleader….some lazy \’code guy\’ or whatever you call them took more time to answer your email than he did to look into changing the code. Of that I am sure…what goons…I use also and have on occasion put links on my live space and I have had some trouble with them recognizing the book I am referencing…not sure why…but I digress…any you go girl!!!!Grace to youshell

  2. X-Evolutionist

    @Michelle: Thank you! I would not have known what I just said several years ago, either, so don\’t feel bad. X

  3. Greg

    To be fair to Amazon, it is extremely difficult to maintain 100% compliance with W3C standards. Even seasoned professional developers have a hard time achieving compliance, and generally only for the most basic sites. Any time you start getting fancy, it seems like the code doesn\’t meet the stringent requirements of W3C. Windows Live Spaces would completely melt the W3C Validator.I\’ve always thought about W3C compliance like world peace. Would it be awesome? Sure. But how likely is it to happen in our lifetimes? Not very. And the web seems to get along just fine.

  4. X-Evolutionist

    Greg: I see your point, but I\’m sure they have computers these days that could convert the links to valid code. I just think it is a little unfair of them. Nobody who has these links will ever have valid code. Is that right? I think hundred of errors for a list of eleven links is excessive. I use W3 validator as a tool to find my own oopsies. I have to hunt through all of their blatant errors just to find my oopsies. Not far, no no no not fair… </rant>X

  5. X-Evolutionist

    For what it\’s worth: I edited my post to make the point I made in my response to Greg. It\’s no fun to scroll past all the amazon errors to see if I made oopsies myself. X

  6. X-Evolutionist

    @Greg: PS: I\’m not knowledable enough to know what un-validated code is OK and what is not. Since I\’ve just picked it up over the years, I\’m just using the code validator to as a tool. Besides, looking at my site in different browsers recently has shown me how much damage a little oopsie can do. It\’s very handy for catching a missing end tag, for instance, that can made things go wacky…. X

  7. X-Evolutionist

    "This document was successfully checked as HTML 4.01 Transitional!Result: Passed" Woohoo. One down… X

  8. John

    Hi X, welcome to the wonderful world of coding, and the reason I am not a programmer! You have hit a very valid point for those interested in learning HTML, XML, or other mark up languages, .Net and ASP are unique in their own ways. That being you have to test and test often. You will need a test server, a machine with ISS installed, and use every browser out there to see how pages look. WYSIWYG editors are good, up to a point, but do really odd things in different browsers. Keep plugging away and keep your code clean, logical, and segrigated so you can find all the unclosed tags and areas needing attention. That being said, I too have gripes on Amazon, I don\’t like the fact they and WL partnered up to offer Associates program access yet the majority of Amazon\’s code is useless in WL Java environment! I gave up on forcing code in links and such and trying to make it work in sandbox. It would be nice is Amazon would offer alternatives to Java or just old ugly boring text links. Good luck and keep plugging away!

  9. X-Evolutionist

    @John: Thank you for the encouragement! I appreciate the info. X

  10. X-Evolutionist

    See update in this post:“This document was successfully checked as HTML 4.01 Transitional”! (and they said it couldn’t be done)!25A0033DD834DD1D!16027.entryX

  11. Dave

    W3c compliance is almost never actually neccessary! It\’s aim is to make everything totally compatible with everything else, which means that a lot of the groovy new technologies available in 99% of browsers, like transparency and nesting iframes, and importing non-standard fonts, will automatically fail you!Most big sites stand no chance of passing. Other notable failures include Youtube, all adobe sites, flickr, hotmail, and indeed, most other microsoft live pages.Oh, and most of mine :-)The most famous one that does pass is probably Facebook, but everyone always moans about how boring it is. Don\’t bother about it, if you fail you are in good company!

  12. X-Evolutionist

    Dave: You might have missed the update that my site passed validation. Since I\’m a beginner, I don\’t know enough to know what will mess things up and what won\’t mess things up. So, I use validator as a tool to see how well I\’m doing with my code. X

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