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Regarding closed W3C compliance thread.

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Brett View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Regarding closed W3C compliance thread.
    Posted: 24-July-2014 at 6:39pm
Why was the other thread was locked? It worries me that discussion like this is being prohibited. The thread was on topic, relevant, warranted, and justified in my opinion. I can't think of any good reason for the thread being locked, and as a paying support customer, I'd think I should be allowed to discuss issues like this with others using the platform.

I have to wonder if the thread was closed because ProductCart felt like things were being said that might "look bad", but it seems to me like the thread being locked is actually going to look far worse than anything that could have been said in the thread. You'd think with an issue like this, the companies stance would be to answer all questions as thoroughly as possible and to ensure everyone that the issue is on your radar and is being addressed.

I am fixing the errors on our dev site as I encounter them. I'd be happy to fix them for you if needed. If so, feel free to shoot me a PM and we can set up some sort of arrangement.

However, I wanted to clarify a couple things and didn't have a chance to do so in the other thread, which is why I've started this new one. It seems like you may have thought I was worried that Google was actually running the W3C validator on my HTML code. That is certainly not the case.

Rather, I think we are looking at two different pieces to the same puzzle. As detailed in Moz's "Google Search Ranking Factors" (which is linked elsewhere by you on this forum and on your main site), there are many ranking factors related to HTML code and generally the things covered on the W3C validator.

My feeling is that, Google cares about well formed code, specific elements being used properly, and the general structure of a site's code. While they definitely aren't "running the W3C validator on my site", I believe they are looking at some of the same things that the W3C validator is looking at.

For example, Google cares about "keyword usage in H1", "keyword usage in body text", "total number of characters in the HTML code", and many other factors related to the code. W3C validator seems to do a pretty good job of checking these same metrics. So I think the value of running the W3C validator isn't that "google runs the W3C validator too", but that the W3C validator covers some of the same things that google seems to care about.

On top of the ranking factors, Google is a bot. The only way it can know what's on your site and the actual structure of your site is to crawl it with it's bot and attempt to parse it programmatically. It seems to me like this would be easier for Google to do if the HTML code is well formed and properly written, and W3C validator seems to be a good way to ensure that it is.

Hopefully this helped clarify where I was coming from with my previous topic. I am simply a bit worried that something as fundamental as properly formatted code seems to have been an afterthought, when I feel like it should be a cornerstone of any development endeavour. I would *start* with properly formatted HTML, and go from there, rather than building it out and then going back to fix these issues later.

Hopefully that validator site I linked in the previous topic will be helpful. It's really great in that it allows you to validate an entire site in one go, rather than having to manually run the validator on each individual page. And of course, I realize that the W3C validator isn't the end-all-be-all of proper code formatting, but I think you'd agree that it's certainly a good place to start. I don't think that "if the site passes W3C validation, then it's 100% perfect", but that "a site should *at least* pass W3C validation".

What worries me the most though is the way the previous topic was locked. This isn't something that anyone should be "angry" about, and the fact that the thread was seen as a nuisance and was locked with a "I'm only going to say this once" reply worries me more than anything else, and I think that would be a major red flag to anyone researching ProductCart as a potential ecommerce platform.
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Matt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-July-2014 at 8:16pm

Hi Brett,

First of all I do not believe the previous thread would make us look bad and I am linking to it from this thread so people can follow through and read it.

http://forum.productcart.com/topic5905_post22143.html#22143

I want to make it very clear for everyone.

1.       This was not a community discussion. You asked our development team a direct question “Was there any plan to fix the W3C validation issues”.

2.       We replied with the answer “Our development team has reviewed them and believes most of them are things we can (and will) address in the next release.

On many forums threads are locked once the question is answered.  Honestly, it never occurred to me anyone would suggest we had another motive.

In over a decade we have never locked a thread or tried to stop the community from having a conversation.

I also invited you or anyone reading it to contact us to have a full length conversation.

You are always welcome to have a constructive community conversation.

Please note that direct questions for the development team or tickets need to go through the appropriate channels.

I would also encourage you to stick with specific topics and be as clear as possible.

Here is my suggestion if you want to proceed with a community discussion about W3C… if you want to ask the community a question about a certain validation rule, then post the specific code for just that rule and specify which engine you used.   Also, note other relevant details, such as if you are using a demo store or a customized theme.  The header and footer are being validated, not just ProductCart.

There are tons of HTML elements that validate for HTML 5, but not transitional and vice versa.  There is a massive difference between malformed code and W3C validation.  Typically a site will not even validate if the code is malformed.  It is important to make these things clear so the community is not receiving incorrect and/or misleading information.

Honestly, there is so much information on this topic it is almost impossible to have a constructive conversation about via the forum unless you really limit the topic to something specific.

So by all means have at it!

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Brett View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-July-2014 at 8:26pm
Thanks for the clarification Matt. I hope you don't think I was accusing you of ulterior motives. I was asking for clarification and I appreciate you giving it.

The previous thread kind of became a community discussion when you mentioned that Matt Cutts and other seo experts agree that W3C validation has no effect on SEO rankings. I wasn't referring to actual W3C validation, but having clean, parsable, crawlable HTML code in general.

I would have liked to reply to your comment in that thread, because I wanted to make sure we were on the same page with regards to what my concerns are. I wanted to make sure you understood that my concern is not specifically W3C validation, but whether or not ProductCart has clean html code in general, as I'm sure everyone would agree that a search engine needs to be able to interpret your page in order to determine what content is on it and how to rank it.

And I think you'd also agree that, on top of merely being able to crawl and parse a site, search engines give different weight to different HTML elements, such as H1 tags, aside and article tags, and even "the first two sentences of content in the body text". This would seem to be to be dependant upon the search engine's crawler actually being able to read the page and interpret where each of these elements exists within the code.

For example, if the code is messed up and the main body content is in a div with a class of "footer", who knows, maybe Google will think it's footer content and totally ignore it (just an example). Along the same lines, I'd generally like to know that the HTML code on ProductCart is properly structured such that google is able to parse it and easily determine what my "main body content" is, which part of my page content is "user reviews", and where my "primary navigation" is. Stuff like that, basically.

I guess I could have worded my original post a bit differently, because I was trying to accomplish two things: 1) Ask you guys whether or not W3C validation, and clean HTML code in general, is a priority, and 2) Ask the community how they feel about the importance of W3C validation and html code structure with regards to SEO optimization.

Either way, thanks for the clarification and I apologize if my comment came off as accusatory, as that was not my intention.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-July-2014 at 9:24pm
Hi Brett,

I think we have a consensus.

We did a lot to make the source clean in v5.

All the HTML tables were removed and replaced with divs.

Every element has a class or id to make styling really simple.

Just about all inline scripts were moved out of the HTML.

It was a major overhaul that was a year in the making.

There are some elements that exist that do not validate HTML5.

Most will be addressed, but support for multiple browsers and devices plays a role.

Sometimes we have to make a call (e.g. support IE8 or be W3C compliant).

There are times when W3C complaince is trumped, but clean code is always a priority.

Every version gets better and better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whizzinpc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-July-2014 at 8:01pm
Most big brand sites I see online dont even come close to being w3c valid. Usability and support for multiple browsers is more important. My 2 cents
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-August-2014 at 11:53pm
More important? Agreed 100%. But really, who releases web software these days that isn't W3C compliant? NetSource has already explained that this was an oversight and will be addressed in the next release. To be clear though, the errors I'm seeing aren't things that "can't" be complaint. These are things that are obviously outdated techniques, and which have no place in a modern application. Either way, there's really no argument here. This stuff should never have been an issue in the first place, and it will be addressed soon. Anyone who's doing moderately complex customizations to their design will no doubt fix them in the process of creating their design, it's just a shame that time needs to be spent fixing these things that never should have made it past beta testing.
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