I just don't get it...
Posted by tim in Pissed on May 10, 2005

So a few days ago, I started a rather lengthy thread on a forum about validating HTML and such. The post was a challenge to the budding web developers to do things the right way. I was greeted with a rather unwelcome response.

Basically, the response was, "if invalid HTML works, why bother?" One of the respondants blatently said he wouldn't mess with writing valid markup because he didn't want to bother with it. Another claimed that after 20 years in the field, they had experience with it and that the customer won't care if it's done right or not, just as long as it meets their requirements.

I don't get it, though. What's with this whole "half-assed is fully-accepted" crap? What's with people saying that they don't care if they're doing something wrong, just as long as they can get paid?

An analogy I used was with the body shop I used to work at...

My primary job was final paint prep; that work that happens just before the paint is sprayed on the car. Among this prep work was the wet-sanding process.

When paint is sprayed on a surface, it needs something somewhat porous to adhere to. To achieve this, we'd have to sand the body panels with wet sandpaper. The water was to keep the suface cool and lubricated, to avoid warping or gouging the metal.

There were 2 ways to wet-sand the car though. The first and most used way was with a foam block, 600-grit sandpaper, a bucket of water, and a garden hose. The other, less used way was with a scuff pad (like the Scotch-Brite pads you use in your kitchen), a gritty slime solution like hand cleaner, and that same garden hose.

The first method was used the most because it was what was right for the metal body panels. The second method was more for plastic and fiberglass panels, but it would also work on metal panels, with a cost: degraded surface life. The slime solution would leave behind a residue that was not easy to clean off of the metal parts, but was on plastic. The result of this usually wouldn't be evident right away, but in a year or two, the paint would start peeling.

Back to the validation issue, what's to say that sloppy HTML4.01 Transitional will still render properly in 2 years? I'm not pushing XHTML by any means, but I do see a definite advantage to it. Regardless, why would someone choose to write sloppy HTML4.01 Transitional, even if it's not the right way? Why would someone accept it as being sufficient?

Why do so many people have this work ethic? "I don't care if it's half-assed. Nobody is going to see it anyhow. It works, that's all that matters." Sorry, but if you work this way, you deserve to be unemployed.


Full-ass or no-ass. Apathy pisses me off.

  • Posted by l0gic (Guest) on May 10, 2005 at 10:29:40PM


  • Posted by macguy (Guest) on May 11, 2005 at 04:20:07AM

I'm glad to see someone talk about this with some sense.

I've talked this over with people I respect a great deal when it comes to website creation - only to find that they have this same shameful opinion when it comes to valid HTML.

As far as XHTML, the first thing they mention is that XHTML isn't being delivered the way the W3C has outlined, so delivering it at all is itself not XHTML compatible (though the automated validation won't tell you this). This point, really, is pretty interesting. The answer to this, though, comes along with my next point.

Often these naysayers say that browsers don't fully support XHTML. My view on this is: XHTML is SGML compatible. It works as HTML and XHTML alike. To take the initiative of designing as XHTML you're designing for the future. You're making things easier on yourself for the time when XHTML is actually accepted. (Let's hope IE7 accepts correct delivery!).

Then there is, as you've outlined, the "I don't care if it's half-assed." argument. I agree with l0gic here... full-ass or no-ass.

  • Posted by Dustin (Guest) on May 11, 2005 at 12:14:07PM

What completely baffles me is the people that disagree with us are the ones that get all the work. Granted, I've not put much effort into it, but I've seen it. Nobody really cares. The line is always, "I just work here."

For someone like me who HAS to do a job the right way (thanks, Mom and Dad), it's really kinda hard to find someone that's willing to see that, accept it, and employ me because of it.

I am utterly speechless about it. Remind me not to buy a new car.

  • Posted by tim (Guest) on May 11, 2005 at 03:26:32PM

Hey- I'm home, email me! :)

  • Posted by LMB (Guest) on May 11, 2005 at 10:23:34PM
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