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Top Worst HTML Mistakes

     
8:11 pm on Sep 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Starting out in webmastering, most don't really know HTML well and learn by trial and error. However, a list of common, avoidable HTML mistakes might really help a new webmaster getting a grip on the learning curve.

My top confounding HTML errors:

1) <Title>My Title<Title> - forgetting to close title tag and page shows up blank in the browser

2) Forgetting a </tr> tag. Still make this one often

3) Building a template with HTML errors and spawning a site full of these pages.

4) Mixing absolute and relative sizes in tables. One table has % sizes and others have pixel values and not integrating them correctly.

5) Calling a gif image when you meant jpg and pounding your head on the desk wondering why you can't get the image to show up.

What are yours?

8:28 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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</head>
<title>my title</title>

Seam to have developed that one lately...scary

8:51 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Renaming directories and failing to rename all the image paths to reflect the new directory.
8:57 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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<html>
<head>
<title>bla-bla</title>
</head>
<body>
yada - yada
</body>

Forgetting the "</html>" will cause some browsers to show the hour glass forever, waiting for the page to finish loading.

This will cause a bald spot on your head from scratching. :)

9:02 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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...referring to images and filenames locally, then spending hours wondering why the pages wouldn't work on any machine other than mine...

...not being able to remember whether <TD> or <TR> went first was (still is sometimes!) a good source of headaches!...

9:33 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Not remembering what DTD is in effect for whatever website I happen to be working on. Validation stops those mistakes from going into production but I always chuckle to myself when the same errors are flagged over and over again by the w3c validation service. :)
10:44 pm on Sept 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

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One that's really hard to explain to newcomers is the <table> void:

<table>
<tr><td>Text in cell</td></tr>
<tr><td>Text in cell</td></tr>
HELP! I'm lost in the void!
</table>

Why does that display like this, they ask:

HELP! I'm lost in the void!
Text in cell
Text in cell

It's because "HELP! I'm lost in the void" is in a table (between <table></table> tags), but not in between table cells <td></td>. The browser will dump that info in the "void" out on top of the table (for some browsers).

12:23 am on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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My current baddie is to randomly capitalize file names - too many years on an NT server, I guess. Now I'm on a UNIX server, and it MATTERS! I need to tattoo "lowercase filenames" onto the back of my hand...
1:11 am on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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James,

I think your no. 3 by far is the worst, and most annoying mistake to make, as it has permeated accross the net, and the structural inadequcies with the code. Always check the templates several times. Just not worth the sweating and late nights sorting out hundreds of fully loaded pages (content-links), due to a lack of checking.

5:55 am on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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...using FrontPage? ;-)
6:37 am on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Uploading the site and not looking.

Ok... forgot the graphics folder. The links worked fine though.

11:37 am on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Forgetting the end quote, since day one.

Ove

12:33 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Uploaded the page but forgot the graphics folder :)

/Ove

12:48 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I tend to forget the </script> at the end of the srcipt section.

What a mess that causes!

12:54 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I use PageMill and it often removes the </script> tag from the head. It's NOT me forgetting it, it's PageMill taking it out. Auuugh!

One of these days I should get DreamWeaver .... and trade in for a whole new batch of quirks!

gsx

1:28 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Lack of body backgound color when you should put white. You never notice it normally - unless you happen to browse your site on a Mac! Looks even worse if you've remebered it on some table cells, or if some frames have it and others don't in a framed site!
1:42 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Not quite html, but close enough! I tend to leave out the ; on the last call in a CSS class/id (which is ok), but whenever I add something else on I sometimes forget to add it on to the one above... meaning I spend a few minutes tearing my hair out and cursing at the computer for not doing what I thought I had told it to do...
6:52 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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another not really html but it just happened today so...

I edited a little perl script and uploaded it to a test directory to see if worked right (it's supposed to change the date in a drop down based on the day and time from the server). I also have another version in the regular directory that does not change the date.

So, (and you can see this coming) I make the edit and upload the script to the test directory and then hit refresh on my browser and the date hasn't changed. I spend some time double checking the logic and operators and do I have enought brackets in the statement etc. Reupload - refresh - nothing. This happens over and over again.

Yup - I've been reloading the regular version of the script rather than the one I keep changing in my test directory. In the meantime I've broken every pencil on my desk and whipped a few office type sundries at the wall. AAARRGGHHH!

btw - I got it working ;)

7:49 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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James wrote in his opening statement [webmasterworld.com]:

My top confounding HTML errors:

[...]

3) Building a template with HTML errors and spawning a site full of these pages.

Now I may be dense or lack some understanding of the template concept, but what is the problem apart from having the error? You just correct the template and depending on whether you use an online or offline cms you just upload the corrected template to the server or run your content through your offline cms and the error is gone on every page.

7:55 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I just got finished cleaning up pages upon pages of <font><font>text</font></font>. I think this happend through some editing program that failed to recognize that a font tag already existed.
8:08 pm on Sept 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>what is the problem apart from having the error?

he was prolly referring to non dynamic sites where you use a template and just keep "saving as" something else.