Maintaining clean markup after launch

One of the things that I find disappointing about what I do is that the care I take in creating clean, valid sites pretty much flies right out the window once the site is launched and in the hands of the client.

It’s not their fault, usually. Even when I build a site in a CMS and take a lot of time setting up the WYSIWYG editor to guide and specify the types of content they can add, it still gets screwed up and it just gets worse over time.

I’m a regular reader of 456 Berea Street and last night I found this excellent post about helping clients keep their markup clean. This is a really great idea, and I plan to implement it on the next site I build.

Basically what it does is insert some styles into the CSS that make any deprecated elements (like font tags or centers) show up as big and red so that the client can see them (and actually know they’ve done something that has a negative impact on the qualit of the code).  This visual is critical because no matter how many times I tell someone, even a very savvy client, not to use that but to use this instead, sooner or later they’ll do just that. But being able to see it, that’s big. And helpful.

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