Want to find out how magically terrible your web code is? Just ask the Unicorn.
The web’s governing body has launched a new validation tool called Unicorn that checks the quality of your website’s code against multiple web standards at the same time.
You can find the new Unicorn “all-in-one validator” on the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) website at validator.w3.org/unicorn/.
The W3C maintains a number of free web-based tools for checking whether your web code is valid, and Unicorn makes several of these tools available under a single interface. Just plug in a URL and you can see your results for all of these tests on a single page:
- HTML/XHTML markup validator
- CSS validator
- Atom or RSS feed validator
- mobileOK, which tells you how friendly your site is to mobile visitors
When you visit the Unicorn page, you’ll see a dropdown menu where you can choose what to check. The default is a “General Conformance Check,” which runs all the validators at once and is particularly unforgiving. Your site may validate as strict XHTML, but your syndication feeds and mobile accessibility might be a mess. It’s almost impossible to rack up a perfect score, so be prepared for a lot of red ink.
You can also select one of the individual validation services in the dropdown. Each of the individual validators also continues to run on its own service, and the W3C confirms they aren’t going anywhere.
The wiki is also where you’ll find links to the Unicorn code. You can run your own instance of the validator to test your own pages, or you can set up a public Unicorn server for others to use.
Every time we post about one of these validation tools, we get a small flood of comments pointing out that our own web pages don’t validate properly. We know, and we’re working on it. So, just to save you the trouble, here’s Webmonkey and Wired. You’ll notice that our RSS feeds are perfect — Unicorn’s only quibble is that we put Flash-video-object embeds in our syndicated posts. Big whoop.