Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Yahoo’s Beta Blunder

“Bad DOCTYPEs are killing good websites. Use the right DOCTYPE to fix your site” – A List Apart

Once again, HYCWS‘ favorite coder down-under, Rachel Cunliffe, makes an astute observation as a comment in our article entitled “Usability Testing.” In her own words:

After millions of hits, Yahoo is updating their main page:
You’d think they would at least put in a DOCTYPE and make it liquid design.

Hmm, maybe they’re not up to the usability testing phase yet ;)

This DOCTYPE thingie Rachel is taking about is defined in both the HTML and XHTML standards as the “document type declaration.” If you want the underlying code of your page to validate, and you should, then the DOCTYPE must appear at the very top of every web page on your web site.

Why? And of equal importance, why should you care? Well for starters, the new generation of browsers are going to demand it. When the web was young, and there were only humans using HTTP, who were only using one or two client applications (browsers), it was okay throw out poorly formed HTML onto the Web. No more. As the Internet continues to become more and more industrialized, so too the need for all documents to be all things to all applications. To do this, the document must play by a strict set of rules – that everyone else has agreed upon.

Of course if you want to go on posting sermons and schedules that no one can read or syndicate, then you just ignore this and maybe it will go away … NOT !

Rather than ramble on about the specifics of this specification, here is a well-written, easy to understand article entitled “Fixing Your Site With the Right DOCTYPE” that makes good lunch-break reading; even if you’re not a code-monkey like yours truly. And if you’re wondering whether or not YOUR site can measure-up to this standard of judgement, may I suggest the W3C HTML Validation Service? It’s free – though for some of you, it may not be fun.

As for Rachel figuring out Yahoo’s beta blunder – I have three words for you : You go girl!


  1. I’m of a mind that the beta page is purely for display purposes. Surely Yahoo isn’t foolish enough to to include a doctype in these modern days of standards-compliance. They can’t be that stupid, can they? Eh? Right?

    (Uncomfortable silence. Dog howls.)

  2. Erratum: “…NOT to include a doctype…” Sorry. That’s what I get for trying to use nested double negatives.

  3. I guess I’m not sure Yahoo is going to include a DOCTYPE. They don’t currently have one. Actually, after taking a quick look at the source, they cut a lot of corners. I’m not sure their site would even validate as HTML 4.0 Transitional–even with the DOCTYPE.

    What I’m saying is, I’m not sure they care.

  4. well, there’s no DOCTYPE on their current homepage either :]

  5. noting go with out prayer and fasting

    Jesus Bless You,