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UnixReview.com: Tool of the Month: HTML Tidy

Sep 15, 2001, 23:52 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier)

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"One thing I love about the UNIX philosophy is the idea that each program should do one job and do it really well. There are zillions of small tools for UNIX-type OSes that make life much easier and are hugely useful, but they don't necessarily get written about. They certainly don't receive the same kind of coverage that Apache and Sendmail receive. One of my favorites, HTML Tidy, is a tool for HTML/Web development that I think will interest a lot of folks. HTML Tidy cleans up HTML produced by WYSIWYG editors and such.

Webmasters are often asked to look after HTML documents that were produced by other folks using WYSIWYG editors or word processors like Microsoft Word. Although the use of such editors and word processors simplifies production for many people, the HTML produced by these programs is usually pretty ugly. It might be acceptable in a browser, but it's downright unpleasant to maintain.

In my case, I use DocBook for a lot of documents and SGML&Tools to render HTML from DocBook markup and then tweak it slightly. Although the HTML looks just fine in a browser, it's kind of ugly when you open it up in Vim. Running the output through HTML Tidy makes it easier to read and leaves you with "valid" 4.01 HTML."

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