I could give you all the arguments on why you should code your pages according to the current standard. I could tell you that if you are not turning out valid and semantic code that you are unprofessional and that you shouldn’t quit your day job. I could explain the purpose of separating markup from layout over and over again, but I won’t do any of these things. All I can tell you is why I do it.
Why do I do all these things? I can sum up the reasons I adhere to web standards in one word:
I define integrity as “doing the right thing even when others aren’t looking” or “doing what you should even if no one would ever find out”.
I’m sure I could turn out sloppy code and make it look like an ice cream sundae to a starving kid if I were so inclined I just can’t seem to allow it to be seen. Integrity.
I couldn’t build a layout using tables and image slices and sell it to the next sucker to come along. I can’t even seem to sleep with a missing paragraph tag. Integrity.
I couldn’t turn out bloated, outdated and non-semantic code. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Integrity!
Yes, I’m the guy that actually returns the shopping cart to the “cart return station” instead of leaving it in the middle of the parking lot like every other baboon. I’m the guy that picks up a piece of trash that falls out of my truck when I get out even if it falls onto a pile of garbage that everyone else left in the parking lot, even if I have to chase my gum wrapper in a wind storm.
Now, I’m the guy that tries to code to standards in every web page I design for people even if I am surrounded by baboons that turn out outdated, tables based, non-semantic layouts and sell them for 20 times what I charge. Will anyone know? Probably not. Just try to run one of your favorite company’s sites through the W3 Validator and see if it passes. They got away with it. I probably could, too.
Again I ask, will anyone know? Yes, I would. I couldn’t do that. I won’t.
Am I accusing other web designers/coders? Run your sites through the validator and accuse yourself. Baboon! 😉