A tool for both students and instructors to check the correctness of a web page. It not only checks HTML & CSS validity, but also broken links, total page size, title element set correctly and does a spellcheck.
The University of Auckland has a pool of funding available for project that can support teaching and learning: The Teaching Improvement Grants. In 2011, I was awarded on for the purpose of creating a tool that would help staff who teach web development papers. Typically when students create web pages as part of their assignments, checking them for correctness is a very manual process of submitting them to HTML & CSS validators and then checking for broken links, broken images, spelling errors and ensuring that the students have included necessary items such as page titles, image alt attributes and widths and heights. The tool was intended to automate this process and provide a single screen summary of the correctness of a web page.
The solution is in two parts:
- ASP.NET MVC which accepts submissions for URLs to check, and displays the results of the check. The website saves the submitted URL to a database, and then uses AJAX to query the server as to whether the results are available. Once they are it redirects to a view that displays the results of the check.
- A Windows Service that actually performs the check. This polls the database regularly for new submissions, and performs a series of checks on them. The system is modular, so that additional checks can easily be added. Currently implemented checks involve parsing the results from the W3C's HTML & CSS validators, using HEAD requests to ensure all linked files are present and to calculate the total page size. It also uses the HTML Agility Pack to parse and check various aspects of the HTML. I also implemented a bulk feature, so a staff member could enter URLs for an entire class to generate reports. Once a report has been created, a unique URL is generated which can be given to the student so they can see the results for themselves.
Home Page accepting urls to check
Screen displayed while results are being generated
The WTCC was still being used by staff and students at The University of Auckland at the time I left the University.