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The W3C HTML validator’s helpful, understandable error messages are only notable by their absence. Good news then, the next version of the validator is going to feature much improved messages that are designed to help the user. I’m now starting to be able to internally ’translate’ the errors the current validator spews out into understandable errors with my code. Even for those of us familiar with the validator and its esoteric errors, missing out this internal translation step will be a great timesaver. For new users, it will be more of a god send. It certainly would have been good for me to have had nice understandable error output a few years ago…
Also in the new version is a “fussy parsing” mode where the validator will complain about things that are technically okay, but tend to cause problems in the real world. Along with these new features are quite a lot of bug fixes.
A full anouncement is available here.