Code Testing

Last week, whilst discussing the finer points of front end development with my friends Simon Cox & Kris noble at, we ended up on the subject of testing.

I’m not talking about testing sites on the latest browsers and devices, I mean testing the quality of the code we write and tests our sites for dead links, readability, speed and so on.

Simon has spoken about a service called Sitebeam before but last week, he actually demonstrated it by showing us what it could do and some sample reports. Whilst their plans are too expensive for someone of my workload, he did mention another similar service called Nibbler.

I think of Nibbler as a Sitebeam Light. It’s from the same company (Silktide) and does pretty much the same thing on a reduced level. The reports aren’t as detailed and act more as a summary than an analysis but still give ‘scores’ dependent on the quality of the code behind the site you’re testing.

It seems like a great idea though, to not only test our designs on various devices and browsers to ensure that everyone gets a good experience, but also to check the code we put out to reduce the chances of poor code seeping into (and ruining) our websites.

I’ve never actually come across a service like this in the past though, one that runs through the URLs and gives reports & warnings on potential problems. I often run my code through the W3C validators and similar tools but that only does so much. I say potential problems as it flagged up an error on this site saying it had no mobile styles whereas in fact, it’s built from a mobile-first perspective so the CSS doesn’t include media queries for small viewports.

What tools do you use to test the quality of your code?


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