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Jim Byrne Web Designer

How to get your XHTML pages to validate when using the blockquote element

Published: August 19, 2014

This is a tip for those marking up their web pages by hand using XHTML strict. If you are the sort of person using XHTML it is likely that you will want to ensure your pages validate when tested with the World Wide Web Consortiums markup validator.

Would it surprise you if I said the following code doesn’t validate,

<blockquote cite="http//">
Blah, blah, blah and so on..

It looks simple enough – what could be wrong with that? I came across this very problem – and spent a half hour trying to figure out why it didn’t validate. I investigated various options – including thinking that I must have some strange, invisible and illegal characters in my quoted text somewhere. After scratching my head for a while I looked at the specifications for XHTML and found the answer.

To validate as strict XHTML, you must add a block-level element around the text within the <blockquote> tag, like this:

<blockquote cite="http//">
<p>Blah, blah, blah and so on..</p>

Problem solved – now the markup validates – and so will yours the next time you use blockquote in your XHTML documents.

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