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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Being new to HTML (and mostly self-taught after a basic tutorial) I have likely missed out on some important basic rules of HTML and as a result, have the following questions.

    My first question revolves around the <!DOCTYPE that preceeds the <HTML> tag. How important are the values in this tag when it comes to being processed by a browser, or is this information merely there for documentary purposes?

    Leading on from the previous question - what is the difference for example between "HTML 4 Strict", "HTML 4 Transitional", "HTML 4 Frameset", etc.

    I would really appreciate your advice since I am about to start dabbling in DHTML (which is HTML 4 - I think?) and would like to avoid as many mistakes as possible.

    Once again thanking you in anticipation ...
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
    Web Mechanix
    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

  2. #2
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I feel the DTD declaration is extremely important, epsecially as we move into XML which lets us create our own DTDs. I will not go into a lengthy explanation here of what they are of why we need them, but if you want to know mroe visit the W3C's website:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/sgml/dtd.html
    It is a good site to have bookmarked for all the latest innovations in web development, and also the latest versions of HTML, XHTML etc.

    I also recommend their various mailing lists for keeping up to date.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru
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    Well it is not necessary, but good practise dictates that the DocType is specified.

    Some additional information, the differences between HTML 4 Strict, Transitional and Frameset are Strict has totally discarded all the presentation elements (such as the FONT tags for example). Transitional includes all elements in the Strict DTD and also the presentation elements from HTML 3.2 and earlier. Frameset includes the tags used for Frameset pages.

    Also, DHTML is not HTML 4. DHTML is merely the name given to effects possible with a set of technologies, including HTML, CSS, Javascript and the DOM.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    What is a <doc type, and what is it really used for? I Don't think I've ever seen it.

  5. #5
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Visit the website I mentioned in the above post. It can probably explain it a lot better than I can

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I dont think this is particularly necessary - I've been making sites for ages now and I've never used that tag before.
    I probably should have but it didn't make any difference
    Just another tag to confuse us even more

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by duckie
    Some additional information, the differences between HTML 4 Strict, Transitional and Frameset are Strict has totally discarded all the presentation elements (such as the FONT tags for example). Transitional includes all elements in the Strict DTD and also the presentation elements from HTML 3.2 and earlier. Frameset includes the tags used for Frameset pages.

    Also, DHTML is not HTML 4. DHTML is merely the name given to effects possible with a set of technologies, including HTML, CSS, Javascript and the DOM.
    Thanx Duckie

    You have added clarity to my confusion - although a lot still remains. Having recently jumped feet-first into the world of HTML, I have no knowledge of the differences between it's various versions. I have tried Nicky's advice and referenced the W3C site, but find that just as confusing. Maybe I will try again - unless of course someone can point me in the direction of some info (relating to the various HTML versions etc.) that will be understandable to a newbie such as myself.

    Nevertheless, thanx once again - especially for the DHTML / HTML 4 info - saves me from making an idiot of myself (something at which I am well practised!).
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
    Web Mechanix
    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot Wilmot's Avatar
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    thespian: I would recommend you purchase a book on HTML as well as viewing online materials. A good book will provide a solid base for your HTML knowledge which you can add to by viewing online content and other materials. Apart from that, once you have read it initially, it will make and excellent reference material when designing pages.

    I purchased the book "HTML 4 For the World Wide Web", Fourth Edition, by Elizabeth Castro which I used to teach myself HTML. Check out the books website at http://www.cookwood.com/html4_4e/

    The above book says that the !DCOTYPE tag is supposed to tell the browser what version of HTML is being used, however, she has not found one browser which needs this tag to be included. It then goes on to say that if you are particularly careful to follow the W3C's standards, then include it. Otherwise forget it.

    That is her opinion, not sure what others think.

    Hope that helped a bit!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot thespian's Avatar
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    Wilmot: I am awaiting deliver of an HTML handbook that I have ordered from Amazon. I will look through it, and if I still have questions, I will post them here.

    Thanx for your reply and advice - both are greatly appreciated.
    Bill Conté [Protected by Psalm 91]
    Web Mechanix
    Growing OLD is Mandatory - Growing UP is Optional!

  10. #10
    Freelance Web Designer KeithMcL's Avatar
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    I have never used it before either, but now that i'm using HTML editors more and more it automatically enters it in when I choose to make a new page.

    I've never noticed a difference as far as search engines etc is concerned with it.


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