Perusing forums, I noticed a remark:

"Just make sure the doctype line is on the very first line of your document with no comments or white space before it to ensure proper browser rendering."

Looking at my coding, I noticed my page has a blank line at the top, with <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" on the second line.

The reason it does that seems to be the PHP code I have been trying to learn. The HTML is placed in a PHP Function at the top and I am guessing that is causing the space.

Will this blank line actually cause improper browser rendering? I haven't seen any ill-effect on the IE8 I use.

Below is the top part of the code:

PHP Code:
 
<?php
function renderForm($error) {
?>
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
                      "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml: lang="en">
  <head>
Another question might be, is that actually needed and correct? I have always just started my pages with <HTML>. Why all the newfangled strict and xmlns?

I have tried looking this stuff up, but it seems people talk too technical about these things. I guess what I am saying is I need the reply to be in the simplest of forms for me to analyze and comprehend it.

Thanks

Edit: The blank line in the PHP box is not in my code. It was placed there on this page.