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From Andrew on 21 Oct '05
replying to HTML posted by Jeannie

><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
>I see this code a lot in websites as the very first line. What
>does this mean and why is it important? Does every website need

According to HTML standards, each HTML document requires a
document type declaration. The "DOCTYPE" begins the HTML document
and tells a validator which version of HTML to use in checking
the document's syntax.

If standard HTML does not meet your needs but you still wish to
gain the benefits of HTML validation, see the section on using a
custom DTD.

The following DOCTYPEs are commonly used:


This declares the document to be HTML 4.0 Strict. HTML 4.0 Strict
is a trimmed down version of HTML 4.0 that emphasizes structure
over presentation. Deprecated elements and attributes (including
most presentational attributes), frames, and link targets are not
allowed in HTML 4.0 Strict. By writing to HTML 4.0 Strict,
authors can achieve accessible, structurally rich documents that
easily adapt to style sheets and different browsing situations.
However, since many browsers lack full support for style sheets,
HTML 4.0 Strict documents may look bland on common visual
browsers such as Netscape Navigator 3.x.

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