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Web Design Fundamentals is a survey of Web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design. Instructor James Williamson examines popular web development tools, server-side software solutions, content management solutions, and cloud-based software, providing a high-level overview of the world of Web publishing.
Writing valid HTML code should be a goal of every web designer. Valid HTML will help ensure that your pages will render correctly across multiple devices, that the content can be consumed by the widest array of devices and that your document is written within the established web standards. While learning about web standards and writing valid HTML, you're bound to come across the term DTD. In this movie, we'll discuss DTDs and how they assist you in writing valid HTML. DTD actually has two meanings involving writing valid markup, and often the terms are confused or interchanged with each other incorrectly.
First, DTD can stand for Document Type Definition. There are many types of markup languages and many different versions of HTML. In order for a client to properly parse and understand the document being provided to it, it's important that the client knows the rules and the syntax of formatting that document type. Document Type Definitions are the machine readable files that describe the structure, elements and attributes contained within a particular document type. These are highly technical documents, designed to be parsed by user agents, and unless you're looking for a little light reading, it's doubtful you will spend a lot of time looking through them.
DTDs can also stand for Document Type Declaration. This is often shortened to Doctype declaration and is something that, as a web designer, you'll have to be much more familiar with. Doctype declarations allow you to identify a document as belonging to a specific document type. In terms of HTML, it allows you to identify which versions, or flavor, of HTML that your document belongs to. This will tell browsers how to interpret your code and determine if you're using valid markup or not. Doctype declarations are found at the very top of your document preceding the HTML tag.
They look much like any other tag, but unlike many HTML tags, they don't require a closing tag. The syntax is fairly simple and is used to identify the document type, whether the specification is Public or Private, and where user agents can find the Document Type Declaration. As simple as this structure is, very few people have doctype declarations memorized and typically, they're going to copy and paste them from one document to the next or allow programs like Dreamweaver to add them automatically for them. Now, I've listed here some of the more common doctype declarations.
Note the differences between the versions of HTML and how some versions of HTML have multiple versions. Strict declaration tells user agents to use the rules of the doctype declaration only and not allow for any backwards compatibility. Transitional declarations tell the user agent to be more forgiving when parsing the syntax and allow elements or structure found in previous versions. Frameset doctypes alert the user agent to the use of frames within the document. It's important to note that this is a small representation of doctype declarations.
There are doctypes for mobile profiles, XML files and other markup language types. I also want to point out here the doctype declaration for HTML5. HTML5 validation does not require a Document Type Declaration. So, the doctype declaration merely identifies the document type and is considered optional. In future versions of browsers, we may not need a doctype declaration at all as support for HTML5 increases.
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