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Web development is an ever evolving ecosystem where technologies are constantly on the roll. However HTML is one language that has been known ever since people started building websites. This time tested technology has survived over the years and has changed with the changing habits and trends of websites as well as their users. While most professional web developers have mastered over this language some still flounder and fail to make most out of it. This results out of ignorance about the basics of this technology. Here we shall discuss five important things that every developer must be aware of.
- Document Type Declaration
When you are starting with HTML coding it is very important to let the browsers know what type of html you are using. This is known as Document Type Declaration or popularly referred to as DOCTYPE. A doctype shouldn’t be confused as an HTML tag or XHTML element. It is only a declaration and always appears at the very top of your documents. Most HTML 4.1 web pages would begin with the following code where the document type is declared.<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN”
HTML5 has however simplified the process of declaring a document type. In HTML5 you can state the Doctype by simply writing the following code at the top of the page.
- Alt Tag For Images
An image is an integral part of the webpage and hence it must also be accord equal importance in the HTML codes as any other element of the website. To make the image a part of the code you must make use of the Alt Attribute popularly known as the Alt Tag. This provides alternative information about the image to the browser in case the user isn’t able to view the image. Using Alt Tag can also increase the online visibility of the website and increase its traffic as a substantial number of users land on webpages using the image search option of all major web browsers.
- Cross Browser Debugging
We are living in a multi-browser world and hence your HTML website also need to be cross-browser compatible. It needs to appear and function uniformly on all major browsers IE, Chrome, Opera, Safari and Firefox and most of their versions. One of the ways in which you can achieve this is to go for cross-browser debugging. Most professional developers opt for preventive debugging which starts with valid HTML and a good reset stylesheet. This helps you get rid of any errors that might prevent your website from being served uniformly on different browsers.
- Encoding Symbols and Special Characters
There are many cases when you will need to insert symbols and special characters as a part of your HTML code. One of the easiest ways of inserting symbols such as ©, ™, Ø etc. is to type them in Microsoft Word using the related shortcuts. However there is a problem in doing so as some of the browsers may not display these symbols and special characters and rather show errors. As a professional HTML developer you need to encode these characters into your code instead of merely copying and pasting them.
- Cascading Style Sheet
Although we are supposed to discuss about HTML5 we can’t ignore the importance of CSS or Cascading Style Sheet here. Both these are complimentary web development tools that go hand in hand to create awesome websites. Most amateur developers are used to inline styling instead of keeping the CSS codes in the CSS files. Though this many help you achieve results that you want for a small website with a few pages it will add to your headache for complex websites. It is advisable that a HTML developer knows CSS like the back of his palm as this reduces the workload on any project.
As an HTML developer these are some of the things that you need to know to make the most out of this language. Apart from these you also need to keep track of the latest design and development trends that are emerging in the market as this will help you serve your clients better.