This article describes the structure of a webpage document and the html head tag.
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The HTML Head Tag

The structure of an html document or webpage is defined by several html tags. First, the entire document must be contained within in opening <html> and closing </html> html tags. Then the document is divided into two sections, the head and the body. The head section is defined by opening <head> and closing </head> tags. The body section is defined by opening <body> and closing </body> tags.

The visible part of the webpage is coded within the body section. However, the Web browser reads and parses the head section of the document first. Within the head section, the browser finds the title of the webpage, which must be contained within in opening <title> and closing </title> title tags.

Other information which must be examined by the browser (and the Web server) before the webpage can be rendered are contained within the head section and within opening and closing meta, style, and script tags. Shown below is the tag structure of a basic html document.

<html>
<head>
<title>Title of the Webpage</title>
</head>

<body>
The content of the Webpage
</body>

</html>

To be in compliance with the html specification you must include a <!DOCTYPE> declaration at the top of your document. There are several different <!DOCTYPE> declarations. The <!DOCTYPE> declaration tells the browser which version of html you're using and how to interpret the documents code. Shown below is a basic html document with a <!DOCTYPE> declaration.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>Title of the Webpage</title>
</head>

<body>
The content of the Webpage
</body>

</html>

One important meta tag that should be contained within the head section is the meta http-equiv=Content-Type. This tag tells the browser how to convert the file's bytes into characters, and tells the server how to generate headers when it serves the document. There are several different meta http-equiv=Content-Type for different languages. Shown below is a basic html document with a meta http-equiv=Content-Type tag for the western English language,

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
<title>Title of the Webpage</title>
</head>

<body>
The content of the Webpage
</body>

</html>

It is very common to mislabel Windows-1252 text with the charset label ISO-8859-1. A result is that all the quotes and apostrophes are replaced with question marks or boxes on non-Windows operating systems, making the text difficult to read.

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