Your First Webpage

Here is an example of one of the simplest HTML5 documents you can create. It starts with the HTML5 doctype, followed by a page title and then followed by some content, in this case a single paragraph.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Your first HTML5 Document</title>
<p>Okay, now we’re going somewhere!</p>

You should have an idea of what this would look like in a browser – The title of the document, "Your first HTML5 Document" and the text "Okay, now we’re going somewhere!" written at the left top of the page.

The doctype declaration tells everyone that is reading the document that HTML content follows.

<!DOCTYPE html>

If you have looked at the markup of HTML documents before, you might have seen a doctype declaration that looked a lot like this:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

Even professional webdevelopers copy and pasted this long doctype from one document to another – the new simpler doctype is easy to remember and as no specific version is declared, all new future features are automatically available to your page.

What is the DOCTYPE for?

But why is there a doctype at all? All browsers have two different ways of reading your document – standard mode and quirks mode. If you don’t tell them what kind of document they are handling, the will go into quirks mode. Think of this as the old way of reading your document – there might be some flaws and you can be sure that not all browsers read your document the same way. Declaring a doctype forces the browsers to go into standard mode – the "new" way of reading your document. Using standard mode, most browsers will read your document the same way and they will actually understand what you are writing.

To make the HTML5 document easier for yourself to understand, you would want to use the two section-elements <head> and <body>. Using these sections you clearly separate the information about your page (the head) from the actual content (body). Using these, you webpage would look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<head>
	<title>Your first HTML5 Document</title>
</head>
<body>
	<p>Okay, now we’re going somewhere!</p>
</body>

What just happened with the indenting, you might think? Whether or not you want to use indenting is your own choice but it visualizes the structure of your page and makes it easier to see at a glance.

The last thing you would want to add is the <html> element and it is placed right after the doctype-declaration.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
	<title>Your first HTML5 Document</title>
</head>
<body>
	<p>Okay, now we’re going somewhere!</p>
</body>
</html>

Congratulations you’ve just created your first HTML5 webpage! Did you notice how the <p> element is inside the <body> element? That is called nesting elements and it is a very essential part of the HTML structure. I will leave it at this for now, but I just wanted to introduce to you the idea of nesting elements.

What you have learned so far: