required HTML tags? (was RE: [thelist] Hiring Eye Opener - Web Skills Testing)

Matthew D. Fuller fullermd at
Wed Feb 27 18:08:00 CST 2002

On Wed, Feb 27, 2002 at 07:09:56PM -0500 I heard the voice of
Joshua Olson, and lo! it spake thus:
> > In the HTML 4.01 Strict DTD[1]:
> >
> >  - The HTML element must include a HEAD and a BODY element
> >  - The HEAD element must include a TITLE element
> >  - The BODY element must include at least one block level element
> >
> > [1] -
> But, must ever document contain an HTML element?

Yes, but not explicitly.

>From the DTD:

<!ELEMENT HTML O O (%html.content;)    -- document root element -->
so, <html> is optional.

<!ELEMENT HEAD O O (%head.content;) +(%head.misc;) -- document head -->
<!ENTITY % head.content "TITLE & BASE?">

<head> is optional, but must include a %head.content (which requires
<title> and may include <base>)

<!ELEMENT TITLE - - (#PCDATA) -(%head.misc;) -- document title -->
<title> is NOT optional, and includes PCDATA (unstructured text)

<!ELEMENT BODY O O (%block;|SCRIPT)+ +(INS|DEL) -- document body -->
and <body> is optional, but must containt at least one block-level or
<script> element.

So, by that logic, the smallest technically legal HTML doc is:

(the end tag of <p> is optional as well)
<html>, <head>, and <body> are all optional and thus impied by the

Matthew Fuller     (MF4839)     |    fullermd at
Unix Systems Administrator      |    fullermd at
Specializing in FreeBSD         |

"The only reason I'm burning my candle at both ends, is because I
      haven't figured out how to light the middle yet"

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