Surprising importance of DOCTYPE! What happened here?
I knew the DOCTYPE tag was there to tell the browser something about the rule sets it should use to process the HTML. But I never realized how much it could muck things up, and I wonder if someone can explain what happened here.
Well I have a pretty dated editor, Homesite 5.5 I think, and I used it to try my new menu, creating a default HTML document, then putting all the CSS style stuff in the <head> tag and the html stuff where I wanted the menu in my page.
Well it worked fine in Firefox, but in IE 8 or IE 9, the dropdown menus would not work. then i noticed that the sample HTML code created for me by the site had a DOCTYPE like this...
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
When I put that into my rest page, everything worked perfectly in IE. But now, compare that to the default DOCTYPE generated by my Homesite...
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
So the only difference is that the one that works actually contains a link to w3c.org. Well like I said, I never paid a huge amount of attention to the DOCTYPE tag, but now that i see the wrong one will break my navigation functionality if I don't get it right, I'm concerned! What if there's some kind of netsplit and a visitor gets to my page, but w3.org can't be reached? And what if I start using HTML 5 for the the new <video> or <audio> tags? Will changing the DOCTYPE to reference HTML 5 start causing problems too?
I guess I need to understand and pay more attention to this TAG!