Dreamweaver 8 and Doctypes

Here's a note about Dreamweaver 8 and doctypes that may save some web designers from inadvertently or unknowingly mixing HTML and XHTML coding in one page.

As it turns out, Dreamweaver 8's Preferences include a selection of doctypes. Select one as default and DW8 will code all new docouments according to that doctype (e.g., XHTML transitional).

If you already have (or have created) documents containing other doctypes, Dreamweaver 8 is also clever enough to code according to those doctypes. Open a file with, say, the HTML 4.01 transitional doctype, and DW8 will insert code for that doctype. Cool.

However — and here is the big "ouch" — if your doctypes are incomplete, then DW8 uses the default doctype specified in Preferences. For instance, if you have a page with the HTML 4.01 doctype but have left out the W3.org URL, then DW8 defaults to the Preferences doctype. That means that you can end up with XHTML on an HTML page. (And that is exactly why I mention this; another designer had sent me a file with a mishmosh of HTML/XHTML.)

For information about doctypes, see A List Apart's "Fix Your Site With the Right DOCTYPE!" article.

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