The <head> Element

The first child of the root element is usually the <head> element. The <head> element contains metadata—information about the page, rather than the body of the page itself. (The body of the page is, unsurprisingly, contained in the <body> element.) The <head> element itself is rather boring, and it hasn’t changed in any interesting way in HTML5. The good stuff is what’s inside the <head> element. And for that, we turn once again to our example page:

  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
  <title>My Weblog</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style-original.css" />
  <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml"
                        title="My Weblog feed"
                        href="/feed/" />
  <link rel="search" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml"
                        title="My Weblog search"
                        href="opensearch.xml"  />
  <link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

First up: the <meta> element.

Character Encoding

When you think of “text,” you probably think of “characters and symbols I see on my computer screen.” But computers don’t deal in characters and symbols; they deal in bits and bytes. Every piece of text you’ve ever seen on a computer screen is actually stored in a particular character encoding. There are many different character encodings, some optimized for particular languages like Russian or Chinese or English, and others that can be used for multiple languages. Very roughly speaking, the character encoding provides a mapping between the stuff you ...

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