The Most Minimal Valid HTML Document · Jens Oliver Meiert

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The Most Minimal Valid HTML Document

—is still this:

<!

DOCTYPE html><title>
ORG

␣</title>

(“␣” is a placeholder, as the title element can’t be empty. The code represents the valid/required-only HTML writing style, leaving out everything that can be left out.)

Why “still”?

Because we’ve covered

this many years ago
DATE

, in

2008
DATE

(

2014
DATE

gist,

2020
DATE

pen), though back then it was more about demonstrating universality and maximum reusability (contrasting heavily with templates like

HTML5 Boilerplate
WORK_OF_ART

) than promoting conformant minimalism.

Why repeat “this”?

Because of ChatGPT, which can’t yet optimize HTML:

Figure: At least ChatGPT doesn’t say “tags.”

Anyone checking their HTML on conformance—validating—would find the problems with the ChatGPT output and be able to deduce this most minimal document. But commercially, unfortunately, the data says that modern web development teams don’t focus on conformance *.

That’s why “this” seems worth repeating even more.

* Should they? For professionals, I absolutely think so.

About Me

I’m

Jens
PERSON

, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like

Google
ORG

, I’m close to W3C and

WHATWG
PERSON

, and I write and review books for

O’Reilly
ORG

and

Frontend Dogma
ORG

. I love trying things, not only in web development, but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!