Someone mentioned somewhere at some point (life moves too fast) that the Google HTML/CSS Style Guide suggests that any unnecessary HTML tags can be omitted, such as the <head> and <body>. This was rather interesting to me, and so quintessential of the web. Even the things you think are so foundational may not be.

I updated my Jekyll layout to remove optional tags, which means the page you’re currently viewing does not have a <head> tag or a <body> tag. The page source goes from the document type declaration right to a meta tag. The RSS link is followed immediately by the <header> tag.

Of course, Google isn’t suggesting something new here, they’re simply following the HTML standard. The standard allows for the omission of quite a few other tags, such as the closing tag for <li> and <p>, among others. There are some conditionals around when this will work, though in most cases it seems feasible. Always good to check the spec.

Since I’m using Jekyll to generate my site, I don’t have total control over the markup generated within the content of the site, but omitting a simple </li> is neither here nor there. Still, interesting to consider that you can ship HTML without some of the most foundational tags.