HTML5 Elements: The <base> Tag

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The HTML5 Specification introduces many new semantic elements, as well as specifications for existing elements; one of which is the <base> Tag, which allows for specifying a root URL from which all linkable elements in a document (hyperlinks, images etc.) are based, as well as a default target for all linkable elements.

Overview

  • The <base> Tag provides two attributes; href (Hyper-text Reference) and target, respectively, which have the same semantic meaning as that of a hyperlink.
  • Only a single <base> Tag is to be defined per page and, must be defined before any elements which except a URL are defined (other than the html element).

Note: While the <base> Tag is not new to HTML5, the changes to the a Tag implies a difference (albeit, marginal) as, a Tags are always hyperlinks, or placeholders for hyperlinks.

Example

Like all HTML markup, usage of the <base> Tag is easy and straightforward: Simply add a single <base> Tag in the <head> element of the document and define either a base URL and / or default target attribute.

Defining a default base URL and target:

The above links will all default to a blank target (new page), with each link’s base URL defaulting to “http://somedomain/app”. Individual links can override the base URL as well as the default target.

Support

The <base> Tag is currently supported by all major browsers.

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