h6 elements and the
hgroup element are headings.
The first element of heading content in an element of sectioning content represents the heading for that section. Subsequent headings of equal or higher rank start new (implied) sections, headings of lower rank start implied subsections that are part of the previous one. In both cases, the element represents the heading of the implied section.
Certain elements are said to be sectioning roots, including
td elements. These elements can have their own outlines, but the sections and headings inside these elements do not contribute to the outlines of their ancestors.
Sectioning content elements are always considered subsections of their nearest ancestor sectioning root or their nearest ancestor element of sectioning content, whichever is nearest, regardless of what implied sections other headings may have created.
For the following fragment:
<body> <h1>Foo</h1> <h2>Bar</h2> <blockquote> <h3>Bla</h3> </blockquote> <p>Baz</p> <h2>Quux</h2> <section> <h3>Thud</h3> </section> <p>Grunt</p> </body>
...the structure would be:
bodysection, containing the "Grunt" paragraph)
Notice how the
section ends the earlier implicit section so that a later paragraph ("Grunt") is back at the top level.
Sections may contain headings of any rank, but authors are strongly encouraged to either use only
h1 elements, or to use elements of the appropriate rank for the section's nesting level.
Authors are also encouraged to explicitly wrap sections in elements of sectioning content, instead of relying on the implicit sections generated by having multiple headings in one element of sectioning content.
For example, the following is correct:
<body> <h4>Apples</h4> <p>Apples are fruit.</p> <section> <h2>Taste</h2> <p>They taste lovely.</p> <h6>Sweet</h6> <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p> <h1>Color</h1> <p>Apples come in various colors.</p> </section> </body>
However, the same document would be more clearly expressed as:
<body> <h1>Apples</h1> <p>Apples are fruit.</p> <section> <h2>Taste</h2> <p>They taste lovely.</p> <section> <h3>Sweet</h3> <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p> </section> </section> <section> <h2>Color</h2> <p>Apples come in various colors.</p> </section> </body>
Both of the documents above are semantically identical and would produce the same outline in compliant user agents.
This third example is also semantically identical, and might be easier to maintain (e.g. if sections are often moved around in editing):
<body> <h1>Apples</h1> <p>Apples are fruit.</p> <section> <h1>Taste</h1> <p>They taste lovely.</p> <section> <h1>Sweet</h1> <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p> </section> </section> <section> <h1>Color</h1> <p>Apples come in various colors.</p> </section> </body>
The outline for a sectioning content element or a sectioning root element consists of a list of one or more potentially nested sections. A section is a container that corresponds to some nodes in the original DOM tree. Each section can have one heading associated with it, and can contain any number of further nested sections. (The sections in the outline aren't
section elements, though some may correspond to such elements — they are merely conceptual sections.)
The following markup fragment:
<body> <h1>A</h1> <p>B</p> <h2>C</h2> <p>D</p> <h2>E</h2> <p>F</p> </body>
...results in the following outline being created for the
body node (and thus the entire document):
Section created for
Associated with heading "A".
Also associated with paragraph "B".