3 Semantics, structure, and APIs of HTML documents

3.1 Documents

Every XML and HTML document in an HTML UA is represented by a Document object. [DOM]

The document's address is the URL associated with a Document (as defined in the DOM standard). It is initially set when the Document is created, but that can change during the lifetime of the Document; for example, it changes when the user navigates to a fragment identifier on the page and when the pushState() method is called with a new URL. [DOM]

Interactive user agents typically expose the document's address in their user interface. This is the primary mechanism by which a user can tell if a site is attempting to impersonate another.

When a Document is created by a script using the createDocument() or createHTMLDocument() APIs, the document's address is the same as the document's address of the responsible document specified by the script's settings object, and the Document is both ready for post-load tasks and completely loaded immediately.

The document's referrer is an absolute URL that can be set when the Document is created. If it is not explicitly set, then its value is the empty string.

Each Document object has a reload override flag that is originally unset. The flag is set by the document.open() and document.write() methods in certain situations. When the flag is set, the Document also has a reload override buffer which is a Unicode string that is used as the source of the document when it is reloaded.

When the user agent is to perform an overridden reload, given a source browsing context, it must act as follows:

  1. Let source be the value of the browsing context's active document's reload override buffer.

  2. Let address be the browsing context's active document's address.

  3. Navigate the browsing context to a resource whose source is source, with replacement enabled and exceptions enabled. The source browsing context is that given to the overridden reload algorithm. When the navigate algorithm creates a Document object for this purpose, set that Document's reload override flag and set its reload override buffer to source.

    When it comes time to set the document's address in the navigation algorithm, use address as the override URL.

3.1.1 The Document object

The DOM specification defines a Document interface, which this specification extends significantly:

enum DocumentReadyState { "loading", "interactive", "complete" };

[OverrideBuiltins]
partial /*sealed*/ interface Document {
  // resource metadata management
  [PutForwards=href, Unforgeable] readonly attribute Location? location;
           attribute DOMString domain;
  readonly attribute DOMString referrer;
           attribute DOMString cookie;
  readonly attribute DOMString lastModified;
  readonly attribute DocumentReadyState readyState;

  // DOM tree accessors
  getter object (DOMString name);
           attribute DOMString title;
           attribute DOMString dir;
           attribute HTMLElement? body;
  readonly attribute HTMLHeadElement? head;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection images;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection embeds;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection plugins;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection links;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection forms;
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection scripts;
  NodeList getElementsByName(DOMString elementName);
  NodeList getItems(optional DOMString typeNames = ""); // microdata
  readonly attribute DOMElementMap cssElementMap;
  readonly attribute HTMLScriptElement? currentScript;

  // dynamic markup insertion
  Document open(optional DOMString type = "text/html", optional DOMString replace = "");
  WindowProxy open(DOMString url, DOMString name, DOMString features, optional boolean replace = false);
  void close();
  void write(DOMString... text);
  void writeln(DOMString... text);

  // user interaction
  readonly attribute WindowProxy? defaultView;
  readonly attribute Element? activeElement;
  boolean hasFocus();
           attribute DOMString designMode;
  boolean execCommand(DOMString commandId, optional boolean showUI = false, optional DOMString value = "");
  boolean queryCommandEnabled(DOMString commandId);
  boolean queryCommandIndeterm(DOMString commandId);
  boolean queryCommandState(DOMString commandId);
  boolean queryCommandSupported(DOMString commandId);
  DOMString queryCommandValue(DOMString commandId);
  readonly attribute HTMLCollection commands;

  // special event handler IDL attributes that only apply to Document objects
  [LenientThis] attribute EventHandler onreadystatechange;
};
Document implements GlobalEventHandlers;

3.1.2 Resource metadata management

document . referrer

Returns the address of the Document from which the user navigated to this one, unless it was blocked or there was no such document, in which case it returns the empty string.

The noreferrer link type can be used to block the referrer.

The referrer attribute must return the document's referrer.

In the case of HTTP, the referrer IDL attribute will match the Referer (sic) header that was sent when fetching the current page.

Typically user agents are configured to not report referrers in the case where the referrer uses an encrypted protocol and the current page does not (e.g. when navigating from an https: page to an http: page).


document . cookie [ = value ]

Returns the HTTP cookies that apply to the Document. If there are no cookies or cookies can't be applied to this resource, the empty string will be returned.

Can be set, to add a new cookie to the element's set of HTTP cookies.

If the contents are sandboxed into a unique origin (e.g. in an iframe with the sandbox attribute), a SecurityError exception will be thrown on getting and setting.

The cookie attribute represents the cookies of the resource identified by the document's address.

A Document object that falls into one of the following conditions is a cookie-averse Document object:

On getting, if the document is a cookie-averse Document object, then the user agent must return the empty string. Otherwise, if the Document's origin is not a scheme/host/port tuple, the user agent must throw a SecurityError exception. Otherwise, the user agent must first obtain the storage mutex and then return the cookie-string for the document's address for a "non-HTTP" API, decoded using the UTF-8 decoder. [COOKIES] (This is a fingerprinting vector.)

On setting, if the document is a cookie-averse Document object, then the user agent must do nothing. Otherwise, if the Document's origin is not a scheme/host/port tuple, the user agent must throw a SecurityError exception. Otherwise, the user agent must obtain the storage mutex and then act as it would when receiving a set-cookie-string for the document's address via a "non-HTTP" API, consisting of the new value encoded as UTF-8. [COOKIES] [ENCODING]

Since the cookie attribute is accessible across frames, the path restrictions on cookies are only a tool to help manage which cookies are sent to which parts of the site, and are not in any way a security feature.


document . lastModified

Returns the date of the last modification to the document, as reported by the server, in the form "MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm:ss", in the user's local time zone.

If the last modification date is not known, the current time is returned instead.

The lastModified attribute, on getting, must return the date and time of the Document's source file's last modification, in the user's local time zone, in the following format:

  1. The month component of the date.
  2. A "/" (U+002F) character.
  3. The day component of the date.
  4. A "/" (U+002F) character.
  5. The year component of the date.
  6. A U+0020 SPACE character.
  7. The hours component of the time.
  8. A ":" (U+003A) character.
  9. The minutes component of the time.
  10. A ":" (U+003A) character.
  11. The seconds component of the time.

All the numeric components above, other than the year, must be given as two ASCII digits representing the number in base ten, zero-padded if necessary. The year must be given as the shortest possible string of four or more ASCII digits representing the number in base ten, zero-padded if necessary.

The Document's source file's last modification date and time must be derived from relevant features of the networking protocols used, e.g. from the value of the HTTP Last-Modified header of the document, or from metadata in the file system for local files. If the last modification date and time are not known, the attribute must return the current date and time in the above format.


document . readyState

Returns "loading" while the Document is loading, "interactive" once it is finished parsing but still loading sub-resources, and "complete" once it has loaded.

The readystatechange event fires on the Document object when this value changes.

Each document has a current document readiness. When a Document object is created, it must have its current document readiness set to the string "loading" if the document is associated with an HTML parser, an XML parser, or an XSLT processor, and to the string "complete" otherwise. Various algorithms during page loading affect this value. When the value is set, the user agent must fire a simple event named readystatechange at the Document object.

A Document is said to have an active parser if it is associated with an HTML parser or an XML parser that has not yet been stopped or aborted.

The readyState IDL attribute must, on getting, return the current document readiness.

3.1.3 DOM tree accessors

The html element of a document is the document's root element, if there is one and it's an html element, or null otherwise.


document . head

Returns the head element.

The head element of a document is the first head element that is a child of the html element, if there is one, or null otherwise.

The head attribute, on getting, must return the head element of the document (a head element or null).


document . title [ = value ]

Returns the document's title, as given by the title element for HTML and as given by the SVG title element for SVG.

Can be set, to update the document's title. If there is no appropriate element to update, the new value is ignored.

The title element of a document is the first title element in the document (in tree order), if there is one, or null otherwise.

The title attribute must, on getting, run the following algorithm:

  1. If the root element is an svg element in the SVG namespace, then let value be a concatenation of the data of all the child Text nodes of the first title element in the SVG namespace that is a child of the root element. [SVG]

  2. Otherwise, let value be a concatenation of the data of all the child Text nodes of the title element, in tree order, or the empty string if the title element is null.

  3. Strip and collapse whitespace in value.

  4. Return value.

On setting, the steps corresponding to the first matching condition in the following list must be run:

If the root element is an svg element in the SVG namespace [SVG]
  1. Let element be the first title element in the SVG namespace that is a child of the root element, if any. If there isn't one, create a title element in the SVG namespace, append it to the root element, and let element be that element. [SVG]

  2. Act as if the textContent IDL attribute of element was set to the new value being assigned.

If the root element is in the HTML namespace
  1. If the title element is null and the head element is null, then abort these steps.

  2. If the title element is null, then create a new title element and append it to the head element, and let element be the newly created element; otherwise, let element be the title element.

  3. Act as if the textContent IDL attribute of element was set to the new value being assigned.

Otherwise

Do nothing.


document . body [ = value ]

Returns the body element.

Can be set, to replace the body element.

If the new value is not a body or frameset element, this will throw a HierarchyRequestError exception.

The body element of a document is the first child of the html element that is either a body element or a frameset element. If there is no such element, it is null.

The body attribute, on getting, must return the body element of the document (either a body element, a frameset element, or null). On setting, the following algorithm must be run:

  1. If the new value is not a body or frameset element, then throw a HierarchyRequestError exception and abort these steps.
  2. Otherwise, if the new value is the same as the body element, do nothing. Abort these steps.
  3. Otherwise, if the body element is not null, then replace that element with the new value in the DOM, as if the root element's replaceChild() method had been called with the new value and the incumbent body element as its two arguments respectively, then abort these steps.
  4. Otherwise, if there is no root element, throw a HierarchyRequestError exception and abort these steps.
  5. Otherwise, the body element is null, but there's a root element. Append the new value to the root element.

document . images

Returns an HTMLCollection of the img elements in the Document.

document . embeds
document . plugins

Return an HTMLCollection of the embed elements in the Document.

document . links

Returns an HTMLCollection of the a and area elements in the Document that have href attributes.

document . forms

Return an HTMLCollection of the form elements in the Document.

document . scripts

Return an HTMLCollection of the script elements in the Document.

The images attribute must return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only img elements.

The embeds attribute must return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only embed elements.

The plugins attribute must return the same object as that returned by the embeds attribute.

The links attribute must return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only a elements with href attributes and area elements with href attributes.

The forms attribute must return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only form elements.

The scripts attribute must return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only script elements.


collection = document . getElementsByName(name)

Returns a NodeList of elements in the Document that have a name attribute with the value name.

The getElementsByName(name) method takes a string name, and must return a live NodeList containing all the HTML elements in that document that have a name attribute whose value is equal to the name argument (in a case-sensitive manner), in tree order. When the method is invoked on a Document object again with the same argument, the user agent may return the same as the object returned by the earlier call. In other cases, a new NodeList object must be returned.


element . cssElementMap

Returns a DOMElementMap object for the Document representing the current CSS element reference identifiers.

The cssElementMap IDL attribute allows authors to define CSS element reference identifiers, which are used in certain CSS features to override the normal ID-based mapping. [CSSIMAGES]

When a Document is created, it must be associated with an initially-empty CSS ID overrides list, which consists of a list of mappings each of which consists of a string name mapped to an Element node.

Each entry in the CSS ID overrides list, while it is in the list and is either in the Document or is an img, video, or canvas element, defines a CSS element reference identifier mapping the given name to the given Element. [CSSIMAGES]

On getting, the cssElementMap IDL attribute must return a DOMElementMap object, associated with the following algorithms, which expose the current mappings:

The algorithm for getting the list of name-element mappings

Return the Document's CSS ID overrides list, maintaining the order in which the entries were originally added to the list.

The algorithm for mapping a name to a certain element

Let name be the name passed to the algorithm and element be the Element passed to the algorithm.

If element is null, run the algorithm for deleting mappings by name, passing it name.

Otherwise, if there is an entry in the Document's CSS ID overrides list whose name is name, replace its current value with element.

Otherwise, add a mapping to the Document's CSS ID overrides list whose name is name and whose element is element.

The algorithm for deleting mappings by name

If there is an entry in the Document's CSS ID overrides list whose name is the name passed to this algorithm, remove it. This also undefines the CSS element reference identifier for that name. [CSSIMAGES]

The same object must be returned each time.


document . currentScript

Returns the script element that is currently executing. In the case of reentrant script execution, returns the one that most recently started executing amongst those that have not yet finished executing.

Returns null if the Document is not currently executing a script element (e.g. because the running script is an event handler, or a timeout).

The currentScript attribute, on getting, must return the value to which it was most recently initialized. When the Document is created, the currentScript must be initialised to null.


The Document interface supports named properties. The supported property names at any moment consist of the values of the name content attributes of all the applet, exposed embed, form, iframe, img, and exposed object elements in the Document that have non-empty name content attributes, and the values of the id content attributes of all the applet and exposed object elements in the Document that have non-empty id content attributes, and the values of the id content attributes of all the img elements in the Document that have both non-empty name content attributes and non-empty id content attributes. The supported property names must be in tree order, ignoring later duplicates, with values from id attributes coming before values from name attributes when the same element contributes both.

To determine the value of a named property name when the Document object is indexed for property retrieval, the user agent must return the value obtained using the following steps:

  1. Let elements be the list of named elements with the name name in the Document.

    There will be at least one such element, by definition.

  2. If elements has only one element, and that element is an iframe element, then return the WindowProxy object of the nested browsing context represented by that iframe element, and abort these steps.

  3. Otherwise, if elements has only one element, return that element and abort these steps.

  4. Otherwise return an HTMLCollection rooted at the Document node, whose filter matches only named elements with the name name.

Named elements with the name name, for the purposes of the above algorithm, are those that are either:

An embed or object element is said to be exposed if it has no exposed object ancestor, and, for object elements, is additionally either not showing its fallback content or has no object or embed descendants.


The dir attribute on the Document interface is defined along with the dir content attribute.

3.1.4 Loading XML documents

partial interface XMLDocument {
  boolean load(DOMString url);
};

The load(url) method must run the following steps:

  1. Let document be the XMLDocument object on which the method was invoked.

  2. Resolve the method's first argument, relative to the API base URL specified by the entry settings object. If this is not successful, throw a SyntaxError exception and abort these steps. Otherwise, let url be the resulting absolute URL.

  3. If the origin of url is not the same as the origin of document, throw a SecurityError exception and abort these steps.

  4. Remove all child nodes of document, without firing any mutation events.

  5. Set the current document readiness of document to "loading".

  6. Run the remainder of these steps asynchronously, and return true from the method.

  7. Let result be a Document object.

  8. Let success be false.

  9. Fetch url from the origin of document, using the API referrer source specified by the entry settings object, with the synchronous flag set and the force same-origin flag set.

  10. If the fetch attempt was successful, and the resource's Content-Type metadata is an XML MIME type, then run these substeps:

    1. Create a new XML parser associated with the result document.

    2. Pass this parser the fetched document.

    3. If there is an XML well-formedness or XML namespace well-formedness error, then remove all child nodes from result. Otherwise let success be true.

  11. Queue a task to run the following steps.

    1. Set the current document readiness of document to "complete".

    2. Replace all the children of document by the children of result (even if it has no children), firing mutation events as if a DocumentFragment containing the new children had been inserted.

    3. Fire a simple event named load at document.

3.2 Elements

3.2.1 Semantics

Elements, attributes, and attribute values in HTML are defined (by this specification) to have certain meanings (semantics). For example, the ol element represents an ordered list, and the lang attribute represents the language of the content.

These definitions allow HTML processors, such as Web browsers or search engines, to present and use documents and applications in a wide variety of contexts that the author might not have considered.

As a simple example, consider a Web page written by an author who only considered desktop computer Web browsers:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html lang="en">
 <head>
  <title>My Page</title>
 </head>
 <body>
  <h1>Welcome to my page</h1>
  <p>I like cars and lorries and have a big Jeep!</p>
  <h2>Where I live</h2>
  <p>I live in a small hut on a mountain!</p>
 </body>
</html>

Because HTML conveys meaning, rather than presentation, the same page can also be used by a small browser on a mobile phone, without any change to the page. Instead of headings being in large letters as on the desktop, for example, the browser on the mobile phone might use the same size text for the whole the page, but with the headings in bold.

But it goes further than just differences in screen size: the same page could equally be used by a blind user using a browser based around speech synthesis, which instead of displaying the page on a screen, reads the page to the user, e.g. using headphones. Instead of large text for the headings, the speech browser might use a different volume or a slower voice.

That's not all, either. Since the browsers know which parts of the page are the headings, they can create a document outline that the user can use to quickly navigate around the document, using keys for "jump to next heading" or "jump to previous heading". Such features are especially common with speech browsers, where users would otherwise find quickly navigating a page quite difficult.

Even beyond browsers, software can make use of this information. Search engines can use the headings to more effectively index a page, or to provide quick links to subsections of the page from their results. Tools can use the headings to create a table of contents (that is in fact how this very specification's table of contents is generated).

This example has focused on headings, but the same principle applies to all of the semantics in HTML.

Authors must not use elements, attributes, or attribute values for purposes other than their appropriate intended semantic purpose, as doing so prevents software from correctly processing the page.

...

The document in this next example is similarly non-conforming, despite being syntactically correct, because the data placed in the cells is clearly not tabular data, and the cite element mis-used:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html lang="en-GB">
 <head> <title> Demonstration </title> </head>
 <body>
  <table>
   <tr> <td> My favourite animal is the cat. </td> </tr>
   <tr>
    <td>
     —<a href="http://example.org/~ernest/"><cite>Ernest</cite></a>,
     in an essay from 1992
    </td>
   </tr>
  </table>
 </body>
</html>

This would make software that relies on these semantics fail: for example, a speech browser that allowed a blind user to navigate tables in the document would report the quote above as a table, confusing the user; similarly, a tool that extracted titles of works from pages would extract "Ernest" as the title of a work, even though it's actually a person's name, not a title.

A corrected version of this document might be:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html lang="en-GB">
 <head> <title> Demonstration </title> </head>
 <body>
  <blockquote>
   <p> My favourite animal is the cat. </p>
  </blockquote>
  <p>
   —<a href="http://example.org/~ernest/">Ernest</a>,
   in an essay from 1992
  </p>
 </body>
</html>

Authors must not use elements, attributes, or attribute values that are not permitted by this specification or other applicable specifications, as doing so makes it significantly harder for the language to be extended in the future.

In the next example, there is a non-conforming attribute value ("carpet") and a non-conforming attribute ("texture"), which is not permitted by this specification:

<label>Carpet: <input type="carpet" name="c" texture="deep pile"></label>

Here would be an alternative and correct way to mark this up:

<label>Carpet: <input type="text" class="carpet" name="c" data-texture="deep pile"></label>

Through scripting and using other mechanisms, the values of attributes, text, and indeed the entire structure of the document may change dynamically while a user agent is processing it. The semantics of a document at an instant in time are those represented by the state of the document at that instant in time, and the semantics of a document can therefore change over time. User agents must update their presentation of the document as this occurs.

HTML has a progress element that describes a progress bar. If its "value" attribute is dynamically updated by a script, the UA would update the rendering to show the progress changing.

3.2.2 Elements in the DOM

The nodes representing HTML elements in the DOM must implement, and expose to scripts, the interfaces listed for them in the relevant sections of this specification. This includes HTML elements in XML documents, even when those documents are in another context (e.g. inside an XSLT transform).

Elements in the DOM represent things; that is, they have intrinsic meaning, also known as semantics.

For example, an ol element represents an ordered list.

The basic interface, from which all the HTML elements' interfaces inherit, and which must be used by elements that have no additional requirements, is the HTMLElement interface.

interface HTMLElement : Element {
  // metadata attributes
           attribute DOMString title;
           attribute DOMString lang;
           attribute boolean translate;
           attribute DOMString dir;
  readonly attribute DOMStringMap dataset;


  // microdata
           attribute boolean itemScope;
  [PutForwards=value] readonly attribute DOMSettableTokenList itemType;
           attribute DOMString itemId;
  [PutForwards=value] readonly attribute DOMSettableTokenList itemRef;
  [PutForwards=value] readonly attribute DOMSettableTokenList itemProp;
  readonly attribute HTMLPropertiesCollection properties;
           attribute any itemValue; // acts as DOMString on setting

  // user interaction
           attribute boolean hidden;
  void click();
           attribute long tabIndex;
  void focus();
  void blur();
           attribute DOMString accessKey;
  readonly attribute DOMString accessKeyLabel;
           attribute boolean draggable;
  [PutForwards=value] readonly attribute DOMSettableTokenList dropzone;
           attribute DOMString contentEditable;
  readonly attribute boolean isContentEditable;
           attribute HTMLMenuElement? contextMenu;
           attribute boolean spellcheck;
  void forceSpellCheck();

  // command API
  readonly attribute DOMString? commandType;
  readonly attribute DOMString? commandLabel;
  readonly attribute DOMString? commandIcon;
  readonly attribute boolean? commandHidden;
  readonly attribute boolean? commandDisabled;
  readonly attribute boolean? commandChecked;
};
HTMLElement implements GlobalEventHandlers;

interface HTMLUnknownElement : HTMLElement { };

The HTMLElement interface holds methods and attributes related to a number of disparate features, and the members of this interface are therefore described in various different sections of this specification.

The HTMLUnknownElement interface must be used for HTML elements that are not defined by this specification (or other applicable specifications).

3.2.3 Element definitions

Each element in this specification has a definition that includes the following information:

Categories

A list of categories to which the element belongs. These are used when defining the content models for each element.

Contexts in which this element can be used

A non-normative description of where the element can be used. This information is redundant with the content models of elements that allow this one as a child, and is provided only as a convenience.

For simplicity, only the most specific expectations are listed. For example, an element that is both flow content and phrasing content can be used anywhere that either flow content or phrasing content is expected, but since anywhere that flow content is expected, phrasing content is also expected (since all phrasing content is flow content), only "where phrasing content is expected" will be listed.

Content model

A normative description of what content must be included as children and descendants of the element.

Tag omission in text/html:

A non-normative description of whether, in the text/html syntax, the start and end tags can be omitted. This information is redundant with the normative requirements given in the optional tags section, and is provided in the element definitions only as a convenience.

Content attributes

A normative list of attributes that may be specified on the element (except where otherwise disallowed), along with non-normative descriptions of those attributes. (The content to the left of the dash is normative, the content to the right of the dash is not.)

Allowed ARIA role attribute values

A normative list of ARIA role attribute values that may be specified on the element (except where otherwise disallowed). Each value is linked to a non normative description.

Allowed ARIA state and property attributes

Links to the Global aria-* attributes list and the allowed roles, states and properties table.

DOM interface

A normative definition of a DOM interface that such elements must implement.

This is then followed by a description of what the element represents, along with any additional normative conformance criteria that may apply to authors and implementations. Examples are sometimes also included.

3.2.3.1 Attributes

Except where otherwise specified, attributes on HTML elements may have any string value, including the empty string. Except where explicitly stated, there is no restriction on what text can be specified in such attributes.

3.2.4 Content models

Each element defined in this specification has a content model: a description of the element's expected contents. An HTML element must have contents that match the requirements described in the element's content model. The contents of an element are its children in the DOM, except for template elements, where the children are those in the template contents (a separate DocumentFragment assigned to the element when the element is created).

The space characters are always allowed between elements. User agents represent these characters between elements in the source markup as Text nodes in the DOM. Empty Text nodes and Text nodes consisting of just sequences of those characters are considered inter-element whitespace.

Inter-element whitespace, comment nodes, and processing instruction nodes must be ignored when establishing whether an element's contents match the element's content model or not, and must be ignored when following algorithms that define document and element semantics.

Thus, an element A is said to be preceded or followed by a second element B if A and B have the same parent node and there are no other element nodes or Text nodes (other than inter-element whitespace) between them. Similarly, a node is the only child of an element if that element contains no other nodes other than inter-element whitespace, comment nodes, and processing instruction nodes.

Authors must not use HTML elements anywhere except where they are explicitly allowed, as defined for each element, or as explicitly required by other specifications. For XML compound documents, these contexts could be inside elements from other namespaces, if those elements are defined as providing the relevant contexts.

For example, the Atom specification defines a content element. When its type attribute has the value xhtml, the Atom specification requires that it contain a single HTML div element. Thus, a div element is allowed in that context, even though this is not explicitly normatively stated by this specification. [ATOM]

In addition, HTML elements may be orphan nodes (i.e. without a parent node).

For example, creating a td element and storing it in a global variable in a script is conforming, even though td elements are otherwise only supposed to be used inside tr elements.

var data = {
  name: "Banana",
  cell: document.createElement('td'),
};
3.2.4.1 Kinds of content

Each element in HTML falls into zero or more categories that group elements with similar characteristics together. The following broad categories are used in this specification:

Some elements also fall into other categories, which are defined in other parts of this specification.

These categories are related as follows:

Sectioning content, heading content, phrasing content, embedded content, and interactive content are all types of flow content. Metadata is sometimes flow content. Metadata and interactive content are sometimes phrasing content. Embedded content is also a type of phrasing content, and sometimes is interactive content.

Other categories are also used for specific purposes, e.g. form controls are specified using a number of categories to define common requirements. Some elements have unique requirements and do not fit into any particular category.

3.2.4.1.1 Metadata content

Metadata content is content that sets up the presentation or behavior of the rest of the content, or that sets up the relationship of the document with other documents, or that conveys other "out of band" information.

Elements from other namespaces whose semantics are primarily metadata-related (e.g. RDF) are also metadata content.

Thus, in the XML serialization, one can use RDF, like this:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
      xmlns:r="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#" lang="en">
 <head>
  <title>Hedral's Home Page</title>
  <r:RDF>
   <Person xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/10/swap/pim/contact#"
           r:about="http://hedral.example.com/#">
    <fullName>Cat Hedral</fullName>
    <mailbox r:resource="mailto:hedral@damowmow.com"/>
    <personalTitle>Sir</personalTitle>
   </Person>
  </r:RDF>
 </head>
 <body>
  <h1>My home page</h1>
  <p>I like playing with string, I guess. Sister says squirrels are fun
  too so sometimes I follow her to play with them.</p>
 </body>
</html>

This isn't possible in the HTML serialization, however.

3.2.4.1.2 Flow content

Most elements that are used in the body of documents and applications are categorised as flow content.

3.2.4.1.3 Sectioning content

Sectioning content is content that defines the scope of headings and footers.

Each sectioning content element potentially has a heading and an outline. See the section on headings and sections for further details.

There are also certain elements that are sectioning roots. These are distinct from sectioning content, but they can also have an outline.

3.2.4.1.4 Heading content

Heading content defines the header of a section (whether explicitly marked up using sectioning content elements, or implied by the heading content itself).

3.2.4.1.5 Phrasing content

Phrasing content is the text of the document, as well as elements that mark up that text at the intra-paragraph level. Runs of phrasing content form paragraphs.

Most elements that are categorised as phrasing content can only contain elements that are themselves categorised as phrasing content, not any flow content.

Text, in the context of content models, means either nothing, or Text nodes. Text is sometimes used as a content model on its own, but is also phrasing content, and can be inter-element whitespace (if the Text nodes are empty or contain just space characters).

Text nodes and attribute values must consist of Unicode characters, must not contain U+0000 characters, must not contain permanently undefined Unicode characters (noncharacters), and must not contain control characters other than space characters. This specification includes extra constraints on the exact value of Text nodes and attribute values depending on their precise context.

3.2.4.1.6 Embedded content

Embedded content is content that imports another resource into the document, or content from another vocabulary that is inserted into the document.

Elements that are from namespaces other than the HTML namespace and that convey content but not metadata, are embedded content for the purposes of the content models defined in this specification. (For example, MathML, or SVG.)

Some embedded content elements can have fallback content: content that is to be used when the external resource cannot be used (e.g. because it is of an unsupported format). The element definitions state what the fallback is, if any.

3.2.4.1.7 Interactive content

Interactive content is content that is specifically intended for user interaction.

The tabindex attribute can also make any element into interactive content.

3.2.4.1.8 Palpable content

As a general rule, elements whose content model allows any flow content or phrasing content should have at least one node in its contents that is palpable content and that does not have the hidden attribute specified.

This requirement is not a hard requirement, however, as there are many cases where an element can be empty legitimately, for example when it is used as a placeholder which will later be filled in by a script, or when the element is part of a template and would on most pages be filled in but on some pages is not relevant.

Conformance checkers are encouraged to provide a mechanism for authors to find elements that fail to fulfill this requirement, as an authoring aid.

The following elements are palpable content:

3.2.4.1.9 Script-supporting elements

Script-supporting elements are those that do not represent anything themselves (i.e. they are not rendered), but are used to support scripts, e.g. to provide functionality for the user.

The following elements are script-supporting elements:

3.2.4.2 Transparent content models

Some elements are described as transparent; they have "transparent" in the description of their content model. The content model of a transparent element is derived from the content model of its parent element: the elements required in the part of the content model that is "transparent" are the same elements as required in the part of the content model of the parent of the transparent element in which the transparent element finds itself.

For instance, an ins element inside a ruby element cannot contain an rt element, because the part of the ruby element's content model that allows ins elements is the part that allows phrasing content, and the rt element is not phrasing content.

In some cases, where transparent elements are nested in each other, the process has to be applied iteratively.

Consider the following markup fragment:

<p><object><param><ins><map><a href="/">Apples</a></map></ins></object></p>

To check whether "Apples" is allowed inside the a element, the content models are examined. The a element's content model is transparent, as is the map element's, as is the ins element's, as is the part of the object element's in which the ins element is found. The object element is found in the p element, whose content model is phrasing content. Thus, "Apples" is allowed, as text is phrasing content.

When a transparent element has no parent, then the part of its content model that is "transparent" must instead be treated as accepting any flow content.

3.2.4.3 Paragraphs

The term paragraph as defined in this section is used for more than just the definition of the p element. The paragraph concept defined here is used to describe how to interpret documents. The p element is merely one of several ways of marking up a paragraph.

A paragraph is typically a run of phrasing content that forms a block of text with one or more sentences that discuss a particular topic, as in typography, but can also be used for more general thematic grouping. For instance, an address is also a paragraph, as is a part of a form, a byline, or a stanza in a poem.

In the following example, there are two paragraphs in a section. There is also a heading, which contains phrasing content that is not a paragraph. Note how the comments and inter-element whitespace do not form paragraphs.

<section>
  <h1>Example of paragraphs</h1>
  This is the <em>first</em> paragraph in this example.
  <p>This is the second.</p>
  <!-- This is not a paragraph. -->
</section>

Paragraphs in flow content are defined relative to what the document looks like without the a, ins, del, and map elements complicating matters, since those elements, with their hybrid content models, can straddle paragraph boundaries, as shown in the first two examples below.

Generally, having elements straddle paragraph boundaries is best avoided. Maintaining such markup can be difficult.

The following example takes the markup from the earlier example and puts ins and del elements around some of the markup to show that the text was changed (though in this case, the changes admittedly don't make much sense). Notice how this example has exactly the same paragraphs as the previous one, despite the ins and del elements — the ins element straddles the heading and the first paragraph, and the del element straddles the boundary between the two paragraphs.

<section>
  <ins><h2>Example of paragraphs</h2>
  This is the <em>first</em> paragraph in</ins> this example<del>.
  <p>This is the second.</p></del>
  <!-- This is not a paragraph. -->
</section>

Let view be a view of the DOM that replaces all a, ins, del, and map elements in the document with their contents. Then, in view, for each run of sibling phrasing content nodes uninterrupted by other types of content, in an element that accepts content other than phrasing content as well as phrasing content, let first be the first node of the run, and let last be the last node of the run. For each such run that consists of at least one node that is neither embedded content nor inter-element whitespace, a paragraph exists in the original DOM from immediately before first to immediately after last. (Paragraphs can thus span across a, ins, del, and map elements.)

Conformance checkers may warn authors of cases where they have paragraphs that overlap each other (this can happen with object, video, audio, and canvas elements, and indirectly through elements in other namespaces that allow HTML to be further embedded therein, like svg or math).

A paragraph is also formed explicitly by p elements.

The p element can be used to wrap individual paragraphs when there would otherwise not be any content other than phrasing content to separate the paragraphs from each other.

In the following example, the link spans half of the first paragraph, all of the heading separating the two paragraphs, and half of the second paragraph. It straddles the paragraphs and the heading.

<header>
 Welcome!
 <a href="about.html">
  This is home of...
  <h1>The Falcons!</h1>
  The Lockheed Martin multirole jet fighter aircraft!
 </a>
 This page discusses the F-16 Fighting Falcon's innermost secrets.
</header>

Here is another way of marking this up, this time showing the paragraphs explicitly, and splitting the one link element into three:

<header>
 <p>Welcome! <a href="about.html">This is home of...</a></p>
 <h1><a href="about.html">The Falcons!</a></h1>
 <p><a href="about.html">The Lockheed Martin multirole jet
 fighter aircraft!</a> This page discusses the F-16 Fighting
 Falcon's innermost secrets.</p>
</header>

It is possible for paragraphs to overlap when using certain elements that define fallback content. For example, in the following section:

<section>
 <h2>My Cats</h2>
 You can play with my cat simulator.
 <object data="cats.sim">
  To see the cat simulator, use one of the following links:
  <ul>
   <li><a href="cats.sim">Download simulator file</a>
   <li><a href="http://sims.example.com/watch?v=LYds5xY4INU">Use online simulator</a>
  </ul>
  Alternatively, upgrade to the Mellblom Browser.
 </object>
 I'm quite proud of it.
</section>

There are five paragraphs:

  1. The paragraph that says "You can play with my cat simulator. object I'm quite proud of it.", where object is the object element.
  2. The paragraph that says "To see the cat simulator, use one of the following links:".
  3. The paragraph that says "Download simulator file".
  4. The paragraph that says "Use online simulator".
  5. The paragraph that says "Alternatively, upgrade to the Mellblom Browser.".

The first paragraph is overlapped by the other four. A user agent that supports the "cats.sim" resource will only show the first one, but a user agent that shows the fallback will confusingly show the first sentence of the first paragraph as if it was in the same paragraph as the second one, and will show the last paragraph as if it was at the start of the second sentence of the first paragraph.

To avoid this confusion, explicit p elements can be used. For example:

<section>
 <h2>My Cats</h2>
 <p>You can play with my cat simulator.</p>
 <object data="cats.sim">
  <p>To see the cat simulator, use one of the following links:</p>
  <ul>
   <li><a href="cats.sim">Download simulator file</a>
   <li><a href="http://sims.example.com/watch?v=LYds5xY4INU">Use online simulator</a>
  </ul>
  <p>Alternatively, upgrade to the Mellblom Browser.</p>
 </object>
 <p>I'm quite proud of it.</p>
</section>

3.2.5 Global attributes

The following attributes are common to and may be specified on all HTML elements (even those not defined in this specification):

These attributes are only defined by this specification as attributes for HTML elements. When this specification refers to elements having these attributes, elements from namespaces that are not defined as having these attributes must not be considered as being elements with these attributes.

For example, in the following XML fragment, the "bogus" element does not have a dir attribute as defined in this specification, despite having an attribute with the literal name "dir". Thus, the directionality of the inner-most span element is 'rtl', inherited from the div element indirectly through the "bogus" element.

<div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="rtl">
 <bogus xmlns="http://example.net/ns" dir="ltr">
  <span xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
  </span>
 </bogus>
</div>

To enable assistive technology products to expose a more fine-grained interface than is otherwise possible with HTML elements and attributes, a set of annotations for assistive technology products can be specified (the ARIA role and aria-* attributes). [ARIA]


The following event handler content attributes may be specified on any HTML element:

The attributes marked with an asterisk have a different meaning when specified on body elements as those elements expose event handlers of the Window object with the same names.

While these attributes apply to all elements, they are not useful on all elements. For example, only media elements will ever receive a volumechange event fired by the user agent.


Custom data attributes (e.g. data-foldername or data-msgid) can be specified on any HTML element, to store custom data specific to the page.


In HTML documents, elements in the HTML namespace may have an xmlns attribute specified, if, and only if, it has the exact value "http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml". This does not apply to XML documents.

In HTML, the xmlns attribute has absolutely no effect. It is basically a talisman. It is allowed merely to make migration to and from XHTML mildly easier. When parsed by an HTML parser, the attribute ends up in no namespace, not the "http://www.w3.org/2000/xmlns/" namespace like namespace declaration attributes in XML do.

In XML, an xmlns attribute is part of the namespace declaration mechanism, and an element cannot actually have an xmlns attribute in no namespace specified.


The XML specification also allows the use of the xml:space attribute in the XML namespace on any element in an XML document. This attribute has no effect on HTML elements, as the default behavior in HTML is to preserve whitespace. [XML]

There is no way to serialise the xml:space attribute on HTML elements in the text/html syntax.

3.2.5.1 The id attribute

The id attribute specifies its element's unique identifier (ID). [DOM]

The value must be unique amongst all the IDs in the element's home subtree and must contain at least one character. The value must not contain any space characters.

There are no other restrictions on what form an ID can take; in particular, IDs can consist of just digits, start with a digit, start with an underscore, consist of just punctuation, etc.

An element's unique identifier can be used for a variety of purposes, most notably as a way to link to specific parts of a document using fragment identifiers, as a way to target an element when scripting, and as a way to style a specific element from CSS.

Identifiers are opaque strings. Particular meanings should not be derived from the value of the id attribute.

3.2.5.2 The title attribute

The title attribute represents advisory information for the element, such as would be appropriate for a tooltip. On a link, this could be the title or a description of the target resource; on an image, it could be the image credit or a description of the image; on a paragraph, it could be a footnote or commentary on the text; on a citation, it could be further information about the source; on interactive content, it could be a label for, or instructions for, use of the element; and so forth. The value is text.

Relying on the title attribute for the visual display of text content is currently discouraged as many user agents do not expose the attribute in an accessible manner as required by this specification (e.g. requiring a pointing device such as a mouse to cause a tooltip to appear, which excludes keyboard-only users and touch-only users, such as anyone with a modern phone or tablet).

If this attribute is omitted from an element, then it implies that the title attribute of the nearest ancestor HTML element with a title attribute set is also relevant to this element. Setting the attribute overrides this, explicitly stating that the advisory information of any ancestors is not relevant to this element. Setting the attribute to the empty string indicates that the element has no advisory information.

If the title attribute's value contains "LF" (U+000A) characters, the content is split into multiple lines. Each "LF" (U+000A) character represents a line break.

Caution is advised with respect to the use of newlines in title attributes.

For instance, the following snippet actually defines an abbreviation's expansion with a line break in it:

<p>My logs show that there was some interest in <abbr title="Hypertext
Transport Protocol">HTTP</abbr> today.</p>

Some elements, such as link, abbr, and input, define additional semantics for the title attribute beyond the semantics described above.

The advisory information of an element is the value that the following algorithm returns, with the algorithm being aborted once a value is returned. When the algorithm returns the empty string, then there is no advisory information.

  1. If the element is a link, style, dfn, abbr, or menuitem element, then: if the element has a title attribute, return the value of that attribute, otherwise, return the empty string.

  2. Otherwise, if the element has a title attribute, then return its value.

  3. Otherwise, if the element has a parent element, then return the parent element's advisory information.

  4. Otherwise, return the empty string.

User agents should inform the user when elements have advisory information, otherwise the information would not be discoverable.


The title IDL attribute must reflect the title content attribute.

3.2.5.3 The lang and xml:lang attributes

The lang attribute (in no namespace) specifies the primary language for the element's contents and for any of the element's attributes that contain text. Its value must be a valid BCP 47 language tag, or the empty string. Setting the attribute to the empty string indicates that the primary language is unknown. [BCP47]

The lang attribute in the XML namespace is defined in XML. [XML]

If these attributes are omitted from an element, then the language of this element is the same as the language of its parent element, if any.

The lang attribute in no namespace may be used on any HTML element.

The lang attribute in the XML namespace may be used on HTML elements in XML documents, as well as elements in other namespaces if the relevant specifications allow it (in particular, MathML and SVG allow lang attributes in the XML namespace to be specified on their elements). If both the lang attribute in no namespace and the lang attribute in the XML namespace are specified on the same element, they must have exactly the same value when compared in an ASCII case-insensitive manner.

Authors must not use the lang attribute in the XML namespace on HTML elements in HTML documents. To ease migration to and from XHTML, authors may specify an attribute in no namespace with no prefix and with the literal localname "xml:lang" on HTML elements in HTML documents, but such attributes must only be specified if a lang attribute in no namespace is also specified, and both attributes must have the same value when compared in an ASCII case-insensitive manner.

The attribute in no namespace with no prefix and with the literal localname "xml:lang" has no effect on language processing.


To determine the language of a node, user agents must look at the nearest ancestor element (including the element itself if the node is an element) that has a lang attribute in the XML namespace set or is an HTML element and has a lang in no namespace attribute set. That attribute specifies the language of the node (regardless of its value).

If both the lang attribute in no namespace and the lang attribute in the XML namespace are set on an element, user agents must use the lang attribute in the XML namespace, and the lang attribute in no namespace must be ignored for the purposes of determining the element's language.

If neither the node nor any of the node's ancestors, including the root element, have either attribute set, but there is a pragma-set default language set, then that is the language of the node. If there is no pragma-set default language set, then language information from a higher-level protocol (such as HTTP), if any, must be used as the final fallback language instead. In the absence of any such language information, and in cases where the higher-level protocol reports multiple languages, the language of the node is unknown, and the corresponding language tag is the empty string.

If the resulting value is not a recognised language tag, then it must be treated as an unknown language having the given language tag, distinct from all other languages. For the purposes of round-tripping or communicating with other services that expect language tags, user agents should pass unknown language tags through unmodified, and tagged as being BCP 47 language tags, so that subsequent services do not interpret the data as another type of language description. [BCP47]

Thus, for instance, an element with lang="xyzzy" would be matched by the selector :lang(xyzzy) (e.g. in CSS), but it would not be matched by :lang(abcde), even though both are equally invalid. Similarly, if a Web browser and screen reader working in unison communicated about the language of the element, the browser would tell the screen reader that the language was "xyzzy", even if it knew it was invalid, just in case the screen reader actually supported a language with that tag after all. Even if the screen reader supported both BCP 47 and another syntax for encoding language names, and in that other syntax the string "xyzzy" was a way to denote the Belarusian language, it would be incorrect for the screen reader to then start treating text as Belarusian, because "xyzzy" is not how Belarusian is described in BCP 47 codes (BCP 47 uses the code "be" for Belarusian).

If the resulting value is the empty string, then it must be interpreted as meaning that the language of the node is explicitly unknown.


User agents may use the element's language to determine proper processing or rendering (e.g. in the selection of appropriate fonts or pronunciations, for dictionary selection, or for the user interfaces of form controls such as date pickers).


The lang IDL attribute must reflect the lang content attribute in no namespace.

3.2.5.4 The translate attribute

The translate attribute is an enumerated attribute that is used to specify whether an element's attribute values and the values of its Text node children are to be translated when the page is localized, or whether to leave them unchanged.

The attribute's keywords are the empty string, yes, and no. The empty string and the yes keyword map to the yes state. The no keyword maps to the no state. In addition, there is a third state, the inherit state, which is the missing value default (and the invalid value default).

Each element (even non-HTML elements) has a translation mode, which is in either the translate-enabled state or the no-translate state. If an HTML element's translate attribute is in the yes state, then the element's translation mode is in the translate-enabled state; otherwise, if the element's translate attribute is in the no state, then the element's translation mode is in the no-translate state. Otherwise, either the element's translate attribute is in the inherit state, or the element is not an HTML element and thus does not have a translate attribute; in either case, the element's translation mode is in the same state as its parent element's, if any, or in the translate-enabled state, if the element is a root element.

When an element is in the translate-enabled state, the element's translatable attributes and the values of its Text node children are to be translated when the page is localized. Attributes of the element that are not listed as translatable attributes should not be translated.

When an element is in the no-translate state, the element's attribute values (including the values of translatable attributes) and the values of its Text node children are to be left as-is when the page is localized, e.g. because the element contains a person's name or a the name of a computer program.

The following attributes are translatable attributes:


The translate IDL attribute must, on getting, return true if the element's translation mode is translate-enabled, and false otherwise. On setting, it must set the content attribute's value to "yes" if the new value is true, and set the content attribute's value to "no" otherwise.

In this example, everything in the document is to be translated when the page is localized, except the sample keyboard input and sample program output:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html> <!-- default on the root element is translate=yes -->
 <head>
  <title>The Bee Game</title> <!-- implied translate=yes inherited from ancestors -->
 </head>
 <body>
  <p>The Bee Game is a text adventure game in English.</p>
  <p>When the game launches, the first thing you should do is type
  <kbd translate=no>eat honey</kbd>. The game will respond with:</p>
  <pre><samp translate=no>Yum yum! That was some good honey!</samp></pre>
 </body>
</html>
3.2.5.5 The xml:base attribute (XML only)

The xml:base attribute is defined in XML Base. [XMLBASE]

The xml:base attribute may be used on HTML elements of XML documents. Authors must not use the xml:base attribute on HTML elements in HTML documents.

3.2.5.6 The dir attribute

The dir attribute specifies the element's text directionality. The attribute is an enumerated attribute with the following keywords and states:

The ltr keyword, which maps to the ltr state

Indicates that the contents of the element are explicitly directionally isolated left-to-right text.

The rtl keyword, which maps to the rtl state

Indicates that the contents of the element are explicitly directionally isolated right-to-left text.

The auto keyword, which maps to the auto state

Indicates that the contents of the element are explicitly directionally isolated text, but that the direction is to be determined programmatically using the contents of the element (as described below).

The heuristic used by this state is very crude (it just looks at the first character with a strong directionality, in a manner analogous to the Paragraph Level determination in the bidirectional algorithm). Authors are urged to only use this value as a last resort when the direction of the text is truly unknown and no better server-side heuristic can be applied. [BIDI]

For textarea and pre elements, the heuristic is applied on a per-paragraph level.

The attribute has no invalid value default and no missing value default.


The directionality of an element (any element, not just an HTML element) is either 'ltr' or 'rtl', and is determined as per the first appropriate set of steps from the following list:

If the element's dir attribute is in the ltr state
If the element is a root element and the dir attribute is not in a defined state (i.e. it is not present or has an invalid value)
If the element is an input element whose type attribute is in the Telephone state, and the dir attribute is not in a defined state (i.e. it is not present or has an invalid value)

The directionality of the element is 'ltr'.

If the element's dir attribute is in the rtl state

The directionality of the element is 'rtl'.

If the element is an input element whose type attribute is in the Text, Search, Telephone, URL, or E-mail state, and the dir attribute is in the auto state
If the element is a textarea element and the dir attribute is in the auto state

If the element's value contains a character of bidirectional character type AL or R, and there is no character of bidirectional character type L anywhere before it in the element's value, then the directionality of the element is 'rtl'. [BIDI]

Otherwise, if the element's value is not the empty string, or if the element is a root element, the directionality of the element is 'ltr'.

Otherwise, the directionality of the element is the same as the element's parent element's directionality.

If the element's dir attribute is in the auto state
If the element is a bdi element and the dir attribute is not in a defined state (i.e. it is not present or has an invalid value)

Find the first character in tree order that matches the following criteria:

If such a character is found and it is of bidirectional character type AL or R, the directionality of the element is 'rtl'.

If such a character is found and it is of bidirectional character type L, the directionality of the element is 'ltr'.

Otherwise, if the element is empty and is not a root element, the directionality of the element is the same as the element's parent element's directionality.

Otherwise, the directionality of the element is 'ltr'.

If the element has a parent element and the dir attribute is not in a defined state (i.e. it is not present or has an invalid value)

The directionality of the element is the same as the element's parent element's directionality.

Since the dir attribute is only defined for HTML elements, it cannot be present on elements from other namespaces. Thus, elements from other namespaces always just inherit their directionality from their parent element, or, if they don't have one, default to 'ltr'.

This attribute has rendering requirements involving the bidirectional algorithm.


The directionality of an attribute of an HTML element, which is used when the text of that attribute is to be included in the rendering in some manner, is determined as per the first appropriate set of steps from the following list:

If the attribute is a directionality-capable attribute and the element's dir attribute is in the auto state

Find the first character (in logical order) of the attribute's value that is of bidirectional character type L, AL, or R. [BIDI]

If such a character is found and it is of bidirectional character type AL or R, the directionality of the attribute is 'rtl'.

Otherwise, the directionality of the attribute is 'ltr'.

Otherwise
The directionality of the attribute is the same as the element's directionality.

The following attributes are directionality-capable attributes:


document . dir [ = value ]

Returns the html element's dir attribute's value, if any.

Can be set, to either "ltr", "rtl", or "auto" to replace the html element's dir attribute's value.

If there is no html element, returns the empty string and ignores new values.

The dir IDL attribute on an element must reflect the dir content attribute of that element, limited to only known values.

The dir IDL attribute on Document objects must reflect the dir content attribute of the html element, if any, limited to only known values. If there is no such element, then the attribute must return the empty string and do nothing on setting.

Authors are strongly encouraged to use the dir attribute to indicate text direction rather than using CSS, since that way their documents will continue to render correctly even in the absence of CSS (e.g. as interpreted by search engines).

This markup fragment is of an IM conversation.

<p dir=auto class="u1"><b><bdi>Student</bdi>:</b> How do you write "What's your name?" in Arabic?</p>
<p dir=auto class="u2"><b><bdi>Teacher</bdi>:</b> ما اسمك؟</p>
<p dir=auto class="u1"><b><bdi>Student</bdi>:</b> Thanks.</p>
<p dir=auto class="u2"><b><bdi>Teacher</bdi>:</b> That's written "شكرًا".</p>
<p dir=auto class="u2"><b><bdi>Teacher</bdi>:</b> Do you know how to write "Please"?</p>
<p dir=auto class="u1"><b><bdi>Student</bdi>:</b> "من فضلك", right?</p>

Given a suitable style sheet and the default alignment styles for the p element, namely to align the text to the start edge of the paragraph, the resulting rendering could be as follows:

Each paragraph rendered as a separate block, with the paragraphs left-aligned except the second paragraph and the last one, which would  be right aligned, with the usernames ('Student' and 'Teacher' in this example) flush right, with a colon to their left, and the text first to the left of that.

As noted earlier, the auto value is not a panacea. The final paragraph in this example is misinterpreted as being right-to-left text, since it begins with an Arabic character, which causes the "right?" to be to the left of the Arabic text.

3.2.5.7 The class attribute

Every HTML element may have a class attribute specified.

The attribute, if specified, must have a value that is a set of space-separated tokens representing the various classes that the element belongs to.

The classes that an HTML element has assigned to it consists of all the classes returned when the value of the class attribute is split on spaces. (Duplicates are ignored.)

Assigning classes to an element affects class matching in selectors in CSS, the getElementsByClassName() method in the DOM, and other such features.

There are no additional restrictions on the tokens authors can use in the class attribute, but authors are encouraged to use values that describe the nature of the content, rather than values that describe the desired presentation of the content.


The className and classList IDL attributes, defined in the DOM specification, reflect the class content attribute. [DOM]

3.2.5.8 The style attribute

All HTML elements may have the style content attribute set. This is a CSS styling attribute as defined by the CSS Styling Attribute Syntax specification. [CSSATTR]

In user agents that support CSS, the attribute's value must be parsed when the attribute is added or has its value changed, according to the rules given for CSS styling attributes. [CSSATTR]

Documents that use style attributes on any of their elements must still be comprehensible and usable if those attributes were removed.

In particular, using the style attribute to hide and show content, or to convey meaning that is otherwise not included in the document, is non-conforming. (To hide and show content, use the hidden attribute.)


element . style

Returns a CSSStyleDeclaration object for the element's style attribute.

The style IDL attribute is defined in the CSS Object Model (CSSOM) specification. [CSSOM]

In the following example, the words that refer to colors are marked up using the span element and the style attribute to make those words show up in the relevant colors in visual media.

<p>My sweat suit is <span style="color: green; background:
transparent">green</span> and my eyes are <span style="color: blue;
background: transparent">blue</span>.</p>
3.2.5.9 Embedding custom non-visible data with the data-* attributes

A custom data attribute is an attribute in no namespace whose name starts with the string "data-", has at least one character after the hyphen, is XML-compatible, and contains no uppercase ASCII letters.

All attribute names on HTML elements in HTML documents get ASCII-lowercased automatically, so the restriction on ASCII uppercase letters doesn't affect such documents.

Custom data attributes are intended to store custom data private to the page or application, for which there are no more appropriate attributes or elements.

These attributes are not intended for use by software that is not known to the administrators of the site that uses the attributes. For generic extensions that are to be used by multiple independent tools, either this specification should be extended to provide the feature explicitly, or a technology like microdata should be used (with a standardised vocabulary).

For instance, a site about music could annotate list items representing tracks in an album with custom data attributes containing the length of each track. This information could then be used by the site itself to allow the user to sort the list by track length, or to filter the list for tracks of certain lengths.

<ol>
 <li data-length="2m11s">Beyond The Sea</li>
 ...
</ol>

It would be inappropriate, however, for the user to use generic software not associated with that music site to search for tracks of a certain length by looking at this data.

This is because these attributes are intended for use by the site's own scripts, and are not a generic extension mechanism for publicly-usable metadata.

Similarly, a page author could write markup that provides information for a translation tool that they are intending to use:

<p>The third <span data-mytrans-de="Anspruch">claim</span> covers the case of <span
translate="no">HTML</span> markup.</p>

In this example, the "data-mytrans-de" attribute gives specific text for the MyTrans product to use when translating the phrase "claim" to German. However, the standard translate attribute is used to tell it that in all languages, "HTML" is to remain unchanged. When a standard attribute is available, there is no need for a custom data attribute to be used.

Every HTML element may have any number of custom data attributes specified, with any value.


element . dataset

Returns a DOMStringMap object for the element's data-* attributes.

Hyphenated names become camel-cased. For example, data-foo-bar="" becomes element.dataset.fooBar.

The dataset IDL attribute provides convenient accessors for all the data-* attributes on an element. On getting, the dataset IDL attribute must return a DOMStringMap object, associated with the following algorithms, which expose these attributes on their element:

The algorithm for getting the list of name-value pairs
  1. Let list be an empty list of name-value pairs.
  2. For each content attribute on the element whose first five characters are the string "data-" and whose remaining characters (if any) do not include any uppercase ASCII letters, in the order that those attributes are listed in the element's attribute list, add a name-value pair to list whose name is the attribute's name with the first five characters removed and whose value is the attribute's value.
  3. For each name in list, for each "-" (U+002D) character in the name that is followed by a lowercase ASCII letter, remove the "-" (U+002D) character and replace the character that followed it by the same character converted to ASCII uppercase.
  4. Return list.
The algorithm for setting names to certain values
  1. Let name be the name passed to the algorithm.
  2. Let value be the value passed to the algorithm.
  3. If name contains a "-" (U+002D) character followed by a lowercase ASCII letter, throw a SyntaxError exception and abort these steps.
  4. For each uppercase ASCII letter in name, insert a "-" (U+002D) character before the character and replace the character with the same character converted to ASCII lowercase.
  5. Insert the string data- at the front of name.
  6. Set the value of the attribute with the name name, to the value value, replacing any previous value if the attribute already existed. If setAttribute() would have thrown an exception when setting an attribute with the name name, then this must throw the same exception.
The algorithm for deleting names
  1. Let name be the name passed to the algorithm.
  2. For each uppercase ASCII letter in name, insert a "-" (U+002D) character before the character and replace the character with the same character converted to ASCII lowercase.
  3. Insert the string data- at the front of name.
  4. Remove the attribute with the name name, if such an attribute exists. Do nothing otherwise.

This algorithm will only get invoked by the Web IDL specification for names that are given by the earlier algorithm for getting the list of name-value pairs. [WEBIDL]

The same object must be returned each time.

If a Web page wanted an element to represent a space ship, e.g. as part of a game, it would have to use the class attribute along with data-* attributes:

<div class="spaceship" data-ship-id="92432"
     data-weapons="laser 2" data-shields="50%"

     data-x="30" data-y="10" data-z="90">
 <button class="fire"
         onclick="spaceships[this.parentNode.dataset.shipId].fire()">
  Fire
 </button>
</div>

Notice how the hyphenated attribute name becomes camel-cased in the API.

Authors should carefully design such extensions so that when the attributes are ignored and any associated CSS dropped, the page is still usable.

User agents must not derive any implementation behavior from these attributes or values. Specifications intended for user agents must not define these attributes to have any meaningful values.

JavaScript libraries may use the custom data attributes, as they are considered to be part of the page on which they are used. Authors of libraries that are reused by many authors are encouraged to include their name in the attribute names, to reduce the risk of clashes. Where it makes sense, library authors are also encouraged to make the exact name used in the attribute names customizable, so that libraries whose authors unknowingly picked the same name can be used on the same page, and so that multiple versions of a particular library can be used on the same page even when those versions are not mutually compatible.

For example, a library called "DoQuery" could use attribute names like data-doquery-range, and a library called "jJo" could use attributes names like data-jjo-range. The jJo library could also provide an API to set which prefix to use (e.g. J.setDataPrefix('j2'), making the attributes have names like data-j2-range).

3.2.6 Requirements relating to the bidirectional algorithm

3.2.6.1 Authoring conformance criteria for bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters

Text content in HTML elements with Text nodes in their contents, and text in attributes of HTML elements that allow free-form text, may contain characters in the ranges U+202A to U+202E and U+2066 to U+2069 (the bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters). However, the use of these characters is restricted so that any embedding or overrides generated by these characters do not start and end with different parent elements, and so that all such embeddings and overrides are explicitly terminated by a U+202C POP DIRECTIONAL FORMATTING character. This helps reduce incidences of text being reused in a manner that has unforeseen effects on the bidirectional algorithm. [BIDI]

The aforementioned restrictions are defined by specifying that certain parts of documents form bidirectional-algorithm formatting character ranges, and then imposing a requirement on such ranges.

The strings resulting from applying the following algorithm to an HTML element element are bidirectional-algorithm formatting character ranges:

  1. Let output be an empty list of strings.

  2. Let string be an empty string.

  3. Let node be the first child node of element, if any, or null otherwise.

  4. Loop: If node is null, jump to the step labeled end.

  5. Process node according to the first matching step from the following list:

    If node is a Text node

    Append the text data of node to string.

    If node is a br element
    If node is an HTML element that is flow content but that is not also phrasing content

    If string is not the empty string, push string onto output, and let string be empty string.

    Otherwise
    Do nothing.
  6. Let node be node's next sibling, if any, or null otherwise.

  7. Jump to the step labeled loop.

  8. End: If string is not the empty string, push string onto output.

  9. Return output as the bidirectional-algorithm formatting character ranges.

The value of a namespace-less attribute of an HTML element is a bidirectional-algorithm formatting character range.

Any strings that, as described above, are bidirectional-algorithm formatting character ranges must match the string production in the following ABNF, the character set for which is Unicode. [ABNF]

string        = *( plaintext ( embedding / override / isolation ) ) plaintext
embedding     = ( lre / rle ) string pdf
override      = ( lro / rlo ) string pdf
isolation     = ( lri / rli / fsi ) string pdi
lre           = %x202A ; U+202A LEFT-TO-RIGHT EMBEDDING
rle           = %x202B ; U+202B RIGHT-TO-LEFT EMBEDDING
lro           = %x202D ; U+202D LEFT-TO-RIGHT OVERRIDE
rlo           = %x202E ; U+202E RIGHT-TO-LEFT OVERRIDE
pdf           = %x202C ; U+202C POP DIRECTIONAL FORMATTING
lri           = %x2066 ; U+2066 LEFT-TO-RIGHT ISOLATE
rli           = %x2067 ; U+2067 RIGHT-TO-LEFT ISOLATE
fsi           = %x2068 ; U+2068 FIRST STRONG ISOLATE
pdi           = %x2069 ; U+2069 POP DIRECTIONAL ISOLATE
plaintext     = *( %x0000-2029 / %x202F-2065 / %x206A-10FFFF )
                ; any string with no bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters

While the U+2069 POP DIRECTIONAL ISOLATE character implicitly also ends open embeddings and overrides, text that relies on this implicit scope closure is not conforming to this specification. All strings of embeddings, overrides, and isolations need to be explicitly terminated to conform to this section's requirements.

Authors are encouraged to use the dir attribute, the bdo element, and the bdi element, rather than maintaining the bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters manually. The bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters interact poorly with CSS.

3.2.6.2 User agent conformance criteria

User agents must implement the Unicode bidirectional algorithm to determine the proper ordering of characters when rendering documents and parts of documents. [BIDI]

The mapping of HTML to the Unicode bidirectional algorithm must be done in one of three ways. Either the user agent must implement CSS, including in particular the CSS 'unicode-bidi', 'direction', and 'content' properties, and must have, in its user agent style sheet, the rules using those properties given in this specification's rendering section, or, alternatively, the user agent must act as if it implemented just the aforementioned properties and had a user agent style sheet that included all the aforementioned rules, but without letting style sheets specified in documents override them, or, alternatively, the user agent must implement another styling language with equivalent semantics. [CSSWM] [CSSGC]

The following elements and attributes have requirements defined by the rendering section that, due to the requirements in this section, are requirements on all user agents (not just those that support the suggested default rendering):

3.2.7 WAI-ARIA

Authors are encouraged to make use of the following documents for guidance on using ARIA in HTML beyond that which is provided in this section:

Authors may use the ARIA role and aria-* attributes on HTML elements, in accordance with the requirements described in the ARIA specifications, except where these conflict with the strong native semantics described below. These exceptions are intended to prevent authors from making assistive technology products report nonsensical states that do not represent the actual state of the document. [ARIA]

User agents must implement ARIA semantics on all HTML elements, as defined in the ARIA specifications. The default implicit ARIA semantics defined below must be recognised by implementations for the purposes of ARIA processing. [ARIAIMPL]

The ARIA attributes defined in the ARIA specifications, and the strong native semantics and default implicit ARIA semantics defined below, do not have any effect on CSS pseudo-class matching, user interface modalities that don't use assistive technologies, or the default actions of user interaction events as described in this specification.

3.2.7.1 ARIA Role Attribute

Any HTML element, other than elements having Strong Native Semantics of No role, may have an ARIA role attribute specified. This is an ARIA Role attribute as defined by [ARIA] Section 5.4 Definition of Roles.

The attribute, if specified, must have a value that is a set of space-separated tokens; each token must be a non-abstract role defined in the WAI-ARIA specification [ARIA].

The WAI-ARIA role that an HTML element has assigned to it is the first non-abstract role found in the list of values generated when the role attribute is split on spaces.

3.2.7.2 State and Property Attributes

Every HTML element may have ARIA state and property attributes specified. These attributes are defined by [ARIA] in Section 6.6, Definitions of States and Properties (all aria-* attributes).

A subset of the ARIA State and Property attributes are defined as "Global States and Properties" in Section 6.4. Global States and Properties of the [ARIA] Specification.

These attributes, if specified, must have a value that is the ARIA value type in the "Value" field of the definition for the state or property, mapped to the appropriate HTML value type according to [ARIA] Section 10.2 Mapping WAI-ARIA Value types to languages using the HTML 5 mapping.

ARIA State and Property attributes can be used on any element. They are not always meaningful, however, and in such cases user agents might not perform any processing aside from including them in the DOM. State and property attributes are processed according to the requirements of the sections Strong Native Semantics and Implicit ARIA semantics, as well as [ARIA] and [ARIAIMPL].

3.2.7.3 Strong Native Semantics

The following table defines the strong native semantics and corresponding default implicit ARIA semantics that apply to HTML elements. Each language feature (element or attribute) in a cell in the first column implies the ARIA semantics (any role, states, and properties) given in the cell in the second column of the same row. When multiple rows apply to an element, the role from the last row to define a role must be applied, and the states and properties from all the rows must be combined.

Documents must not use any role values with elements in the following table other than the corresponding role value (if any) as listed for that element in the second column, or the role value "presentation", if the second column indicates that element's semantics can be removed by using the "presentation" role value.

In the majority of cases setting an ARIA role and/or aria-* attribute that matches the default implicit ARIA semantics is unnecessary and not recommended as these properties are already set by the browser.

Language feature Strong native semantics and default implicit ARIA semantics
area element that creates a hyperlink link role
base element No role
datalist element listbox role, with the aria-multiselectable property set to "false"
details element aria-expanded state set to "true" if the element's open attribute is present, and set to "false" otherwise
dialog element without an open attribute The aria-hidden state set to "true"
fieldset element group role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
footer element that is not a descendant of an article or section element. contentinfo role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
head element No role
header element that is not a descendant of an article or section element. banner role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
hr element separator role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
html element No role
img element whose alt attribute's value is empty No role. User Agents must identify the img as ignored or omit it from the accessibility tree.
img element whose alt attribute's value is empty and whose usemap attribute has a valid hash-name reference to a map element. img role
input element with a type attribute in the Checkbox state aria-checked state set to "mixed" if the element's indeterminate IDL attribute is true, or "true" if the element's checkedness is true, or "false" otherwise
input element with a type attribute in the Color state No role
input element with a type attribute in the Date state No role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Date and Time state No role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the E-mail state with no suggestions source element textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the File Upload state No role
input element with a type attribute in the Hidden state No role
input element with a type attribute in the Month state No role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Number state spinbutton role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute, the aria-valuemax property set to the element's maximum, the aria-valuemin property set to the element's minimum, and, if the result of applying the rules for parsing floating-point number values to the element's value is a number, with the aria-valuenow property set to that number
input element with a type attribute in the Password state textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Range state and the multiple attribute not specified aria-valuemax property set to the element's maximum, and the aria-valuemin property set to the element's minimum
input element with a type attribute in the Reset Button state button role
input element with a type attribute in the Search state with no suggestions source element textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Submit Button state button role
input element with a type attribute in the Telephone state with no suggestions source element textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Text state with no suggestions source element textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Text, Search, Telephone, URL, or E-mail states with a suggestions source element combobox role, with the aria-owns property set to the same value as the list attribute, and the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Time state No role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the URL state with no suggestions source element textbox role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
input element with a type attribute in the Week state No role, with the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
keygen element No role
label element No role
link element that creates a hyperlink link role
main element main role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
map element No role
menu element with a type attribute in the popup menu state No role
menuitem element menuitem role
meta element No role
meter element No role
nav element navigation role (semantics may be removed by using the presentation role)
noscript element No role
optgroup element No role
option element that is in a list of options aria-selected and aria-checked states set to "true" if the element's selectedness is true, and "false" otherwise
option element that represents a suggestion in a datalist element or that is in a list of options of a select element with a multiple attribute or a display size greater than 1 option role
param element No role
picture element No role
progress element progressbar role, with, if the progress bar is determinate, the aria-valuemax property set to the maximum value of the progress bar, the aria-valuemin property set to zero, and the aria-valuenow property set to the current value of the progress bar
script element No role
select element with a multiple attribute listbox role, with the aria-multiselectable property set to "true"
select element with no multiple attribute and with a display size equal to 1 aria-multiselectable property set to "false"
select element with no multiple attribute and with a display size greater than 1 listbox role, with the aria-multiselectable property set to "false"
select element with a required attribute The aria-required state set to "true"
source element No role
style element No role
template element No role
textarea element textbox role, with the aria-multiline property set to "true", and the aria-readonly property set to "true" if the element has a readonly attribute
th element with a scope attribute set to row rowheader role
th element with a scope attribute set to col columnheader role
th element that is a sorting-capable th element whose column key ordinality is 1 columnheader role, with the aria-sort state set to "ascending" if the element's column sort direction is normal, and "descending" otherwise.
title element No role
track element No role
Element that is disabled The aria-disabled state set to "true"
Element that is a candidate for constraint validation but that does not satisfy its constraints The aria-invalid state set to "true"
3.2.7.4 Implicit ARIA Semantics

Some HTML elements have native semantics that can be overridden. The following table lists these elements and their default implicit ARIA semantics, along with the restrictions that apply to those elements. Each language feature (element or attribute) in a cell in the first column implies, unless otherwise overridden, the ARIA semantic (role, state, or property) given in the cell in the second column of the same row, but this semantic may be overridden under the conditions listed in the cell in the third column of that row.

Language feature Default implicit ARIA semantic Restrictions
a element that creates a hyperlink link role If specified, role must be one of the following: link, button, checkbox, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, option, radio, tab, or treeitem
address element No role If specified, role must be contentinfo
article element article role If specified, role must be one of the following: article, document, application, or main
aside element complementary role If specified, role must be one of the following: complementary, note, search or presentation
audio element No role If specified, role must be application
body element document role If specified, role must be either document or application
button element button role If specified, role must be one of the following: button, link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio or radio
details element group role If specified, role must be a role that supports aria-expanded
dialog element dialog role If specified, role must be one of the following: alert, alertdialog, application, contentinfo, dialog, document, log, main, marquee, region, search, or status
embed element No role If specified, role must be one of the following: application, document, img or presentation
h1 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
h2 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
h3 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
h4 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
h5 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
h6 element heading role, with the aria-level property set to the element's outline depth If specified, role must be one of the following: heading, tab or presentation
iframe element No role If specified, role must be one of the following: application, document, img, or presentation
img element whose alt attribute's value is absent img role No restrictions
img element whose alt attribute's value is present and not empty img role No restrictions
input element with a type attribute in the Button state button role If specified, role must be one of the following: button, link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio or radio
input element with a type attribute in the Checkbox state checkbox role If specified, role must be either checkbox or menuitemcheckbox
input element with a type attribute in the Image Button state button role If specified, role must be one of the following: button, link, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio or radio
input element with a type attribute in the Radio Button state radio role If specified, role must be either radio or menuitemradio
input, select or textarea element with a required attribute The aria-required state set to "true" If specified, the aria-required state must be set to "true"
input, select or textarea element without a required attribute aria-required set to "false" If specified, the aria-required state set to "true" or "false"
li element whose parent is an ol or ul element listitem role If specified, role must be one of the following: listitem, menuitem, menuitemcheckbox, menuitemradio, option, radio, tab, treeitem, or presentation
menu element with a type attribute in the toolbar state toolbar role If specified, role must be one of the following: directory, list, listbox, menu, menubar, tablist, toolbar, or tree
object element No role If specified, role must be one of the following: application, document, img, or presentation
ol element list role If specified, role must be one of the following: directory, group, list, listbox, menu, menubar, radiogroup, tablist, toolbar, tree, or presentation
option element that is in a list of options of a select element with no multiple attribute and with a display size equal to 1 option role If specified, role must be one of the following: option, menuitem, menuitemradio, or separator
output element status role

bug 26135 - is role=status correct for output element?

No restrictions
section element region role

It is strongly recommended that user agents such as screen readers only convey the presence of, and provide navigation for section elements, when the section element has an accessible name.

If specified, role must be one of the following: alert, alertdialog, application, contentinfo, dialog, document, log, main, marquee, region, search, status or presentation
select element with no multiple attribute and with a display size equal to 1 listbox role Role must be either listbox or menu
summary element with no Interactive content descendant No role If specified, role must be button
ul element list role If specified, role must be one of the following: directory, group, list, listbox, menu, menubar, radiogroup, tablist, toolbar, tree, or presentation
video element No role If specified, role must be application
Element with a hidden attribute The aria-hidden state set to "true" If specified, the aria-hidden state set to "true" or "false"
Element without a hidden attribute The aria-hidden state set to "false" If specified, the aria-hidden state set to "true" or "false"

The entry "no role", when used as a strong native semantic, means that no role can be used and that the user agent has no default mapping to ARIA roles. (However, it could have its own mappings to the accessibility layer.) When used as a default implicit ARIA semantic, it means the user agent has no default mapping to ARIA roles. (However, it could have its own mappings to the accessibility layer.)

The WAI-ARIA specification neither requires or forbids user agents from enhancing native presentation and interaction behaviors on the basis of WAI- ARIA markup. Even mainstream user agents might choose to expose metadata or navigational features directly or via user-installed extensions; for example, exposing required form fields or landmark navigation. User agents are encouraged to maximize their usefulness to users, including users without disabilities.

Conformance checkers are encouraged to phrase errors such that authors are encouraged to use more appropriate elements rather than remove accessibility annotations. For example, if an a element is marked as having the button role, a conformance checker could say "Use a more appropriate element to represent a button, for example a button element or an input element" rather than "The button role cannot be used with a elements".

These features can be used to make accessibility tools render content to their users in more useful ways. For example, ASCII art, which is really an image, appears to be text, and in the absence of appropriate annotations would end up being rendered by screen readers as a very painful reading of lots of punctuation. Using the features described in this section, one can instead make the ATs skip the ASCII art and just read the caption:

<figure role="img" aria-labelledby="fish-caption"> 
 <pre>
 o           .'`/
     '      /  (
   O    .-'` ` `'-._      .')
      _/ (o)        '.  .' /
      )       )))     ><  <
      `\  |_\      _.'  '. \
        '-._  _ .-'       '.)
    jgs     `\__\
 </pre>
 <figcaption id="fish-caption">
  Joan G. Stark, "<cite>fish</cite>".
  October 1997. ASCII on electrons. 28×8.
 </figcaption>
</figure>
   
3.2.7.5 Allowed ARIA roles, states and properties

This section is non-normative.

The following table provides an informative reference to the ARIA roles, states and properties permitted for use in HTML. All ARIA roles, states and properties are normatively defined in the [ARIA] specification. Links to ARIA roles, states and properties in the table reference the normative [ARIA] definitions.

ARIA Roles, States and Properties
Role Description Required Properties Supported Properties
any ARIA global states and properties can be used on any HTML element. none
alert A message with important, and usually time-sensitive, information. See related alertdialog and status. none
alertdialog A type of dialog that contains an alert message, where initial focus goes to an element within the dialog. See related alert and dialog. none
application A region declared as a web application, as opposed to a web document. none
article A section of a page that consists of a composition that forms an independent part of a document, page, or site. none
banner A region that contains mostly site-oriented content, rather than page-specific content. none
button An input that allows for user-triggered actions when clicked or pressed. See related link. none
checkbox A checkable input that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.
columnheader A cell containing header information for a column. none
combobox A presentation of a select; usually similar to a textbox where users can type ahead to select an option, or type to enter arbitrary text as a new item in the list. See related listbox.
complementary A supporting section of the document, designed to be complementary to the main content at a similar level in the DOM hierarchy, but remains meaningful when separated from the main content. none
contentinfo A large perceivable region that contains information about the parent document. none
definition A definition of a term or concept. none
dialog A dialog is an application window that is designed to interrupt the current processing of an application in order to prompt the user to enter information or require a response. See related alertdialog. none
directory A list of references to members of a group, such as a static table of contents. none
document A region containing related information that is declared as document content, as opposed to a web application. none
form A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a form. See related search. none
grid A grid is an interactive control which contains cells of tabular data arranged in rows and columns, like a table. none
gridcell A cell in a grid or treegrid. none
group A set of user interface objects which are not intended to be included in a page summary or table of contents by assistive technologies. none
heading A heading for a section of the page. none
img A container for a collection of elements that form an image. none
An interactive reference to an internal or external resource that, when activated, causes the user agent to navigate to that resource. See related button. none
list A group of non-interactive list items. See related listbox. none
listbox A widget that allows the user to select one or more items from a list of choices. See related combobox and list. none
listitem A single item in a list or directory. none
log A type of live region where new information is added in meaningful order and old information may disappear. See related marquee. none
main The main content of a document. none
marquee A type of live region where non-essential information changes frequently. See related log. none
math Content that represents a mathematical expression. none
menu A type of widget that offers a list of choices to the user. none
menubar A presentation of menu that usually remains visible and is usually presented horizontally. none
menuitem An option in a group of choices contained by a menu or menubar. none
menuitemcheckbox A checkable menuitem that has three possible values: true, false, or mixed.
menuitemradio A checkable menuitem in a group of menuitemradio roles, only one of which can be checked at a time.
navigation A collection of navigational elements (usually links) for navigating the document or related documents. none
note A section whose content is parenthetic or ancillary to the main content of the resource. none
option A selectable item in a select list. none
presentation An element whose implicit native role semantics will not be mapped to the accessibility API. none
progressbar An element that displays the progress status for tasks that take a long time. none
radio A checkable input in a group of radio roles, only one of which can be checked at a time.
radiogroup A group of radio buttons. none
region A large perceivable section of a web page or document, that the author feels is important enough to be included in a page summary or table of contents, for example, an area of the page containing live sporting event statistics. none
row A row of cells in a grid. none
rowgroup A group containing one or more row elements in a grid. none
rowheader A cell containing header information for a row in a grid. none
scrollbar A graphical object that controls the scrolling of content within a viewing area, regardless of whether the content is fully displayed within the viewing area.
A landmark region that contains a collection of items and objects that, as a whole, combine to create a search facility. See related form. none
separator A divider that separates and distinguishes sections of content or groups of menuitems.
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slider A user input where the user selects a value from within a given range.
spinbutton A form of range that expects the user to select from among discrete choices.
status A container whose content is advisory information for the user but is not important enough to justify an alert, often but not necessarily presented as a status bar. See related alert. none
tab A grouping label providing a mechanism for selecting the tab content that is to be rendered to the user. none
tablist A list of tab elements, which are references to tabpanel elements. none
tabpanel A container for the resources associated with a tab, where each tab is contained in a tablist. none
textbox Input that allows free-form text as its value. none
timer A type of live region containing a numerical counter which indicates an amount of elapsed time from a start point, or the time remaining until an end point. none
toolbar A collection of commonly used function buttons represented in compact visual form. none
tooltip A contextual popup that displays a description for an element. none
tree A type of list that may contain sub-level nested groups that can be collapsed and expanded. none
treegrid A grid whose rows can be expanded and collapsed in the same manner as for a tree. none
treeitem An option item of a tree. This is an element within a tree that may be expanded or collapsed if it contains a sub-level group of treeitems. none