4.3 Sections

4.3.1 The body element

Categories:
Sectioning root.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
As the second element in an html element.
Content model:
Flow content.
Tag omission in text/html:
A body element's start tag can be omitted if the element is empty, or if the first thing inside the body element is not a space character or a comment, except if the first thing inside the body element is a meta, link, script, style, or template element.
A body element's end tag can be omitted if the body element is not immediately followed by a comment.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
onafterprint
onbeforeprint
onbeforeunload
onhashchange
onmessage
onoffline
ononline
onpagehide
onpageshow
onpopstate
onresize
onstorage
onunload
DOM interface:
interface HTMLBodyElement : HTMLElement {
};
HTMLBodyElement implements WindowEventHandlers;

The body element represents the main content of the document.

In conforming documents, there is only one body element. The document.body IDL attribute provides scripts with easy access to a document's body element.

The body element exposes as event handler content attributes a number of the event handlers of the Window object. It also mirrors their event handler IDL attributes.

The onblur, onerror, onfocus, onload, and onscroll event handlers of the Window object, exposed on the body element, replace the generic event handlers with the same names normally supported by HTML elements.

Thus, for example, a bubbling error event dispatched on a child of the body element of a Document would first trigger the onerror event handler content attributes of that element, then that of the root html element, and only then would it trigger the onerror event handler content attribute on the body element. This is because the event would bubble from the target, to the body, to the html, to the Document, to the Window, and the event handler on the body is watching the Window not the body. A regular event listener attached to the body using addEventListener(), however, would be run when the event bubbled through the body and not when it reaches the Window object.

This page updates an indicator to show whether or not the user is online:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
 <head>
  <title>Online or offline?</title>
  <script>
   function update(online) {
     document.getElementById('status').textContent =
       online ? 'Online' : 'Offline';
   }
  </script>
 </head>
 <body ononline="update(true)"
       onoffline="update(false)"
       onload="update(navigator.onLine)">
  <p>You are: <span id="status">(Unknown)</span></p>
 </body>
</html>

4.3.2 The article element

Categories:
Flow content.
Sectioning content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The article element represents a complete, or self-contained, composition in a document, page, application, or site and that is, in principle, independently distributable or reusable, e.g. in syndication. This could be a forum post, a magazine or newspaper article, a blog entry, a user-submitted comment, an interactive widget or gadget, or any other independent item of content.

When article elements are nested, the inner article elements represent articles that are in principle related to the contents of the outer article. For instance, a blog entry on a site that accepts user-submitted comments could represent the comments as article elements nested within the article element for the blog entry.

Author information associated with an article element (q.v. the address element) does not apply to nested article elements.

When used specifically with content to be redistributed in syndication, the article element is similar in purpose to the entry element in Atom. [ATOM]

The schema.org microdata vocabulary can be used to provide the publication date for an article element, using one of the CreativeWork subtypes.

When the main content of the page (i.e. excluding footers, headers, navigation blocks, and sidebars) is all one single self-contained composition, that content may be marked with an article, but it is technically redundant in that case (since it's self-evident that the page is a single composition, as it is a single document).

This example shows a blog post using the article element, with some schema.org annotations:

<article itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BlogPosting">
 <header>
  <h1 itemprop="headline">The Very First Rule of Life</h1>
  <p><time itemprop="datePublished" datetime="2009-10-09">3 days ago</time></p>
  <link itemprop="url" href="?comments=0">
 </header>
 <p>If there's a microphone anywhere near you, assume it's hot and
 sending whatever you're saying to the world. Seriously.</p>
 <p>...</p>
 <footer>
  <a itemprop="discussionUrl" href="?comments=1">Show comments...</a>
 </footer>
</article>

Here is that same blog post, but showing some of the comments:

<article itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BlogPosting">
 <header>
  <h1 itemprop="headline">The Very First Rule of Life</h1>
  <p><time itemprop="datePublished" datetime="2009-10-09">3 days ago</time></p>
  <link itemprop="url" href="?comments=0">
 </header>
 <p>If there's a microphone anywhere near you, assume it's hot and
 sending whatever you're saying to the world. Seriously.</p>
 <p>...</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Comments</h1>
  <article itemprop="comment" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/UserComments" id="c1">
   <link itemprop="url" href="#c1">
   <footer>
    <p>Posted by: <span itemprop="creator" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
     <span itemprop="name">George Washington</span>
    </span></p>
    <p><time itemprop="commentTime" datetime="2009-10-10">15 minutes ago</time></p>
   </footer>
   <p>Yeah! Especially when talking about your lobbyist friends!</p>
  </article>
  <article itemprop="comment" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/UserComments" id="c2">
   <link itemprop="url" href="#c2">
   <footer>
    <p>Posted by: <span itemprop="creator" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">
     <span itemprop="name">George Hammond</span>
    </span></p>
    <p><time itemprop="commentTime" datetime="2009-10-10">5 minutes ago</time></p>
   </footer>
   <p>Hey, you have the same first name as me.</p>
  </article>
 </section>
</article>

Notice the use of footer to give the information for each comment (such as who wrote it and when): the footer element can appear at the start of its section when appropriate, such as in this case. (Using header in this case wouldn't be wrong either; it's mostly a matter of authoring preference.)

4.3.3 The section element

Categories:
Flow content.
Sectioning content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The section element represents a generic section of a document or application. A section, in this context, is a thematic grouping of content, typically with a heading.

Examples of sections would be chapters, the various tabbed pages in a tabbed dialog box, or the numbered sections of a thesis. A Web site's home page could be split into sections for an introduction, news items, and contact information.

Authors are encouraged to use the article element instead of the section element when it would make sense to syndicate the contents of the element.

The section element is not a generic container element. When an element is needed only for styling purposes or as a convenience for scripting, authors are encouraged to use the div element instead. A general rule is that the section element is appropriate only if the element's contents would be listed explicitly in the document's outline.

In the following example, we see an article (part of a larger Web page) about apples, containing two short sections.

<article>
 <hgroup>
  <h1>Apples</h1>
  <h2>Tasty, delicious fruit!</h2>
 </hgroup>
 <p>The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree.</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Red Delicious</h1>
  <p>These bright red apples are the most common found in many
  supermarkets.</p>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Granny Smith</h1>
  <p>These juicy, green apples make a great filling for
  apple pies.</p>
 </section>
</article>

Notice how the use of section means that the author can use h1 elements throughout, without having to worry about whether a particular section is at the top level, the second level, the third level, and so on.

Here is a graduation programme with two sections, one for the list of people graduating, and one for the description of the ceremony. (The markup in this example features an uncommon style sometimes used to minimize the amount of inter-element whitespace.)

<!DOCTYPE Html>
<Html
 ><Head
   ><Title
     >Graduation Ceremony Summer 2022</Title
   ></Head
 ><Body
   ><H1
     >Graduation</H1
   ><Section
     ><H1
       >Ceremony</H1
     ><P
       >Opening Procession</P
     ><P
       >Speech by Validactorian</P
     ><P
       >Speech by Class President</P
     ><P
       >Presentation of Diplomas</P
     ><P
       >Closing Speech by Headmaster</P
   ></Section
   ><Section
     ><H1
       >Graduates</H1
     ><Ul
       ><Li
         >Molly Carpenter</Li
       ><Li
         >Anastasia Luccio</Li
       ><Li
         >Ebenezar McCoy</Li
       ><Li
         >Karrin Murphy</Li
       ><Li
         >Thomas Raith</Li
       ><Li
         >Susan Rodriguez</Li
     ></Ul
   ></Section
 ></Body
></Html>

In this example, a book author has marked up some sections as chapters and some as appendices, and uses CSS to style the headers in these two classes of section differently. The whole book is wrapped in an article element as part of an even larger document containing other books.

<article class="book">
 <style>
  section { border: double medium; margin: 2em; }
  section.chapter h1 { font: 2em Roboto, Helvetica Neue, sans-serif; }
  section.appendix h1 { font: small-caps 2em Roboto, Helvetica Neue, sans-serif; }
 </style>
 <header>
  <hgroup>
   <h1>My Book</h1>
   <h2>A sample with not much content</h2>
  </hgroup>
  <p><small>Published by Dummy Publicorp Ltd.</small></p>
 </header>
 <section class="chapter">
  <h1>My First Chapter</h1>
  <p>This is the first of my chapters. It doesn't say much.</p>
  <p>But it has two paragraphs!</p>
 </section>
 <section class="chapter">
  <h1>It Continutes: The Second Chapter</h1>
  <p>Bla dee bla, dee bla dee bla. Boom.</p>
 </section>
 <section class="chapter">
  <h1>Chapter Three: A Further Example</h1>
  <p>It's not like a battle between brightness and earthtones would go
  unnoticed.</p>
  <p>But it might ruin my story.</p>
 </section>
 <section class="appendix">
  <h1>Appendix A: Overview of Examples</h1>
  <p>These are demonstrations.</p>
 </section>
 <section class="appendix">
  <h1>Appendix B: Some Closing Remarks</h1>
  <p>Hopefully this long example shows that you <em>can</em> style
  sections, so long as they are used to indicate actual sections.</p>
 </section>
</article>

4.3.4 The nav element

Categories:
Flow content.
Sectioning content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content, but with no main element descendants.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The nav element represents a section of a page that links to other pages or to parts within the page: a section with navigation links.

Not all groups of links on a page need to be in a nav element — the element is primarily intended for sections that consist of major navigation blocks. In particular, it is common for footers to have a short list of links to various pages of a site, such as the terms of service, the home page, and a copyright page. The footer element alone is sufficient for such cases; while a nav element can be used in such cases, it is usually unnecessary.

User agents (such as screen readers) that are targeted at users who can benefit from navigation information being omitted in the initial rendering, or who can benefit from navigation information being immediately available, can use this element as a way to determine what content on the page to initially skip or provide on request (or both).

In the following example, the page has several places where links are present, but only one of those places is considered a navigation section.

<body itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Blog">
 <header>
  <h1>Wake up sheeple!</h1>
  <p><a href="news.html">News</a> -
     <a href="blog.html">Blog</a> -
     <a href="forums.html">Forums</a></p>
  <p>Last Modified: <span itemprop="dateModified">2009-04-01</span></p>
  <nav>
   <h1>Navigation</h1>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="articles.html">Index of all articles</a></li>
    <li><a href="today.html">Things sheeple need to wake up for today</a></li>
    <li><a href="successes.html">Sheeple we have managed to wake</a></li>
   </ul>
  </nav>
 </header>
 <main>
  <article itemprop="blogPosts" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BlogPosting">
   <header>
    <h1 itemprop="headline">My Day at the Beach</h1>
   </header>
   <main itemprop="articleBody">
    <p>Today I went to the beach and had a lot of fun.</p>
    ...more content...
   </main>
   <footer>
    <p>Posted <time itemprop="datePublished" datetime="2009-10-10">Thursday</time>.</p>
   </footer>
  </article>
  ...more blog posts...
 </main>
 <footer>
  <p>Copyright ©
   <span itemprop="copyrightYear">2010</span>
   <span itemprop="copyrightHolder">The Example Company</span>
  </p>
  <p><a href="about.html">About</a> -
     <a href="policy.html">Privacy Policy</a> -
     <a href="contact.html">Contact Us</a></p>
 </footer>
</body>

Notice the main elements being used to wrap all the contents of the page other than the header and footer, and all the contents of the blog entry other than its header and footer.

You can also see microdata annotations in the above example that use the schema.org vocabulary to provide the publication date and other metadata about the blog post.

In the following example, there are two nav elements, one for primary navigation around the site, and one for secondary navigation around the page itself.

<body>
 <h1>The Wiki Center Of Exampland</h1>
 <nav>
  <ul>
   <li><a href="/">Home</a></li>
   <li><a href="/events">Current Events</a></li>
   ...more...
  </ul>
 </nav>
 <article>
  <header>
   <h1>Demos in Exampland</h1>
   <p>Written by A. N. Other.</p>
  </header>
  <nav>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="#public">Public demonstrations</a></li>
    <li><a href="#destroy">Demolitions</a></li>
    ...more...
   </ul>
  </nav>
  <div>
   <section id="public">
    <h1>Public demonstrations</h1>
    <p>...more...</p>
   </section>
   <section id="destroy">
    <h1>Demolitions</h1>
    <p>...more...</p>
   </section>
   ...more...
  </div>
  <footer>
   <p><a href="?edit">Edit</a> | <a href="?delete">Delete</a> | <a href="?Rename">Rename</a></p>
  </footer>
 </article>
 <footer>
  <p><small>© copyright 1998 Exampland Emperor</small></p>
 </footer>
</body>

A nav element doesn't have to contain a list, it can contain other kinds of content as well. In this navigation block, links are provided in prose:

<nav>
 <h1>Navigation</h1>
 <p>You are on my home page. To the north lies <a href="/blog">my
 blog</a>, from whence the sounds of battle can be heard. To the east
 you can see a large mountain, upon which many <a
 href="/school">school papers</a> are littered. Far up thus mountain
 you can spy a little figure who appears to be me, desperately
 scribbling a <a href="/school/thesis">thesis</a>.</p>
 <p>To the west are several exits. One fun-looking exit is labeled <a
 href="http://games.example.com/">"games"</a>. Another more
 boring-looking exit is labeled <a
 href="http://isp.example.net/">ISP™</a>.</p>
 <p>To the south lies a dark and dank <a href="/about">contacts
 page</a>. Cobwebs cover its disused entrance, and at one point you
 see a rat run quickly out of the page.</p>
</nav>

4.3.5 The aside element

Categories:
Flow content.
Sectioning content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content, but with no main element descendants.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The aside element represents a section of a page that consists of content that is tangentially related to the content around the aside element, and which could be considered separate from that content. Such sections are often represented as sidebars in printed typography.

The element can be used for typographical effects like pull quotes or sidebars, for advertising, for groups of nav elements, and for other content that is considered separate from the main content of the page.

It's not appropriate to use the aside element just for parentheticals, since those are part of the main flow of the document.

The following example shows how an aside is used to mark up background material on Switzerland in a much longer news story on Europe.

<aside>
 <h1>Switzerland</h1>
 <p>Switzerland, a land-locked country in the middle of geographic
 Europe, has not joined the geopolitical European Union, though it is
 a signatory to a number of European treaties.</p>
</aside>

The following example shows how an aside is used to mark up a pull quote in a longer article.

...

<p>He later joined a large company, continuing on the same work.
<q>I love my job. People ask me what I do for fun when I'm not at
work. But I'm paid to do my hobby, so I never know what to
answer. Some people wonder what they would do if they didn't have to
work... but I know what I would do, because I was unemployed for a
year, and I filled that time doing exactly what I do now.</q></p>

<aside>
 <q> People ask me what I do for fun when I'm not at work. But I'm
 paid to do my hobby, so I never know what to answer. </q>
</aside>

<p>Of course his work — or should that be hobby? —
isn't his only passion. He also enjoys other pleasures.</p>

...

The following extract shows how aside can be used for blogrolls and other side content on a blog:

<body>
 <header>
  <h1>My wonderful blog</h1>
  <p>My tagline</p>
 </header>
 <aside>
  <!-- this aside contains two sections that are tangentially related
  to the page, namely, links to other blogs, and links to blog posts
  from this blog -->
  <nav>
   <h1>My blogroll</h1>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="http://blog.example.com/">Example Blog</a>
   </ul>
  </nav>
  <nav>
   <h1>Archives</h1>
   <ol reversed>
    <li><a href="/last-post">My last post</a>
    <li><a href="/first-post">My first post</a>
   </ol>
  </nav>
 </aside>
 <aside>
  <!-- this aside is tangentially related to the page also, it
  contains twitter messages from the blog author -->
  <h1>Twitter Feed</h1>
  <blockquote cite="http://twitter.example.net/t31351234">
   I'm on vacation, writing my blog.
  </blockquote>
  <blockquote cite="http://twitter.example.net/t31219752">
   I'm going to go on vacation soon.
  </blockquote>
 </aside>
 <article>
  <!-- this is a blog post -->
  <h1>My last post</h1>
  <p>This is my last post.</p>
  <footer>
   <p><a href="/last-post" rel=bookmark>Permalink</a>
  </footer>
 </article>
 <article>
  <!-- this is also a blog post -->
  <h1>My first post</h1>
  <p>This is my first post.</p>
  <aside>
   <!-- this aside is about the blog post, since it's inside the
   <article> element; it would be wrong, for instance, to put the
   blogroll here, since the blogroll isn't really related to this post
   specifically, only to the page as a whole -->
   <h1>Posting</h1>
   <p>While I'm thinking about it, I wanted to say something about
   posting. Posting is fun!</p>
  </aside>
  <footer>
   <p><a href="/first-post" rel=bookmark>Permalink</a>
  </footer>
 </article>
 <footer>
  <nav>
   <a href="/archives">Archives</a> —
   <a href="/about">About me</a> —
   <a href="/copyright">Copyright</a>
  </nav>
 </footer>
</body>

4.3.6 The h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 elements

Categories:
Flow content.
Heading content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
As a child of an hgroup element.
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Phrasing content.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
interface HTMLHeadingElement : HTMLElement {};

These elements represent headings for their sections.

The semantics and meaning of these elements are defined in the section on headings and sections.

These elements have a rank given by the number in their name. The h1 element is said to have the highest rank, the h6 element has the lowest rank, and two elements with the same name have equal rank.

As far as their respective document outlines (their heading and section structures) are concerned, these two snippets are semantically equivalent:

<body>
<h1>Let's call it a draw(ing surface)</h1>
<h2>Diving in</h2>
<h2>Simple shapes</h2>
<h2>Canvas coordinates</h2>
<h3>Canvas coordinates diagram</h3>
<h2>Paths</h2>
</body>
<body>
 <h1>Let's call it a draw(ing surface)</h1>
 <section>
  <h1>Diving in</h1>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Simple shapes</h1>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Canvas coordinates</h1>
  <section>
   <h1>Canvas coordinates diagram</h1>
  </section>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Paths</h1>
 </section>
</body>

Authors might prefer the former style for its terseness, or the latter style for its convenience in the face of heavy editing; which is best is purely an issue of preferred authoring style.

4.3.7 The hgroup element

Categories:
Flow content.
Heading content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
One or more h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, and script-supporting elements.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The hgroup element represents the heading of a section, which consists of all the h1h6 element children of the hgroup element. The element is used to group a set of h1h6 elements when the heading has multiple levels, such as subheadings, alternative titles, or taglines.

The rank of an hgroup element is the rank of the highest-ranked h1h6 element descendant of the hgroup element, if there are any such elements, or otherwise the same as for an h1 element (the highest rank). Other elements of heading content in the hgroup element indicate subheadings or subtitles.

The section on headings and sections defines how hgroup elements are assigned to individual sections.

Here are some examples of valid headings.

<hgroup>
 <h1>The reality dysfunction</h1>
 <h2>Space is not the only void</h2>
</hgroup>
<hgroup>
 <h1>Dr. Strangelove</h1>
 <h2>Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb</h2>
</hgroup>

The point of using hgroup in these examples is to mask the h2 element (which acts as a secondary title) from the outline algorithm.

How a user agent exposes such multi-level headings in user interfaces (e.g. in tables of contents or search results) is left open to implementors, as it is a user interface issue. The first example above could be rendered as:

The reality dysfunction: Space is not the only void

Alternatively, it could look like this:

The reality dysfunction (Space is not the only void)

In interfaces where a title can be rendered on multiple lines, it could be rendered as follows, maybe with the first line in a bigger font size:

The reality dysfunction
Space is not the only void

4.3.8 The header element

Categories:
Flow content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content, but with no header, footer, or main element descendants.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The header element represents a group of introductory or navigational aids.

A header element is intended to usually contain the section's heading (an h1h6 element or an hgroup element), but this is not required. The header element can also be used to wrap a section's table of contents, a search form, or any relevant logos.

Here are some sample headers. This first one is for a game:

<header>
 <p>Welcome to...</p>
 <h1>Voidwars!</h1>
</header>

The following snippet shows how the element can be used to mark up a specification's header:

<header>
 <hgroup>
  <h1>Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.2</h1>
  <h2>W3C Working Draft 27 October 2004</h2>
 </hgroup>
 <dl>
  <dt>This version:</dt>
  <dd><a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-SVG12-20041027/">http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-SVG12-20041027/</a></dd>
  <dt>Previous version:</dt>
  <dd><a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-SVG12-20040510/">http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-SVG12-20040510/</a></dd>
  <dt>Latest version of SVG 1.2:</dt>
  <dd><a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG12/">http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG12/</a></dd>
  <dt>Latest SVG Recommendation:</dt>
  <dd><a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG/">http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG/</a></dd>
  <dt>Editor:</dt>
  <dd>Dean Jackson, W3C, <a href="mailto:dean@w3.org">dean@w3.org</a></dd>
  <dt>Authors:</dt>
  <dd>See <a href="#authors">Author List</a></dd>
 </dl>
 <p class="copyright"><a href="http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Legal/ipr-notic ...
</header>

The header element is not sectioning content; it doesn't introduce a new section.

In this example, the page has a page heading given by the h1 element, and two subsections whose headings are given by h2 elements. The content after the header element is still part of the last subsection started in the header element, because the header element doesn't take part in the outline algorithm.

<body>
 <header>
  <h1>Little Green Guys With Guns</h1>
  <nav>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="/games">Games</a>
    <li><a href="/forum">Forum</a>
    <li><a href="/download">Download</a>
   </ul>
  </nav>
  <h2>Important News</h2> <!-- this starts a second subsection -->
  <!-- this is part of the subsection entitled "Important News" -->
  <p>To play today's games you will need to update your client.</p>
  <h2>Games</h2> <!-- this starts a third subsection -->
 </header>
 <p>You have three active games:</p>
 <!-- this is still part of the subsection entitled "Games" -->
 ...
Categories:
Flow content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content, but with no header, footer, or main element descendants.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The footer element represents a footer for its nearest ancestor sectioning content or sectioning root element. A footer typically contains information about its section such as who wrote it, links to related documents, copyright data, and the like.

When the footer element contains entire sections, they represent appendices, indexes, long colophons, verbose license agreements, and other such content.

Contact information for the author or editor of a section belongs in an address element, possibly itself inside a footer. Bylines and other information that could be suitable for both a header or a footer can be placed in either (or neither). The primary purpose of these elements is merely to help the author write self-explanatory markup that is easy to maintain and style; they are not intended to impose specific structures on authors.

Footers don't necessarily have to appear at the end of a section, though they usually do.

When the nearest ancestor sectioning content or sectioning root element is the body element, then it applies to the whole page.

The footer element is not sectioning content; it doesn't introduce a new section.

Here is a page with two footers, one at the top and one at the bottom, with the same content:

<body>
 <footer><a href="../">Back to index...</a></footer>
 <hgroup>
  <h1>Lorem ipsum</h1>
  <h2>The ipsum of all lorems</h2>
 </hgroup>
 <p>A dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod
 tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim
 veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex
 ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in
 voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla
 pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in
 culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>
 <footer><a href="../">Back to index...</a></footer>
</body>

Here is an example which shows the footer element being used both for a site-wide footer and for a section footer.

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<HTML><HEAD>
<TITLE>The Ramblings of a Scientist</TITLE>
<BODY>
<H1>The Ramblings of a Scientist</H1>
<ARTICLE>
 <H1>Episode 15</H1>
 <VIDEO SRC="/fm/015.ogv" CONTROLS PRELOAD>
  <P><A HREF="/fm/015.ogv">Download video</A>.</P>
 </VIDEO>
 <FOOTER> <!-- footer for article -->
  <P>Published <TIME DATETIME="2009-10-21T18:26-07:00">on 2009/10/21 at 6:26pm</TIME></P>
 </FOOTER>
</ARTICLE>
<ARTICLE>
 <H1>My Favorite Trains</H1>
 <P>I love my trains. My favorite train of all time is a Köf.</P>
 <P>It is fun to see them pull some coal cars because they look so
 dwarfed in comparison.</P>
 <FOOTER> <!-- footer for article -->
  <P>Published <TIME DATETIME="2009-09-15T14:54-07:00">on 2009/09/15 at 2:54pm</TIME></P>
 </FOOTER>
</ARTICLE>
<FOOTER> <!-- site wide footer -->
 <NAV>
  <P><A HREF="/credits.html">Credits</A> —
     <A HREF="/tos.html">Terms of Service</A> —
     <A HREF="/index.html">Blog Index</A></P>
 </NAV>
 <P>Copyright © 2009 Gordon Freeman</P>
</FOOTER>
</BODY>
</HTML>

Some site designs have what is sometimes referred to as "fat footers" — footers that contain a lot of material, including images, links to other articles, links to pages for sending feedback, special offers... in some ways, a whole "front page" in the footer.

This fragment shows the bottom of a page on a site with a "fat footer":

...
 <footer>
  <nav>
   <section>
    <h1>Articles</h1>
    <p><img src="images/somersaults.jpeg" alt=""> Go to the gym with
    our somersaults class! Our teacher Jim takes you through the paces
    in this two-part article. <a href="articles/somersaults/1">Part
    1</a> · <a href="articles/somersaults/2">Part 2</a></p>
    <p><img src="images/kindplus.jpeg"> Tired of walking on the edge of
    a clif<!-- sic -->? Our guest writer Lara shows you how to bumble
    your way through the bars. <a href="articles/kindplus/1">Read
    more...</a></p>
    <p><img src="images/crisps.jpeg"> The chips are down, now all
    that's left is a potato. What can you do with it? <a
    href="articles/crisps/1">Read more...</a></p>
   </section>
   <ul>
    <li> <a href="/about">About us...</a>
    <li> <a href="/feedback">Send feedback!</a>
    <li> <a href="/sitemap">Sitemap</a>
   </ul>
  </nav>
  <p><small>Copyright © 2015 The Snacker —
  <a href="/tos">Terms of Service</a></small></p>
 </footer>
</body>

4.3.10 The address element

Categories:
Flow content.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content, but with no heading content descendants, no sectioning content descendants, and no header, footer, or address element descendants.
Tag omission in text/html:
Neither tag is omissible.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
Uses HTMLElement.

The address element represents the contact information for its nearest article or body element ancestor. If that is the body element, then the contact information applies to the document as a whole.

For example, a page at the W3C Web site related to HTML might include the following contact information:

<ADDRESS>
 <A href="../People/Raggett/">Dave Raggett</A>,
 <A href="../People/Arnaud/">Arnaud Le Hors</A>,
 contact persons for the <A href="Activity">W3C HTML Activity</A>
</ADDRESS>

The address element must not be used to represent arbitrary addresses (e.g. postal addresses), unless those addresses are in fact the relevant contact information. (The p element is the appropriate element for marking up postal addresses in general.)

The address element must not contain information other than contact information.

For example, the following is non-conforming use of the address element:

<ADDRESS>Last Modified: 1999/12/24 23:37:50</ADDRESS>

Typically, the address element would be included along with other information in a footer element.

In this example the footer contains contact information and a copyright notice.

<footer>
 <address>
  For more details, contact
  <a href="mailto:js@example.com">John Smith</a>.
 </address>
 <p><small>© copyright 2038 Example Corp.</small></p>
</footer>

4.3.11 Headings and sections

The h1h6 elements and the hgroup element are headings.

The first element of heading content in an element of sectioning content represents the heading for that section. Subsequent headings of equal or higher rank start new (implied) sections, headings of lower rank start implied subsections that are part of the previous one. In both cases, the element represents the heading of the implied section.

Certain elements are said to be sectioning roots, including blockquote and td elements. These elements can have their own outlines, but the sections and headings inside these elements do not contribute to the outlines of their ancestors.

Sectioning content elements are always considered subsections of their nearest ancestor sectioning root or their nearest ancestor element of sectioning content, whichever is nearest, regardless of what implied sections other headings may have created.

For the following fragment:

<body>
 <h1>Foo</h1>
 <h2>Bar</h2>
 <blockquote>
  <h3>Bla</h3>
 </blockquote>
 <p>Baz</p>
 <h2>Quux</h2>
 <section>
  <h3>Thud</h3>
 </section>
 <p>Grunt</p>
</body>

...the structure would be:

  1. Foo (heading of explicit body section, containing the "Grunt" paragraph)
    1. Bar (heading starting implied section, containing a block quote and the "Baz" paragraph)
    2. Quux (heading starting implied section with no content other than the heading itself)
    3. Thud (heading of explicit section section)

Notice how the section ends the earlier implicit section so that a later paragraph ("Grunt") is back at the top level.

Sections may contain headings of any rank, but authors are strongly encouraged to either use only h1 elements, or to use elements of the appropriate rank for the section's nesting level.

Authors are also encouraged to explicitly wrap sections in elements of sectioning content, instead of relying on the implicit sections generated by having multiple headings in one element of sectioning content.

For example, the following is correct:

<body>
 <h4>Apples</h4>
 <p>Apples are fruit.</p>
 <section>
  <h2>Taste</h2>
  <p>They taste lovely.</p>
  <h6>Sweet</h6>
  <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p>
  <h1>Color</h1>
  <p>Apples come in various colors.</p>
 </section>
</body>

However, the same document would be more clearly expressed as:

<body>
 <h1>Apples</h1>
 <p>Apples are fruit.</p>
 <section>
  <h2>Taste</h2>
  <p>They taste lovely.</p>
  <section>
   <h3>Sweet</h3>
   <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p>
  </section>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h2>Color</h2>
  <p>Apples come in various colors.</p>
 </section>
</body>

Both of the documents above are semantically identical and would produce the same outline in compliant user agents.

This third example is also semantically identical, and might be easier to maintain (e.g. if sections are often moved around in editing):

<body>
 <h1>Apples</h1>
 <p>Apples are fruit.</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Taste</h1>
  <p>They taste lovely.</p>
  <section>
   <h1>Sweet</h1>
   <p>Red apples are sweeter than green ones.</p>
  </section>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Color</h1>
  <p>Apples come in various colors.</p>
 </section>
</body>

This final example would need explicit style rules to be rendered well in legacy browsers. Legacy browsers without CSS support would render all the headings as top-level headings.

4.3.11.1 Creating an outline

The outline for a sectioning content element or a sectioning root element consists of a list of one or more potentially nested sections. A section is a container that corresponds to some nodes in the original DOM tree. Each section can have one heading associated with it, and can contain any number of further nested sections. (The sections in the outline aren't section elements, though some may correspond to such elements — they are merely conceptual sections.)

The following markup fragment:

<body>
 <h1>A</h1>
 <p>B</p>
 <h2>C</h2>
 <p>D</p>
 <h2>E</h2>
 <p>F</p>
</body>

...results in the following outline being created for the body node (and thus the entire document):

  1. Section created for body node.

    Associated with heading "A".

    Also associated with paragraph "B".

    Nested sections:

    1. Section implied for first h2 element.

      Associated with heading "C".

      Also associated with paragraph "D".

      No nested sections.

    2. Section implied for second h2 element.

      Associated with heading "E".

      Also associated with paragraph "F".

      No nested sections.

4.3.11.2 Sample outlines

The following document shows a straight-forward application of the outline algorithm. First, here is the document, which is a book with very short chapters and subsections:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>The Tax Book (all in one page)</title>
<h1>The Tax Book</h1>
<h2>Earning money</h2>
<p>Earning money is good.</p>
<h3>Getting a job</h3>
<p>To earn money you typically need a job.</p>
<h2>Spending money</h2>
<p>Spending is what money is mainly used for.</p>
<h3>Cheap things</h3>
<p>Buying cheap things often not cost-effective.</p>
<h3>Expensive things</h3>
<p>The most expensive thing is often not the most cost-effective either.</p>
<h2>Investing money</h2>
<p>You can lend your money to other people.</p>
<h2>Losing money</h2>
<p>If you spend money or invest money, sooner or later you will lose money.
<h3>Poor judgement</h3>
<p>Usually if you lose money it's because you made a mistake.</p>

This book would form the following outline:

  1. The Tax Book
    1. Earning money
      1. Getting a job
    2. Spending money
      1. Cheap things
      2. Expensive things
    3. Investing money
    4. Losing money
      1. Poor judgement

Notice that the title element does not participate in the outline.

Here is a similar document, but this time using section elements to get the same effect:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>The Tax Book (all in one page)</title>
<h1>The Tax Book</h1>
<section>
 <h1>Earning money</h1>
 <p>Earning money is good.</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Getting a job</h1>
  <p>To earn money you typically need a job.</p>
 </section>
</section>
<section>
 <h1>Spending money</h1>
 <p>Spending is what money is mainly used for.</p>
 <section>
  <h1>Cheap things</h1>
  <p>Buying cheap things often not cost-effective.</p>
 </section>
 <section>
  <h1>Expensive things</h1>
  <p>The most expensive thing is often not the most cost-effective either.</p>
 </section>
</section>
<section>
 <h1>Investing money</h1>
 <p>You can lend your money to other people.</p>
</section>
<section>
 <h1>Losing money</h1>
 <p>If you spend money or invest money, sooner or later you will lose money.
 <section>
  <h1>Poor judgement</h1>
  <p>Usually if you lose money it's because you made a mistake.</p>
 </section>
</section>

This book would form the same outline:

  1. The Tax Book
    1. Earning money
      1. Getting a job
    2. Spending money
      1. Cheap things
      2. Expensive things
    3. Investing money
    4. Losing money
      1. Poor judgement

A document can contain multiple top-level headings:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>Alphabetic Fruit</title>
<h1>Apples</h1>
<p>Pomaceous.</p>
<h1>Bananas</h1>
<p>Edible.</p>
<h1>Carambola</h1>
<p>Star.</p>

This would form the following simple outline consisting of three top-level sections:

  1. Apples
  2. Bananas
  3. Carambola

Effectively, the body element is split into three.

Mixing both the h1h6 model and the section/h1 model can lead to some unintuitive results.

Consider for example the following, which is just the previous example but with the contents of the (implied) body wrapped in a section:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>Alphabetic Fruit</title>
<section>
 <h1>Apples</h1>
 <p>Pomaceous.</p>
 <h1>Bananas</h1>
 <p>Edible.</p>
 <h1>Carambola</h1>
 <p>Star.</p>
</section>

The resulting outline would be:

  1. (untitled page)
    1. Apples
    2. Bananas
    3. Carambola

This result is described as unintuitive because it results in three subsections even though there's only one section element. Effectively, the section is split into three, just like the implied body element in the previous example.

(In this example, "(untitled page)" is the implied heading for the body element, since it has no explicit heading.)

Headings never rise above other sections. Thus, in the following example, the first h1 does not actually describe the page header; it describes the header for the second half of the page:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>Feathers on The Site of Encyclopedic Knowledge</title>
<section>
 <h1>A plea from our caretakers</h1>
 <p>Please, we beg of you, send help! We're stuck in the server room!</p>
</section>
<h1>Feathers</h1>
<p>Epidermal growths.</p>

The resulting outline would be:

  1. (untitled page)
    1. A plea from our caretakers
  2. Feathers

Thus, when an article element starts with a nav block and only later has its heading, the result is that the nav block is not part of the same section as the rest of the article in the outline. For instance, take this document:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>We're adopting a child! — Ray's blog</title>
<h1>Ray's blog</h1>
<article>
 <header>
  <nav>
   <a href="?t=-1d">Yesterday</a>;
   <a href="?t=-7d">Last week</a>;
   <a href="?t=-1m">Last month</a>
  </nav>
  <h1>We're adopting a child!</h1>
 </header>
 <main>
  <p>As of today, Janine and I have signed the papers to become
  the proud parents of baby Diane! We've been looking forward to
  this day for weeks.</p>
 </main>
</article>

The resulting outline would be:

  1. Ray's blog
    1. Untitled article
      1. Untitled navigation section
    2. We're adopting a child!

Also worthy of note in this example is that the header and main elements have no effect whatsoever on the document outline.

The hgroup element can be used for subheadings. For example:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<title>Chronotype: CS Student</title>
<hgroup>
 <h1> The morning </h1>
 <h2> 06:00 to 12:00 </h2>
</hgroup>
<p>We sleep.</p>
<hgroup>
 <h1> The afternoon </h1>
 <h2> 12:00 to 18:00 </h2>
</hgroup>
<p>We study.</p>
<hgroup>
 <h2>Additional Commentary</h2>
 <h3>Because not all this is necessarily true</h3>
 <h6>Ok it's almost certainly not true</h6>
</hgroup>
<p>Yeah we probably play, rather than study.</p>
<hgroup>
 <h1> The evening </h1>
 <h2> 18:00 to 00:00 </h2>
</hgroup>
<p>We play.</p>
<hgroup>
 <h1> The night </h1>
 <h2> 00:00 to 06:00 </h2>
</hgroup>
<p>We play some more.</p>

The resulting outline would be:

  1. The morning 06:00 to 12:00
  2. The afternoon 12:00 to 18:00
    1. Additional Commentary Because not all this is necessarily true Ok it's almost certainly not true
  3. The evening 18:00 to 00:00
  4. The night 00:00 to 06:00

Exactly how this is represented by user agents, as most interface issues, is left as a matter of implementation preference, but the key part is that the hgroup's descendant h1h6 elements are what form the element's heading. Thus, the following would be equally valid:

  1. The morning — 06:00 to 12:00
  2. The afternoon — 12:00 to 18:00
    1. Additional Commentary — Because not all this is necessarily true — Ok it's almost certainly not true
  3. The evening — 18:00 to 00:00
  4. The night — 00:00 to 06:00

But so would the following:

  1. The morning
  2. The afternoon
    1. Additional Commentary
  3. The evening
  4. The night

The following would also be valid, though maybe less practical in most contexts:

  1. The morning

    06:00 to 12:00

  2. The afternoon

    12:00 to 18:00

    1. Additional Commentary

      Because not all this is necessarily true

      Ok it's almost certainly not true

  3. The evening

    18:00 to 00:00

  4. The night

    00:00 to 06:00

4.3.12 Usage summary

Element Purpose
Example
body The main content of the document.
<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
 <head> <title>Steve Hill's Home Page</title> </head>
 <body> <p>Hard Trance is My Life.</p> </body>
</html>
article A complete, or self-contained, composition in a document, page, application, or site and that is, in principle, independently distributable or reusable, e.g. in syndication. This could be a forum post, a magazine or newspaper article, a blog entry, a user-submitted comment, an interactive widget or gadget, or any other independent item of content.
<article>
 <img src="/tumblr_masqy2s5yn1rzfqbpo1_500.jpg" alt="Yellow smiley face with the caption 'masif'">
 <p>My fave Masif tee so far!</p>
 <footer>Posted 2 days ago</footer>
</article>
<article>
 <img src="/tumblr_m9tf6wSr6W1rzfqbpo1_500.jpg" alt="">
 <p>Happy 2nd birthday Masif Saturdays!!!</p>
 <footer>Posted 3 weeks ago</footer>
</article>
section A generic section of a document or application. A section, in this context, is a thematic grouping of content, typically with a heading.
<h1>Biography</h1>
<section>
 <h1>The facts</h1>
 <p>1500+ shows, 14+ countries</p>
</section>
<section>
 <h1>2010/2011 figures per year</h1>
 <p>100+ shows, 8+ countries</p>
</section>
nav A section of a page that links to other pages or to parts within the page: a section with navigation links.
<nav>
 <p><a href="/">Home</a>
 <p><a href="/biog.html">Bio</a>
 <p><a href="/discog.html">Discog</a>
</nav>
aside A section of a page that consists of content that is tangentially related to the content around the aside element, and which could be considered separate from that content. Such sections are often represented as sidebars in printed typography.
<h1>Music</h1>
<p>As any burner can tell you, the event has a lot of trance.</p>
<aside>You can buy the music we played at our <a href="buy.html">playlist page</a>.</aside>
<p>This year we played a kind of trance that originated in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands in the mid 90s.</p>
h1h6 A section heading
<h1>The Guide To Music On The Playa</h1>
<h2>The Main Stage</h2>
<p>If you want to play on a stage, you should bring one.</p>
<h2>Amplified Music</h2>
<p>Amplifiers up to 300W or 90dB are welcome.</p>
hgroup The heading of a section, which consists of all the h1h6 element children of the hgroup element. The element is used to group a set of h1h6 elements when the heading has multiple levels, such as subheadings, alternative titles, or taglines.
<hgroup>
 <h1>Burning Music</h1>
 <h2>The Guide To Music On The Playa</h2>
</hgroup>
<section>
 <hgroup>
  <h1>Main Stage</h1>
  <h2>The Fiction Of A Music Festival</h2>
 </hgroup>
 <p>If you want to play on a stage, you should bring one.</p>
</section>
<section>
 <hgroup>
  <h1>Loudness!</h1>
  <h2>Questions About Amplified Music</h2>
 </hgroup>
 <p>Amplifiers up to 300W or 90dB are welcome.</p>
</section>
header A group of introductory or navigational aids.
<article>
 <header>
  <h1>Hard Trance is My Life</h1>
  <p>By DJ Steve Hill and Technikal</p>
 </header>
 <p>The album with the amusing punctuation has red artwork.</p>
</article>
footer A footer for its nearest ancestor sectioning content or sectioning root element. A footer typically contains information about its section such as who wrote it, links to related documents, copyright data, and the like.
<article>
 <h1>Hard Trance is My Life</h1>
 <p>The album with the amusing punctuation has red artwork.</p>
 <footer>
  <p>Artists: DJ Steve Hill and Technikal</p>
 </footer>
</article>
4.3.12.1 Article or section?

A section forms part of something else. An article is its own thing. But how does one know which is which? Mostly the real answer is "it depends on author intent".

For example, one could imagine a book with a "Granny Smith" chapter that just said "These juicy, green apples make a great filling for apple pies."; that would be a section because there'd be lots of other chapters on (maybe) other kinds of apples.

On the other hand, one could imagine a tweet or reddit comment or tumblr post or newspaper classified ad that just said "Granny Smith. These juicy, green apples make a great filling for apple pies."; it would then be articles because that was the whole thing.

A comment on an article is not part of the article on which it is commenting, therefore it is its own article.