HTML Concepts: Kinds of Elements

Published on May 31, 2023, filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

There are six (not two, five, or eight) different kinds of elements in HTML:

  1. Void elements: area, base, br, col, embed, hr, img, input, link, meta, source, track, and wbr
  2. Raw text elements: script and style
  3. Escapable raw text elements: textarea and title
  4. The template element: template
  5. Foreign elements: elements from the MathML and SVG namespaces
  6. Normal elements: all other allowed HTML elements

This classification is useful because these elements differ in key aspects. Void elements have no contents (they have no end tag, even if we wanted one). The template element contains template contents. MathML and SVG relate to different specifications (and may therefore not even be counted as HTML elements).

As always (consider the Web Developer’s Pilgrimage), the HTML specification has the details: § 13.1.2 Elements. And this is part of a series: more HTML concepts.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!