hgroup removed from the HTML5 specification

The hgroup element has been on the “at risk” list for a while and the decision to remove it from the HTML5 specification has finally been made.

The intention of the hgroup element was to represent the heading of a section, and could only contain h1h6 elements. It was used to group a set of these elements when the heading has multiple levels, especially sub-headings and taglines.

Use of the hgroup element also meant that all heading elements contained within it were hidden from the document outline except the first one of the highest rank.

At the , Steve Faulkner requested that the usefulness of hgroup be revisited, and he suggested making the element obsolete and provide authoring advice about how to markup subheadings using existing HTML elements.

Following usual W3C procedure, a request for hgroup use cases was made but none were forthcoming. This has led to the decision to remove it from the HTML5 specification.

I don’t think that its removal is a bad thing as it didn’t really appear to have much use. That said I would like to see some official method of marking up sub-headings or taglines for those that may want to use them.

For now browsers won’t remove support for hgroup but it’s likely that they will do so in the future.

As for how to mark up subheadings in HTML, I’m sure some advice from the W3C will be forthcoming in the HTML5 specification, and no doubt it will be spearheaded by Steve Faulkner!