I've used article tags on websites. My understanding and practice is to use the article tag for publication content. I always use HTML/HTML5 tags as their intended purposes and not at will.

Recently, I've seen an HTML template that uses the article tag for the non-publication page content such as the content of an About Us page or any other generic page. I asked the why it was used this way and the (vague) explanation was that it had to do with the way the iPad read the tag. Is this true?

3 Answers 3


Using the <article> tag in the iPhone is great because it explicitly pops out the "reader" button on the iPhone, that makes the viewed page nice and clean. (really good for pages that are not optimized for mobile reading)

  • Well, that's part of my issue. The site has a mobile view so iPhones or any other smartphones get directed to the mobile version of the site that only contains text. It kind of renders any benefit of using the article tag in the generic view useless IMO. I really like the reader in iOS devices but between the fact that the site has a mobile view and that the site doesn't really have long pages of content (most pages are just a paragraph or two), I just just don't see any benefit whatsoever.
    – dspencer
    Nov 7, 2012 at 13:05
  • take into consideration that there are many devices, and it might be useful on those too.
    – YardenST
    Nov 7, 2012 at 14:49

Honestly, I would avoid using them new HTML5 tags like head, section, and article.

Their definitions are vague and unclear. Nobody (including the guy that thought of them) really knows how to use them.

Here is a link to an interesting article on that topic: .NET article

And if you don't want to read it, here is one sentence summary: Stick with your normal div elements with semantic IDs and classes.


Don’t let the element name confuse you. article is not for "publication content" only.

HTML5 (CR) defines the meaning of the article element:

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.

As examples, the spec lists:

User agents (like a tablet, search engines, browsers, …) might do anything they like with the information given by the use of this markup. As article would always include complete/self-contained content, it could make sense to offer a way to consume the content in a different context, e.g., by showing this content only (without any page chrome etc.).

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