ELI5: what is Flow Content, and when does Metadata land in that category?

Hoi! It’s Whippodee, here regarding the Elements and Structure practice questions in the HTML course of study.

screenshot of a review topic

I took a look into what was referred to in italics as flow content. Along the way, I ran into an article regarding Content categories and tried doing a bit of a deep dive on the topic. While the article is great at explaining what flow content is, I find myself at a loss as to what isn’t flow content.

The diagram included in the linked article has a segment of Metadata peeking outside of the Flow Content category. I’m assuming from this that some metadata are flow content, while other data are not. But what forms of metadata qualify as flow content? And as far as content goes, is there non-flow content? Is that the definition of metadata?

Meta, meaning ‘above’ as in non-constituent, is not part of flow content. It is data that is brought in to help describe or define the content properties such as, encoding, content-type, stylesheet, document title, and aids to indexing and role description. It does have a place in the DOM as a self-reference, but not the document, proper. Flow content can only be found within the BODY.


Okay, let me see if I’ve got it:

Flow content, only found in the body, can be described or defined by metadata, but metadata do not stand on their own. Therefore, metadata are not content in the traditional sense.

May I bother you as to the meaning of a self-reference? I did a little Wikipedia digging and I think you’re talking about reflection, as in,

can read or modify its own instructions

When you say it has a place in the DOM as self-reference, is that self-reference by the element the metadata are helping to describe? As in, the element is the thing controlling and modifying itself through the use of metadata?


By self-reference I mean that the meta data references the content by associating properties with it. It is good that you are doing some digging and reading, and not just taking what I say, alone.


Thank you for the help!

It’s a little bit harder for me to absorb information via text, so I appreciate your taking the time to clarify things. :smile: I’ve never been good at theory, and I much prefer practical assignments, but it helps when people are there to assist and explain.

I think I’ve got it now! Cheers!

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