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0.1.46 • Public • Published

Element Internals Polyfill

This package is a polyfill for the ElementInternals standard. The specification is supported by current releases of Google's Chrome.

Use case

The primary use case for ElementInternals right now is allowing custom elements full participation in HTML forms. To do this, it provides any element designated as formAssociated access to a handful of utilities.

The ElementInternals API also offers users access to increased utilities for accessibility by exposing the Accessibility Object Model to the element.


This package is available on npm under the name element-internals-polyfill and can be installed with npm, yarn, unpkg or however else you consume dependencies.

Example commands:


npm i element-internals-polyfill


yarn add element-internals-polyfill


import 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/element-internals-polyfill';


import 'https://unpkg.com/element-internals-polyfill';

How it works

To do this, add the static get formAssociated to a custom element and call the attachInternals method to return a new instance of the ElementInternals interface:

class MyElement extends HTMLElement {
  constructor() {
    this._internals = this.attachInternals();

This works by doing several things under the hood. First, there is a feature check for the ElementInternals object on the window. If that does not exist, the polyfill wires up a global MutationObserver on the document to watch for additions to the DOM that the polyfill might need.

It also monkey-patches HTMLElement.prototype.attachShadow to wire up a similar listener on any created shadow roots and to remove the watcher if the shadow root is removed.

The polyfill will also monkey-patch window.FormData to attach any custom elements to that feature as well.

The currently-supported features of the polyfill are:

Form-associated custom elements

To create a form-associated custom element using ElementInternals, the element's class must have a static formAssociated member that returns true.

class MyFormControl extends HTMLElement {
  static get formAssociated() {
    return true;

  constructor() {
    this.internals = this.attachInternals();

In the above example, the form control will now have access to several unique APIs for participating in a form:

  • Labels will be wired up properly as they would with any built-in input. The polyfill achieves this by applying an aria-labelledby attribute to the host element and referencing any labels with a for attribute corresponding to the host's id. A reference to these labels can be found under this.internals.labels.
  • The internals interface will have access to the host element's form if one exists under this.internals.form.
  • If the element has a name, a refernce to the host element will be saved on the form object.

In addition to the above the ElementInternals prototype has access to several form-specific methods including:

  • checkValidity: Will return the validity state of the form control.
  • reportValidity: Will trigger an invalid event if the form control is invalid. For the polyfill this method will not trigger the validationMessage to show to the user, that is a task left to the consumer.
  • setFormValue: Sets the form control's value on the form. This value will be attached to the form's FormData method.
  • setValidity: Takes two arguments, the first being a partial validity object that will update the control's validity object and the second being an optional validation message (required if the form is invalid). If this object is missing the method will throw an error. If the first argument is an object literal the form will be marked as valid.
  • validationMessage: The element's validation message as set by callse to ElementInternals.prototype.setValidity.
  • validity: The validity controller which is identical to the interface of HTMLInputElement.prototype.validity.
  • willValidate: Will be true if the control is set to participate in a form.

Accessibility controls

In addition to form controls, ElementInternals will also surface several accessibility methods for any element with internals attached. A list of supported properties (and their associated attributes) follows:

  • ariaAtomic: 'aria-atomic'
  • ariaAutoComplete: 'aria-autocomplete'
  • ariaBusy: 'aria-busy'
  • ariaChecked: 'aria-checked'
  • ariaColCount: 'aria-colcount'
  • ariaConIndex: 'aria-colindex'
  • ariaColSpan: 'aria-colspan'
  • ariaCurrent: 'aria-current'
  • ariaDisabled: 'aria-disabled'
  • ariaExpanded: 'aria-expanded'
  • ariaHasPopup: 'aria-haspopup'
  • ariaHidden: 'aria-hidden'
  • ariaKeyShortcuts: 'aria-keyshortcuts'
  • ariaLabel: 'aria-label'
  • ariaLevel: 'aria-level'
  • ariaLive: 'aria-live'
  • ariaModal: 'aria-modal'
  • ariaMultiLine: 'aria-multiline'
  • ariaMultiSelectable: 'aria-multiselectable'
  • ariaOrientation: 'aria-orientation'
  • ariaPlaceholder: 'aria-placeholder'
  • ariaPosInSet: 'aria-posinset'
  • ariaPressed: 'aria-pressed'
  • ariaReadOnly: 'aria-readonly'
  • ariaRelevant: 'aria-relevant'
  • ariaRequired: 'aria-required'
  • ariaRoleDescription: 'aria-roledescription'
  • ariaRowCount: 'aria-rowcount'
  • ariaRowIndex: 'aria-rowindex'
  • ariaRowSpan: 'aria-rowspan'
  • ariaSelected: 'aria-selected'
  • ariaSort: 'aria-sort'
  • ariaValueMax: 'aria-valuemax'
  • ariaValueMin: 'aria-valuemin'
  • ariaValueNow: 'aria-valuenow'
  • ariaValueText: 'aria-valuetext'

State API

ElementInternals exposes an API for creating custom states on an element. For instance if a developer wanted to signify to users that an element was in state foo, they could call internals.states.set('--foo'). This would make the element match the selector :--foo. Unfortunately in non-supporting browsers this is an invalid selector and will throw an error in JS and would cause the parsing of a CSS rule to fail. As a result, this polyfill will add states using the state--foo attribute to the host element.

In order to properly select these elements in CSS, you will need to duplicate your rule as follows:

/** Supporting browsers */
:--foo { 
  color: rebeccapurple;

/** Polyfilled browsers */
[state--foo] {
  color: rebeccapurple;

Trying to combine selectors like :--foo, [state--foo] will cause the parsing of the rule to fail because :--foo is an invalid selector. As a potential optimization, you can use CSS @supports as follows:

@supports selector(:--foo) {
  /** Native supporting code here */

@supports not selector([state--foo]) {
  /** Code for polyfilled browsers here */

Be sure to understand how your supported browsers work with CSS @supports before using the above strategy.

Current limitations

  • Right now providing a cross-browser compliant version of ElementInternals.reportValidity is not supported. The method essentially behaves as a proxy for ElementInternals.checkValidity.
  • The polyfill does support the outcomes of the Accessibility Object Model for applying accessibility rules on the DOM object. However, the spec states that updates using AOM will not be reflected by DOM attributes, but only on the element's accesibility object. However, to emulate this behavior before it is fully supported, it is necessary to use the attributes. If you choose to use this feature, please note that behavior in polyfilled browsers and non-polyfilled browsers will be different; however, the outcome for users will be the same.
  • It is currently impossible to set form states to :invalid and :valid so this polyfill replaces those with the [internals-invalid] and [internals-valid] attributes on the host element. The proper selector for invalid elements will be :host(:invalid), :host([internals-invalid]).

A note about versioning

This packages doesn't necessarily follow semantic versioning. As the spec is still under consideration and implementation by browser vendors, the features supported by this package will change (generally following Chrome's implementation).

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