Category Archives: Articles

:before and :after pseudo-element on an input field?

:before and :after render inside a container and <input> can not contain other elements.

Pseudo-elements can only be defined (or better said are only supported) on container elements. Because the way they are rendered is within the container itself as a child element. input can not contain other elements hence they’re not supported. A button on the other hand that’s also a form element supports them, because it’s a container of other sub-elements.

If you ask me, if some browser does display these two pseudo-elements on non-container elements, it’s a bug and a non-standard conformance. Specification directly talks about element content…

W3C specification

If we carefully read the specification it actually says that they are inserted inside a containing element:

Authors specify the style and location of generated content with the :before and :after pseudo-elements. As their names indicate, the :before and :after pseudo-elements specify the location of content before and after an element’s document tree content. The ‘content’ property, in conjunction with these pseudo-elements, specifies what is inserted.