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PatternFly Elements 3.0

Newer, Better, More Accessible


This week we are pleased to announce the availability of PatternFly Elements 3.0. This includes the release of our three main packages

These releases include commits from Anuj Singla, Benny Powers, Brian Ferry, Gautam Krishna, Guy Bedford, Ivana Rodriguez, Luke Dary, Mark Caron, Michael Potter, Nikki Massaro, and Steven Spriggs. Thank you for your contributions!


A lot of deep thought, careful testing, and hard work went into accessibility in this release. In particular, the leadership of our Principal Engineer for Accessibility Nikki Massaro and our Producer for Accessibility Greg Gibson were critical to designing elements which serve all of our customers.

Roving Tabindex

One of the key insights in this release cycle was that when it comes to creating accessible controls, there is often more than one way to achieve sufficient results. We relied heavily on Nikki Massaro's RovingTabindexController (RTIC) when developing new elements like <pf-select> as well as when updating existing elements like <pf-tabs>. We ship controllers like RTIC in our pfe-core package. Controllers are bits of shared functionality which can plug in to any element and provide features like accessibility patterns or positioning floating elements.

This release revises RTIC's developer ergonomics, making it useful even in framework components like React, not just in web components. The roving tabindex pattern allows end users to skip over complex controls like listboxes or tab groups when navigating a page by keyboard. The user only has to "tab into" the complex control once, and they can "tab out" immediately if they wish to continue down the page. If they want to navigate within the complex control, they can do so using the arrow keys.

Cross-root ARIA

One of the major challenges faced during this release cycle was in adapting complex components and design patterns to the use of Shadow DOM and Form-Associated Custom Elements. As of this writing, there is yet no comprehensive cross-browser method for associating an element in one root (i.e. the main document) with an element in another root (i.e. a shadow root). An example of where this matters is in the case of dropdowns. In order to assistive technology to correctly announce the type, state, and availability of dropdown controls, the browser's internal accessibility tree must associate the button which toggles the dropdown menu open and closed with the listbox element that contains the dropdown actions.

In the case of dropdown, we wanted to offer our users the ability to slot in a custom toggle element to the dropdown control, but if we did so, then the menu (normally located within the shadow root of the dropdown) could not effectively be associated with the toggle. Our solution in that case was to require users who customize the toggle to also slot in a menu element, so that they both live in the same root.

We eagerly await the specification and implementation of cross-root ARIA in web browsers, and our engineers continue to participate in the specification efforts at the Web Compoonents Community Group.

The importance of manual testing

In a perfect world, browser vendors would implement accessibility specs immediately, completely, and uniformly; and assistive technology vendors would implement direct translations of the browser's internal accessibility tree to the end user. Of course, we don't live in such a world. During the development process, we rely on the browser's accessibility developer tools to understand how our complex controls appear to AT, and we write the majority of our unit tests as assertions against that tree ("When I click the toggle, expect the listbox to appear next to it in the tree").

We've seen again and again that just because something looks good to the developer when they inspect the AX tree doesn't mean that all users will be able to use it. We were fortunate to have the time, care, and expert testing skills of our Accessibility Producer Greg Gibson during this development cycle. Developers often ask us how to automate accessibility testing. Our answer is always that automation can only get you so far. Cross-browser, cross-platform, manual testing is essential to ensure the widest reach for your products.

New Elements

PatternFly Elements 3.0 continues the work started in 2.0 to bring the design and user experience into line with the PatternFly React v4 library. Behind the scenes we also expended quite a lot of effort to align our Elements internal implementations and external apis more closely with the pattern fly react library. We are looking forward to continuing this work towards pattern fly for both in terms of implementing components that we don't have yet as well as closing the future parity gaps and ensuring greater compatibility with the existing pattern fly library.

We've added several elements to our collection in this release:

Select and dropdown in particular, because of their accessibility requirements, were a major effort this release.

New Features

We also added features and made changes to elements released in previous versions:

Controllers and Decorators

The Core and Tools packages received major changes as well. Core no longer recommends the @cascades decorator, which was used to set a given attribute on a set of known, named child elements. Instead, we provide some helpers for using the Context Protocol via Lit's @provide and @consume decorators. We made the constructors for InternalsController private, in order to prevent situations in which the user tries to create more than one ElementInternals object for a given element (which the browser will not allow).

Steven Spriggs worked on the new TabsAriaController, which simplifies the process of writings tab group components. Brian Ferry added an isEmpty method to SlotController, which developers can use e.g. to hide part of an element when it has no slotted content.


Our new version of the PFE dev server no longer uses the node-resolution algorithm, instead it generates an import map to your components. We've made it easier to share CSS between different element's shadow roots using the lit-css and typescript-transformer-lit-css packages. Our react wrapper generator should now work for more projects, as well.


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View HTML Source

<script type="module">
import '@patternfly/elements/pf-chip/pf-chip-group.js';
import '@patternfly/elements/pf-chip/pf-chip.js';
import '@patternfly/elements/pf-dropdown/pf-dropdown.js';
import '@patternfly/elements/pf-select/pf-select.js';
import '@patternfly/elements/pf-text-area/pf-text-area.js';
const form = document.getElementById('demo-form');
const { textarea, select, disabler } = form.elements;
form.addEventListener('submit', (event) => event.preventDefault());
form.addEventListener('change', function(event) {
textarea.resize = select.value;
textarea.disabled = disabler.checked;
#demo-form {
display: grid;
gap: var(--pf-global--spacer--form-element, 0.375rem);
& pf-chip-group,
& label
width: max-content;
& label {
display: flex;
justify-content: center;
gap: var(--pf-global--spacer--form-element, 0.375rem);
<form id="demo-form">
<pf-text-area id="textarea"
placeholder="PatternFly Version 3.0 Text Area">
<pf-select id="resize-textarea"
placeholder="Select a direction"

<pf-option description="The textarea will resize in the both directions"
<pf-option description="The textarea will resize in the horizontal direction only"
<pf-option description="The textarea will resize in the vertical direction only"
<pf-chip-group open>
<pf-switch name="disabler"></pf-switch>
<span data-state="on" hidden>Enable</span><span data-state="off">Disable</span> textarea

Full Release Notes

We hope you enjoy using Patternfly elements in your projects, and that it helps you deliver apps and pages faster to more users.

View the full release notes here:

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