Definition of Attribute

An attribute, in the context of technology, refers to a characteristic or property of an element within a data structure, programming language, or computer system. In programming, attributes are often used to define specific properties of an object or an HTML element. They provide additional information or modify the function and presentation of the element to which they belong.


The phonetic pronunciation of the word “Attribute” is /əˈtrɪb.juːt/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Attributes provide additional information about an HTML element, such as its ID, class, or title, and are used to modify the element’s behavior or appearance.
  2. Attributes are always specified in the start tag of an element and are written as a name-value pair with the syntax: name=”value”.
  3. There are global attributes that can be applied to any HTML element and specific attributes that are relevant to particular elements only, like the “src” attribute for an <img> element.

Importance of Attribute

The technology term “attribute” is important because it plays a crucial role in defining and assigning specific properties to elements within digital systems and programming languages.

Attributes allow users and developers to provide additional information, functionality, or customization to elements without altering their content or primary function.

They contribute significantly to the organization, usability, and efficiency of various coding environments and data structures, enabling the processing and exchange of information more effectively.

In essence, attributes enhance the precision and versatility of technological systems, facilitating the creation and maintenance of more robust, flexible, and feature-rich applications and programs.


Attributes, in the context of technology, play an essential role in determining and organizing different elements’ characteristics within various forms of data. They are often used in software development, data management, and web development to efficiently characterize the fundamental properties of an object or a particular element.

Attributes can either be innate, such as an inherent quality, or assigned externally. In database systems, for instance, attributes help in elucidating each data element’s specific properties, making it easier to perceive and utilize the information.

Meanwhile, in programming languages, they aid in defining objects’ properties and features within a class, offering an efficient way to manage and manipulate the class’s instances. Moreover, attributes are widely used in the realm of web development, particularly in HTML and XML, where they provide supplementary information about a particular tag or element.

Through attributes, developers can specify additional details, such as the dimension of a visual element, a hyperlink reference, or the format of an input field, ultimately tailoring the user experience to be more informative and engaging. By implementing attributes, developers have greater control over managing, organizing, and customizing data – enhancing the efficiency and usability of a system or a website while catering to diverse needs and requirements.

Examples of Attribute

The term “attribute” in technology typically refers to properties or characteristics of an object, element, or entity within a system. Here are three real-world examples that demonstrate the use of attributes in technology systems:

Web Development (HTML and CSS): In web development, attributes are used to provide additional information about an HTML element. Some common attributes include “id,” “class,” and “style.” For instance, an HTML element like an image (img) may have attributes such as “src” (source), “alt” (alternative text), and “title” (tooltip).Example:“`An example image“`

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): In GIS, attributes refer to descriptive information associated with spatial data points, such as locations or geographic features. For example, a point on a map representing a school may have attributes like the school’s name, type, enrollment numbers, and contact details. This attribute data is often stored in accompanying attribute tables and connected to spatial objects via unique identifiers.

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP): In OOP languages like Java, Python, or C++, attributes (also called fields, member variables, or properties) are used to define the characteristics of an object within a class. These attributes store data, and the class’s methods (functions) manipulate that data. For example, in a “Car” class, you might have attributes such as “make,” “model,” “year,” and “color.”Example in Python:“`pythonclass Car: def __init__(self, make, model, year, color): self.make = make self.model = model self.year = year self.color = color“`These real-world examples show how attributes are used in various technologies to store and manage information related to objects, elements, and entities within their respective systems.

Frequently Asked Questions about Attribute

1. What is an attribute in HTML?

An attribute in HTML is used to provide additional information about an HTML element. It helps to define the characteristics of the element, such as size, color, type, and more. Attributes are always specified within the opening tag of the element and usually consist of a name-value pair.

2. What is the syntax for adding an attribute to an HTML element?

To add an attribute to an HTML element, simply include the attribute name followed by an equal sign (=) and the attribute value, enclosed in double or single quotes. For example:

<element attribute_name="attribute_value">

Here, “element” represents the HTML element, “attribute_name” represents the attribute name, and “attribute_value” represents the value of the attribute.

3. What are some common HTML attributes?

Some common HTML attributes include:

  • id: uniquely identifies an element within a page
  • class: defines a group of elements with the same style
  • style: directly applies CSS styling to an element
  • src: specifies the source file for elements such as images and videos
  • alt: specifies alternative text for elements like images, shown if the file cannot be displayed
  • href: specifies the URL of a linked resource for <a> (anchor) elements
  • title: specifies extra information about an element, displayed as a tooltip on hover

4. Can I use multiple attributes in an HTML element?

Yes, you can use multiple attributes within a single HTML element. Simply add each attribute with its respective value, separated by a space. For example:

<element attribute1="value1" attribute2="value2" attribute3="value3">

5. Do all HTML attributes require a value?

No, not all HTML attributes require a value. Some attributes are boolean attributes, meaning their presence alone implies they are true. Examples of boolean attributes include “disabled” for form inputs, “checked” for checkboxes, and “required” for form fields. To use a boolean attribute:

<element boolean_attribute>

Related Technology Terms

  • Property
  • Metadata
  • Tag
  • Value
  • Element

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents