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[Bug 14601] Investigate if support for <a> inside image maps should be brought back to HTML

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2011 16:27:49 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1RLHBl-0005MK-R4@jessica.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=14601

--- Comment #5 from Ian 'Hixie' Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> 2011-11-01 16:27:48 UTC ---
Decisions are not based on consensus, so I wouldn't look for an agreement.

Here's the lay out of the land regarding using <a> for image maps:
 - it's not supported by many browsers
 - it's used by very few authors
 - it provides functionality redundant with <area>, which is widely supported
and widely used
 - it is positioned to allow for better fallback, but does not, since <area> is
required to be supported by all user agents, including those that don't do
graphical image maps. 
 - it has a commensurate cost for implementations, testing, tutorials, and
speccing.
 - it has an additional cost due to the introduction of the possibility that an
<a> element will be focused but that the focus won't be on the page where the
<a> element is displayed, but will instead be where the image map is (with
<area> elements, they can _only_ be focused in the image map, so it's not as
huge a deal).

It's true that sometimes you will want to use both <a> and <area> for the same
link. In fact, there are many more times where you'll want to use <a> twice for
the same link, or <a> and <link>. This in itself is not a reason to require
that the same element be used for both. Consider, in particular, the example in
the <map> section in the spec. It is equivalent to a page with this structure:

 <HEADER>
  <H1>Toys</H1>
  <A HREF="/clothes/">Clothes</A>
  <A HREF="/toys/">Toys</A>
  <A HREF="/food/">Food</A>
  <A HREF="/books/">Books</A>
 </HEADER>
  ...
 <FOOTER>
  <A HREF="/clothes/">Clothes</A>
  <A HREF="/toys/">Toys</A>
  <A HREF="/food/">Food</A>
  <A HREF="/books/">Books</A>
 </FOOTER>

The only difference is that the first set of links is actually done as an
image, so it needs an image map, and so the <AREA> elements have to be put
somewhere. Since the page has these links twice, a simple place to put the
links is at the bottom. It's not like they're the same link, though. It's quite
possible, in fact, that the page would look like this:

 <HEADER>
  <H1>Toys</H1>
  <A HREF="/clothes/#top">Clothes</A>
  <A HREF="/toys/#top">Toys</A>
  <A HREF="/food/#top">Food</A>
  <A HREF="/books/#top">Books</A>
 </HEADER>
  ...
 <FOOTER>
  <A HREF="/clothes/#bottom">Clothes</A>
  <A HREF="/toys/#bottom">Toys</A>
  <A HREF="/food/#bottom">Food</A>
  <A HREF="/books/#bottom">Books</A>
 </FOOTER>

An author would still need somewhere to put the image map links, and might
still put them with the other links. But it doesn't argue for reusing the same
<A> element for two links.

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Received on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 16:29:55 GMT

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