W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: Dropping <input usemap=""> (was: Rewording the Design Principles: Pave the Cowpaths and Don't Reinvent the Wheel)

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 01:52:24 +1000
Message-ID: <46C1CFB8.7090508@lachy.id.au>
To: "Philip Taylor (Webmaster)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
CC: Tom Morris <tom@tommorris.org>, public-html <public-html@w3.org>

Philip Taylor (Webmaster) wrote:
> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>> For example, that's one reason why usemap="" has been dropped from 
>> <input type="image"> because many sites that use it actually depend on 
>> it being unimplemented to function. 
> Sorry, could you say that again ?

OK, I'll rephrase it.  Many sites that have used usemap="" on <input 
type="image"> cease to function in browsers that implement the usemap 
attribute on input elements.  Firefox and Opera are the only known 
browsers that implement it, IE and Safari don't, and there are also no 
known use cases for it to be on input elements.

Thus, including it would violate the Support Existing Content and Solve 
Real Problems design principles, and so therefore it has been omitted. 
Note that image maps are still supported on the img element, for which 
there are use cases and browser support.

For example, if you were to attempt submit the form on this site [1] in 
a browser that supports usemap on input elements, like Firefox, the form 
would not function because the map has turned the entire button into a 
useless link instead (in this case, it's a file:// URL, so there is no 
question about it being useless).  If you try it in a browser that 
doesn't support usemap on input, like IE, the submit button works as 

That's just one of hundreds of other examples [2] which would break for 
the same reason.  I don't believe any sites were found that actually 
depend on the image map functioning.  There was one example [3] that 
looks like it has used the image intentionally, but it does not break in 
browsers that don't support it.  Therefore, removing it would do no harm 
in that case.

 From the other thread related to this issue [4]:

Robert Burns wrote:
> On Aug 14, 2007, at 2:42 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> An example of this would be the usemap="" attribute on <input>  
>> elements. I recently decided to not supports this attribute on 
>> <input> elements in HTML5, after having done a thorough study which 
>> discovered that in almost all cases, pages that used the usemap="" 
>> attribute on <input> elements actually behaved better in user 
>> agents that did not support that attribute than in user agents that 
>> _did_ support it. [1]
> I hadn't seen the discussion of this and didn't see anything about 
> this on the wiki. Its hard to discuss this issue without more 
> background, but where could you have found consensus for a change 
> like this? Like I said I don't even remember this topic over any of 
> the channels, and I've been following them closely.

You have to remember that this spec has been under development in the 
WHATWG since 2004 and in the ~12000 emails posted to that list and in 
the feedback from dozens of other sources, prior to merging with the 
W3C, a significant number of issues have been discussed.

It is extremely unrealistic to expect that every single issue discussed 
elsewhere should be rehashed here prior to making any changes to the 
spec.  There will continue to be changes made to the spec based on 
feedback from many external sources (including whatwg, bug trackers like 
bugzilla, IRC channels, blogs, newsgroups, etc.)  However, changes can 
be discussed here as they occur if people have any issues with them.

> Again, there are multiple solutions to such a problem.

Solutions to what problem?  The usemap attribute on input elements has 
no known use cases.  Including it doesn't solve anything, omitting it does.

[1] http://alforag.com/donate/
[3] http://www.wheresmysquare.com/
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Aug/0462.html

Lachlan Hunt
Received on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 15:52:41 UTC

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