[whatwg] Image maps: should we drop <a coords="">?

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Mon Apr 11 09:25:00 PDT 2005

There are fours ways of doing image maps in HTML4:

Server-side with form submit:

   <form ...> <input type="image" ...> </form>

Server-side with hyperlink:

   <a ...> <img ismap ...> </a>

Client-side with <area>:

   <img usemap="#foo"> (or <object usemap="#foo"></object>)
   <map id="foo">
    <area coords="..." ...>

Client-side with <a> (doesn't work in WinIE6, works in Moz, Opera):

   <img usemap="#foo"> (or <object usemap="#foo"></object>)
   <map id="foo">
    <a coords="..." ...></a>

It seems type="image" is used a lot. ismap="" is also used quite a bit -- 
roughly 2% of Web sites seem to use it. <area> is used a lot -- almost all 
image maps use it. I couldn't find any uses of <a coords="">. (Data based 
on a sample of over 600,000 randomly chosen sites.)

I propose we drop <a coords=""> from HTML5. While it is definitely a 
better design than <area>, it isn't a substantially better design, and 
having both is confusing. Since here we have a case where one of the 
options is rarely used (if at all), I believe we can take the opportunity 
to prune the spec without ill effect. (In contrast, in the <button> vs 
<input type="submit"> case, we couldn't drop either because they were 
both heavily used.)

Anyone want us to keep <a coords="">?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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