[whatwg] borders on images inside links

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Tue Mar 2 01:41:35 PST 2010

On Mar 1, 2010, at 9:20 PM, L. David Baron wrote:

> I believe the rendering section should describe a default style
> rule, present in Gecko and in Internet Explorer (and also in
> Netscape 4.x and earlier, Mosaic, etc.), that gives borders to
> images inside links.  In Gecko, this is represented as:
>  :link img, :visited img, img[usemap], object[usemap] { border: 2px  
> solid; }
> People have expressed concern that this rule is a bad default
> because it's a rule that authors frequently override.  I agree that
> it's a bad default for HTML that is used as an application, but I
> think it's a good default for HTML as a document.  And I think there
> is content written on the assumption that borders would visually
> indicate links -- I know I've written some.
> I think we're better off not breaking compatibility here, as it's a
> very-long-standing (for the Web) precedent.  I'd rather see
> 15-year-old Web pages continue to work as intended rather than
> gradually turn them into something that requires 15-year-old
> software to read.
> For more information (and the reason that prompted me to post here),
> see https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=452915 .

A few comments:

1) WebKit has never had this rule. We have not had any significant  
problem reports based on it. Therefore I doubt there is truly a  
compatibility issue.

2) I do not believe the proposed rule is a good default for either  
documents or applications. It looks ugly. I randomly checked 10 of the  
sites I browse most often and I could not find a single one that  
explicitly added this rule for the browsers that don't have it. What's  
more, I could not find a single one that retained it for images. This  
rule is just a vestigial artifact that Web developers have to work  

3) I expect the WebKit community would be against adding such a style  
rule, even if a spec said we should.

4) Even the 13-year-old HTML 3.2 spec has border="0" on images used as  
links: <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32>. That's before CSS!

5) I'd like to see some examples of actual 15-year-old Web pages that  
render better with this style rule than without, to the point that a  
modern reader would consider them broken.


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