[whatwg] <banner> as a dedicated tag

Martin Stender martin at stender.com
Wed Feb 23 08:03:01 PST 2011

Hello list

I've been searching the archives for some discussions about the need for a dedicated banner-tag, but found only some WAI-related discussions about using the 'role'-attribute for this.

But semantics and/or accessibility is not my primary reason for raising this issue.

I work as a frontend-developer at a leading Danish media-company, and we are - as many others - mainly funded by our ad-sales.

As I'm sure many of you are aware (and probably challenged by every now and then), banner-ads come in all thinkable variations: simple text links, simple images/animated gifs, elaborate Flash-creations and so on.

Now, the way you chose to actually insert these into your page, can vary a great deal, but if you are a large site where your advertisers continuously change, you have some sort of ad-management system and a team of people dedicated to performing the job of taking in campaigns, uploading them to the system and taking them live.

Dom-injection is the most common way of doing this, so in our case, here is what happens:

Several places on our site, we have markup like this:

<div class="banner_300">
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript"><!--
document.write('<scr'+'ipt language="javascript1.1" src="http://adserver.adtech.de/addyn/3.0/123/123456/1/123/ad;loc=100;target=_blank;key=some+key+words;grp=12345;misc='+new Date().getTime()+'"></scri'+'pt>');

So the ad-managing system injects whatever is supposed to sit inside that div-tag, into our dom.
I believe that is the way most commercial sites handles this task.

While we trust both our ad-team, our ad-management system, our customers and their ad-agencies -  *nothing* really prevents either a human error or some 'evil-doers' (tm) from taking over the entire page this way. In reality, of course, human error would be the case in almost all cases of mishap, but everything is possible.

So it would be great to have the ability to just insert a <banner>-tag, knowing that whatever goes on in side that tag, cannot alter the page itself. 
You should be able to grant the tag access to read various values of the surrounding page,  though.

Also, the possibility to postpone execution of the banner-tags content including scripts (until everything else has loaded) would also be highly useful, as we sometimes experience high load times due to banners. 

The ever-present issue of accessibility / semantics would also gain from this, as robots and screen-readers should/could just skip the tag altogether.

So something like this:

<banner deferred="deferred" pageaccess="read | write | both | none"> [here goes whatever your ad-manager system needs] </banner>

What do you think?
Best regards


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