Netscape works with the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium to develop standards of the Internet. Proposals that have been made since HTML 2.0 went into final review have been grouped together as HTML 3.0. HTML 3.0 appears to be some ways from completion but never the less embodies a wide range of useful extensions.
Netscape remains committed to supporting HTML 3.0. To that end, we've gone ahead and implemented several of the more stable proposals, in expectation that they will be approved. We believe that Netscape Navigator 2.0 supports more of the HTML 3.0 specifications than any other commercial client.
In addition, we've also added several new areas of HTML functionality to Netscape Navigator that are not currently in the HTML 3.0 specification. We think they belong there, and as part of the standards process, we are proposing them for inclusion.
Image maps are an important feature of the point-and-click interface which makes the World Wide Web so popular. The most common use of image maps is to allow users to access different documents by clicking on different areas in an image.
There are several limitations of the current image map implementation as it applies to this use. First, it only works over the HTTP protocol, making it unusable for reading local files or files accessed via alternate protocols. Second, a server transaction is required merely to determine where the link is directed. This can degrade performance noticeably when accessing distant sites. Third, unlike for normal links, there is no way for a browser to provide visual feedback to the user showing where a portion of an image map leads before the user actually clicks on it. Lastly, the implementation of image maps is server-dependent, compromising portability of documents.
While HTML+ contains provisions for "hypertext buttons" on images via
use of the
FIG element, this method is an unworkable short-term
solution for several reasons. First, complete support of the
element requires significant additional processing by the browser. Second,
it cannot degrade gracefully on browsers that do not support it. Third, it
requires the map description to be specified when the image appears, which
is inappropriate for some applications. The extension to support client-side
image maps addresses these issues.
USEMAP attribute to an
IMG element indicates that it is a client-side image map. The
USEMAP attribute can be used with the
to indicate that the the image can be processed as either a client-side or
server-side image map. The argument to
USEMAP specifies which
map to use with the image, in a format similar to the
on anchors. If the argument to
USEMAP starts with a '#', it
is assumed to be in the same document as the
IMG tag. A few
examples would be:
You can only click here if your browser supports client-side image
maps: <IMG SRC="../images/tech/pic1.gif"
This image map will work regardless: <A HREF="/cgi-bin/image map/pic2"> <IMG SRC="../images/tech/pic2.gif" USEMAP="maps.html#map2" ISMAP></A>
Clicking here will take you to a page with an error message if you don't have client-side image map support: <A HREF="no_csim.html"> <IMG SRC="../images/tech/pic3.gif" USEMAP="maps.html#map3"> </A>
The different regions of the image are described using a
element. The map describes each region in the image and indicates where it
links to. The basic format for the
MAP element is as follows:
The name specifies the name of the map so that it can be referenced
IMG element. The shape gives the shape of this
area. Currently the only shape defined is "
RECT", but the syntax
is defined in such a way to allow other region types to be added. If the
SHAPE tag is omitted,
SHAPE="RECT" is assumed.
COORDS tag gives the coordinates of the shape, using image
pixels as the units. For a rectangle, the coordinates are given as
"left,top,right,bottom". The rectangular region defined includes
the lower-right corner specified, i.e. to specify the the entire area of
a 100x100 image, the coordinates would be "0,0,99,99".
NOHREF tag indicates that clicks in this region should
perform no action. An
HREF tag specifies where a click in that
area should lead. Note that a relative anchor specification will be expanded
using the URL of the map description as a base, rather than using the URL
of the document from which the map description is referenced. If a
BASE tag is present in the document containing the map description,
that URL will be used as the base.
An arbitrary number of
AREA tags may be specified. If two
areas intersect, the one which appears first in the map definition takes
precedence in the overlapping region. For example, a button bar in a document
might use a 160 pixel by 60 pixel image and appear like this:
<AREA SHAPE="RECT" COORDS="10,10,49,49" HREF="about_us.html">
<AREA SHAPE="RECT" COORDS="60,10,99,49" HREF="products.html">
<AREA SHAPE="RECT" COORDS="110,10,149,49" HREF="index.html">
<AREA SHAPE="RECT" COORDS="0,0,159,59" NOHREF>
<IMG SRC="../images/tech/bar.gif" USEMAP="#buttonbar">
This example includes a region encompassing the entire image with a
NOHREF tag, but this is actually redundant. Any region of the image that is not defined by an
AREA tag is assumed to be
This syntax provides maximum flexibility to the document author for dealing with browsers which do not support this extension, since such browsers will ignore the
AREA elements. If the document resides on an HTTP server, the server can still provide
ISMAP-style support. Otherwise, the author can choose to have the image not appear as an anchor at all, or have a click anywhere within it lead to a another page, perhaps providing an equivalent textual list of options.
The demand for a non-HTTP based mechanism for image maps will also increase as archives of material in HTML format begins to appear on CD-ROM. The expected increase in pay-per-access servers will also lead to users saving copies of documents locally, which they would then expect to function identically to those on the original server. The extensions described here could serve as a basis to satisfy these needs.
 Berners-Lee, Tim, Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Internet Draft.
 Connolly, Daniel W. HTML 2.0 Specification Review Materials, URL:
 Ragget, Dave, HTML+ Discussion Document, URL:
Authored by: James L. Seidman,Spyglass, Inc.
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