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Chapter 4. Image Maps > What Are Image Maps?

What Are Image Maps?

If you use an image-capable browser, you have probably noticed that several major Web sites have a large clickable image on their main pages. These images are different from your run-of-the-mill hyperlinked graphic in that your browser loads a different document, depending on where you click. The image is somehow "multilinked" and can take you to several other Web addresses. Such a multilinked image is called an image map.

The challenge in preparing an image map is defining which parts of the image are linked to which URLs. Linked regions in an image map are called hot regions, and each hot region is associated with the URL of the document that is to be loaded when the hot region is clicked. After you decide the hot regions and their associated URLs, you need to determine whether the Web server or the Web client will make the decision about which document to load, based on the user's click. How this choice is made represents the difference between server-side and client-side image maps. Either approach is easy to implement after you know how to define the hot regions.


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