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The Year of the Map

In the earliest days of commercial web design, image maps were used to deliver a branded navigation bar such as the one in Figure 7.3 or at the top and bottom of Figure 7.5. Early image maps consisted of five parts:

  • A Photoshop (or Canvas, or other image editor generated) file that was quite literally a picture of a user interface, saved in GIF or (later) JPEG format

  • A map file containing the coordinates of each “active” region of the image, along with the URL to which each active region linked

  • A CGI program, typically written in PERL and installed in a special directory of the server, whose job was to translate the user's mouse clicks into the URLs specified in the map file

  • An “ISMAP” attribute that was added to the image element in the page's source code

  • A hypertext anchor around the image element that pointed to the CGI program's location


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