HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Interpreting the <a> Tag in Different Versions of HTML
The <a> tag is treated slightly differently in versions of HTML prior to HTML5. In
HTML 4.01 and XHTML, the <a> tag can be used to enclose only text-level elements and
should not be used to group content or structural elements. This means that the code
<a href=”home.htm”>
<p>Go to the home page</p>
would not be allowed because the hyperlink is applied to an entire paragraph. HTML5
does not make this distinction, allowing the <a> tag to enclose text-level, grouping, and
structural elements.
A second important difference is that in HTML 4.01 and XHTML, the <a> tag can also
be used as an anchor to mark specific locations within the document. For that reason,
the <a> tag is commonly referred to as the tag for the anchor element. HTML5 does not
support this interpretation; the <a> tag can be used only to mark hypertext links.
Attributes of the a Element
The a element supports several attributes in addition to the href attribute. Some of these
attributes are listed in Figure 2-13.
Figure 2-13
Attributes of the anchor (a) element
Attribute Description
charset=” encoding Specifies the character encoding used in the linked resource ( not
supported in HTML5 )
href=” url Indicates the resource targeted by the hypertext link
media=” media type Indicates the media device in which the linked resource should be
viewed ( HTML5 )
name=” name Assigns a name for the section anchored by the <a> tag ( not
supported in HTML5 )
rel=” relationship Specifies the relationship between the current document and the
linked resource
ping=” url A space-separated list of resources that get notified when the user
follows the hyperlink ( HTML5 )
target=” target_type Specifies where to open the linked resource
type=” mime-type
Specifies the content (the mime-type) of the linked resource
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