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The HTML a tag defines an anchor and may be used to establish a link to another document, as a bookmark on a page, or as both.
When used to set a bookmark you must define an id or name to it, so you are able to point to it in other instances. The id must be unique and follow the rules described for the "name" attribute.
Note that in XHTML 1.0, the "name" attribute for this element has been deprecated in favor of the "id" attribute. And in XHTML 1.1 it's been completely removed. Its use, in XHTML 1.0, is only recommended for backward compatibily.
When the HTML a tag is used to link to other page the "href" attribute is defined and describes the location of the referred resource. The links are usually rendered in a special way by browsers using text decorations, as color and/or underline.
And finally, the HTML a tag may be used for both purposes. While referring to another document, this anchor will set a bookmark on this page.
In the description, a bookmark named "bookmark1" was defined. In the following example we'll make a link referring to that bookmark:
The "id" attribute assigns an identifier to the associated element. This identifier must be unique in the document and can be used to refer to that element in other instances (e.g., from client-side scripts).
The "class" attribute assigns a class name (or a list of class names separated by spaces) to the container element. It is used together with style sheets and tells the browser the class (or classes) to which the element is associated.
A class gives presentational attributes to elements (read more at the Cascading Style Sheets tutorial).
This attribute is used to define presentational attributes for the containing element, and its value should be composed by style sheets properties. Although in some cases it can become useful, a better practice is to place presentational attributes in external files, relating them to elements with the "class" attribute. This way you keep the semantic and presentational parts of your document separated.
You can find more information about presentational attributes at the Cascading Style Sheets tutorial.
The purpose of this attribute is to provide a title for the element. Its value should be a short and accurate description of the element. Browsers usually render it as a "tool tip" when the user puts the mouse pointer over the element for a short period of time.
Specifies the language of an element's content. The default value is "unknown".
When writing XHTML 1.0 documents, the attribute used to specify the language of an elements is "xml:lang". For forward and backward compatibility both attributes can be used simultaneously, as in the example below. Note that in XHTML 1.1 the "lang" attribute has been completely replaced by "xml:lang" and its use is no longer valid.
This attribute indicates the direction in which the texts of the element must be read. This includes content, attribute values and tables. It has two possible values that are case-insensitive:
Specifies the character encoding of the destination document. For more information on how to fill this attribute, refer to the character encodings reference.
The "href" attribute specifies the destination resource to which the element is linked. It may specify a resource in the same website or in an external one.
States the language the destination document is written in. This attribute may only be used when the "href" attribute is present in the element.
This attribute provides information about the content type of the destination resource, telling wether it's an HTML document, a JPG image, an Excel document, etc. Its value should be one of the MIME types.
Describes the relationship that keeps the current document with the destination resource. In other words (more specific), it states the meaning of the referred resource for the actual document.
Establishes a relationship between the destination resource and the current document. In other words (more specific), it states what the actual document represents for the referred resource.
Specifies the form of a shape used to define an area in an image map. Values are case-insensitive and must correspond to the ones in this list:
Specifies the coordinates and position of the shape defined in the "shape" attribute. The coordinates depend on the shape used:
Coordinates are relative to the top-left corner of the associated object. Coordinates have a length type and are separated by commas.
Specifies the name of the frame where the destination document should be loaded. Refer to the frame-target type definition for further information.
Specifies the position of this element in the tabbing order. The tabbing order defines a sequence with all the elements than can receive the focus. Users can navigate this sequence via keyboard (usually with the "tab" key).
Relates the element to a character key. Most browsers allow users to access the element by pressing that key while holding down the "alt" key. The activation result depends on the element's nature. For links, this action automatically follows the link, while other elements simply get the focus.
Defines a unique name for the element used to set bookmarks on a page.
In XHTML 1.0 the "name" attribute for this element has been deprecated in favor of the "id" attribute and in XHTML 1.1 it's simply invalid. Still, bookmarks without the "name" attribute may not be backward compatible, so unless you're writing XHTML 1.1, the best practice is to use both attributes with the same value.
See a complete list and information about events in HTML
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