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9.6. The <button> Tag

As we described earlier, you create an action button with traditional HTML or XHTML by including its type value in the standard <input> tag. For instance, the <input type=submit> form control creates a button that, when selected by the user, tells the browser to send the form's contents to the processing server or to an email address (mailto option). Display-wise, you don't have any direct control over what that submit button looks like, beyond changing the default label "Submit" to some other word or short phrase like "Hit me" or "Outta here!"

First introduced in the HTML 4.0 standard, the <button> tag acts the same as the <input> button, but gives you more control over how the element gets displayed by the browser. In particular, all of the attributes you might use with the <input type=button> element are acceptable with the <button> tag.

<button>

Function:

Create a button element within a form

Attributes:

ACCESSKEY

ONKEYDOWN

CLASS

ONKEYPRESS

DIR

ONKEYUP

DISABLED

ONMOUSEDOWN

ID

ONMOUSEMOVE

LANG

ONMOUSEOUT

NAME

ONMOUSEUP

NOTAB

STYLE

ONMOUSEOVER

TABINDEX

ONBLUR

TABORDER

ONCLICK

TITLE

ONDBLCLICK

TYPE

ONFOCUS

VALUE

End tag:

</button>; never omitted

Contains:

button_content

Used in:

form_content

9.6.1. The <button> button

Neither the HTML 4 nor the XHTML standard is overly clear as to what display enhancements to a form button control the <button> element should provide, other than to suggest that the contents should be 3D and visually appear to react like a push button when selected by the user; that is, go in and back out when pressed. Internet Explorer Version 5 and Netscape Version 6 support <button>.

The <button> control does provide for a greater variety and richer contents over its <input> analogues. Everything between the <button> and </button> tags becomes the content of the button, including any acceptable body content, such as text or multimedia. For instance, you could include an image and related text within a button, creating attractive labelled icons in your buttons. The only verboten element is an image map, since its mouse- and keyboard-sensitive actions interfere with the form button.



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