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Re: lynx-dev hidden links

From: Klaus Weide
Subject: Re: lynx-dev hidden links
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 12:15:08 -0500 (CDT)

On Fri, 16 Jun 2000, Philip Webb wrote:

> PW>  -hiddenlinks  is not mentioned in Users Guide.


> further thoughts:
> what is the criterion for Lynx to treat a link as hidden?

There is some explanantion in lynx_help/keystrokes/follow_help.html,
including some form of rationale.  Feel free to add links to that
from the main Users GUide page, or to try to make it more understandable.

Another (perhaps more technical) attempt at a definition:
A link is regarded as "hidden" if, after everything lynx usually
does to process link anchors, its anchor text is empty.
"What lynx usually does" includes stripping of leading/trailing
blanks (from the _anchor text_ - not necessary from the document
text), even those that originated from a  .

> what was the rationale for introducing this feature into Lynx?
> does it still have any usefulness a/a `merging' all such links?

Here's some history (s you're not doomed to repeat it...).
Feel free to check the archives and/or CHANGES* files for details.
Originally, -hiddenlinks=merge was the normal and only available
behavior.  (That's more-or-less - it may not have acted like current
lynx with -hiddenlinks=merge in all respects and all situations; the
"hidden links" terminology had not yet been invented.)
Then came a time when FM was maintaining his 'FOTEMODS' code, while some
other folks (including TD and me) were working on separate development
code.  FM made a series of change that introduced the -hiddenlinks=
listonly behavior (but without a flag or other means to turn off the
change).  Some folks (at least Laura E., me) didn't like the new
behavior.  So I added the -hiddenlinks command line option, so that
one could turn it off.  The default was (and is) -hiddenlinks=listonly,
'cause I didn't see a point in deviating from FM's code too much by
default, and, after all, only few people had expressed an interest in
maintaining the previous behavior.

After that, not much more was heard from lynx users on the topic.

> shouldn't there be an item in  lynx.cfg  or Options to handle these cases?

Feel free to make those changes, or else lobby for them...  They should be
straightforward (just a variable with three values - no special interaction
with other settings that would complicate things, afaik.)

Personally, I'm not very keen to reopen this debate, or make changes.
Just one Web site that does weird things isn't enough to establish
a need.  quoting from Alan Flavell's original message,
| While we would probably all agree that a web site would be unwise to
| do this, nevertheless it does happen.
Note the first part - he agrees that sites shouldn't do that.

> it does work as KW suggests (of course, smile),
> but ONLY if you  g  to the link number:
> you can't use arrow keys to navigate to the link.
> Lynx could very easily create a dummy link name for these cases.

It could, but not "very easily".  There are various places in the
code where a link may become (or may be detected to be) empty.
And, after all, _usually_ those links are _meant to be_ hidden;
that's the underlying assumption, no-one has really disputed it.


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