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Re: lynx-dev hidden links

From: pAb-032871
Subject: Re: lynx-dev hidden links
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 04:50:53 -0700

In "Re: lynx-dev hidden links"
[19/Jun/2000 Mon 15:01:41]
address@hidden wrote:

> On Mon, 19 Jun 2000, Klaus Weide wrote:
> >No, I don't _know_ why any given hyperlink is coded in a way that
> >makes it a "hidden link" to lynx.  But I can make assumptions, based
> >on the specifics of each case.  So far, I have come to the conclusion
> >that nearly all of them are meant to be hidden, or explicitly coded
> >in a way that they won't show up in a non-graphical browser.
> Why would they do this?

Okay, one original example was a link written like this:

<A HREF="URL-1"><IMG SRC="images/button.gif" ALT=""></A>
<BR><A HREF="URL-1">Text-link to the same place.</A>

Now, the empty ALT attribute prevents Lynx from "seeing" this
link in normally rendered HTML.

Why have two separate links to one URL like this instead of just
one with an ALT= string?  I think it's provided for users of graphical
browsers who surf with image-loading off.  Until you load an image,
all ALTs are used as links to the images [so they can be loaded
selectively], even the ones *intended* as links to somewhere else.
This means you can't use an image-link without first loading the
image itself [have I mentioned my *strong* dislike for BloatScape

I think another example was caused by a flaw in an HTML-generating
script: the UK train schedule where the train number would normally
function as a link, but in this case no number was available
to the script.  It resulted in:

<A HREF="something_about_trains.html"> </A>

> I admit I haven't completely followed this discussion..  (If someone wants
> to respond privately, great.)

That's okay.  See above.

> I hadn't known until now whether these "hidden links" were accidental or
> on purpose.  Actually, I guess I still don't know, because it seems like 
> others are still debating the issue.

Well, I can think of a few reasons to hide one link from one kind
of browser and show another.  For example:

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript1.1">
<!-- Begin
document.write("<A HREF='page1_javascript.html'>")
document.write("<IMG SRC='images/button.gif' ALT='Go to This Page'></A>")
// End -->
<A HREF="page1_noscript.html"><IMG SRC="images/button.gif" ALT=""></A>
<BR><A HREF="page1_noimage.html">Text-Only Version</A>

Of course, it would generally be easier to write just one page,
valid and compatible with all browsers, instead of three separate
documents/links.  And the method above is rather cumbersome.

> With the CNN example given, they sound like they're actually useful links
> not links to images.

>From the ?redirect stuff, I would guess they're advertising, but
I have seen examples on Lynx-friendly pages where images serve
as links to themselves:

<A HREF="images/image.jpg"><IMG SRC="images/image.jpg" ALT="Must See..."></A>

So in a text-only browser you can download the image, or see it
in an external viewer [if available] without toggling links-for-inlines.

> I guess I don't see why they're "hidden" in the first place.

In the CNN example, neither do I.  If it is advertising, you have
to assume they *want* you to see these links.


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