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lynx-dev Still learning about what Goes Wrong.

From: Martin McCormick
Subject: lynx-dev Still learning about what Goes Wrong.
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 16:24:56 -0500

        This is a copy of a message I posted to another list,
today, so those who are on this list and the Blind-L list can
shoot me, but there may be good answers from both groups hense
the cross posting.

        A number of our web sites at Oklahoma State University
have recently been upgraded and have become just awful as far as
accessibility goes.  A few have not one single link that works
under lynx and I have noticed that every one of them was
generated with Microsoft Frontpage of various versions.

        I thought I had figured out that anything generated with
this software was dead on arrival, but I just got the shock of my
life, yesterday.

        There is a web site operated by one of the Oklahoma City
television stations whose url is

if anybody wants to try it out.  I have always thought it worked
quite well with lynx and I have used it on occasion for several
years to look up things like the Oklahoma City Bombing trial
transcripts and the Starr Report on Bill Clinton's activities as
well as lighter fair.

        I have always been able to read anything on that site
that was text to start with and I always knew what link was
highlighted, etc.  In other words, it works as well as one would
expect a very busy web site to work.

        Curious about what they use to generate their web pages,
I used the lynx -source flag to download the html so I could read

        I was shocked to see that it was generated with Microsoft
Frontpage 2.0 or something like that.

        The problem appears to be that many sites use the
"onclick" javascript mechanism to select links and lynx can
neither understand nor generate responses to javascript.

        Is there some sort of flag or switch in MS Frontpage that
controls whether mouse clicks or some other device is used?

        It seems that a number of sites would probably work quite
well if the older system was used for selecting links.  It is my
understanding that both methods can coexist so there doesn't need
to be a problem.

        The bottom line is that I don't know enough about this
subject to even know what I am looking for, but if we can find
out what it is, it might be possible to head off a lot of trouble
by just telling all the web teams and designers around campus to
be sure to do this or not to do that.

        One non working site was made to work when one of the
programmers gave me another link to the material which bypassed
the home page.  It worked like a charm and I read everything that
was there.

        Another dead site has no alternative link that I know of
so it is still death by javascript for that site.

        Assuming that there is a particular mechanism or the
abuse there of that is involved, does the w3c site say anything
about it?

        Knowing what "it" is would make it easier to search for,

        For the lynx list;  I know, I could read all the code,
but does the client simply transmit the url of the highlighted
link back to the server when one hits Enter?

        On a lot of sites, the real problem is a breakdown of the
ability to read valid links and select one of them.  It is my
understanding that javascript that causes images to move and does
similar graphical things is totally ignored by lynx so it does
not hurt anything.  It is what is missing that breaks

Martin McCormick

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