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Technique Reducing The Need For In-Your-Face URLs

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 02:11:19 -0000
Message-ID: <008501c080f4$43d54600$9fa789d4@z5n9x1>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I had been puzzling over this for quite some time, and finally figured it
out (thanks to CSS3).

Summary: Using in your face URL's is bad practise, c.f. Dan Connolly's rant
on this subject [1]. Note that DanC originally cited TimBL's discussion
about not showing the mechanisms of WWW systems [2]. The best argument for
using in-your-face-URL's was that people printing the documents out might
require the links to be shown; good point. While this is still impossible
to achieve on most older browsers, newer CSS compliant ones can utilise a
handy hackaround.

Details: Another (pre-Web) DanC citation in the same thread was:-

       "Hard-Copy Print Options to Show Addresses of Objects and
       Address Specification of Links" [3]

Well, CSS provides options for paged media via the "@media print" facility.
Therefore, crossing this with the new CSS3 display of markup capabilities,
you get possibilities such as the following:-

     @media print {
     a:after { content: " [URI: "attr(href)" ("attr(title ")]. " }

Which will (theoretically) display the href and title attributes after any
HyperLink (see [EXAMPLE]). You could set up a similar system for aural
browsers as well, whereby you might want the browser to read out the URI
and/or title of a link.

I hope that this discussion will not find the bit bucket: when DanC
originally brought this up it seemed to have very little impact indeed,
which is a shame because it is a fairly valuable point. I, for one, always
used to use in-your-face URL's until it was pointed out to me that this
goes against a core Web idiom :-)

[EXAMPLE] The following:-

For more information, see the _W3C_ homepage.


For more information, see the W3C [URI: http://www.w3.org/ (World Wide Web
Consortium)] homepage.

when printed out.

   - in-your-face URLs: please don't. Dan Connolly, 1999
[2] http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/NoMechanics
   - Hypertext Style Guide. TimBL, 1992,93,94,95
[3] http://www.bootstrap.org/augment-132082.htm#11L
   - Engelbart, June 1990

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://infomesh.net/2001/01/n3terms/#> .
[ :name "Sean B. Palmer" ] has :homepage <http://infomesh.net/sbp/> .
Received on Wednesday, 17 January 2001 21:13:51 UTC

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