Nice webpages for Lynx

by Hartmut Frommert

dedicated to the benefit of all frequent Lynx users
and in particular to Christine Kronberg,
whose appreciated cooperation in many projects brought up and made both of us care on the stuff presented here

Please email me additions, comments and corrections to this page !
Lynx is famous as a fast textmode webbrowser which runs nicely in environments where all those "more advanced" graphical browsers cannot be used - it is available for most platforms starting even from vt 100 emulations and runs in places where no other browser is available.

As it supports only textmode, it is also faster, just ignoring large inline and background graphics, audio and animation playarounds etc. Therefore, some people with slow connections will prefer this program over their other options in many cases.

Many modern webpages are only written for hypermodern browsers and - if at all - are poorly readable and little informative if viewed with Lynx, not to speak of functionality. Not only Lynx users, but also those who have less modern versions of graphical browsers, have no use of these webpages. Some authors will never care of this and thus their services are useless for, and will be ignored by, a wide potential readership. This must not be, if authors do a little extra effort to take care that their work looks nice or at least readable under Lynx also.

IMG images in Lynx

Lynx, as a text browser, will not and is not able to represent any graphical inline images. By default, Lynx is representing them by the text "[INLINE]", or in case they are linked to image maps by either "[ISMAP]" or "[USEMAP]" (depending on the method used) - which are then linked to lists of the possible links in the image maps. These texts aren't just informative, and therefore I'd recommend to provide some image description in the "alt=" attribute of the "<img>" tag.

Moreover, you should have in mind that the Lynx user cannot see your image inline, but can download images which are linked via '<a href="">'. Therefore, it can be recommended to link each image, if not anyway linked to somewhere, onto itself so that the user can download it and view it with an external viewer (many versions of Lynx are configurable to display images in an external viewer just on download). So instead of '<img src="mypic.jpg">', it is recommended to write into the html something like one of the following:

<a href="mypic.jpg"><img src="mypic.jpg" alt="[mypic.jpg]"></a>
<a href="mypic.jpg"><img src="mypic.jpg" alt="[My Picture]"></a>
<a href="mypic.jpg"><img src="mypic.jpg" alt="[mypic.jpg (15k)]"></a>
<a href="mypic.jpg"><img src="mypic.jpg" alt="[My Picture (15k jpg)]"></a>
depending on how much and what kind of info you want to provide. Additional attributes of both the tags "<img>" (such as "align=") and "<a>" (such as "name=") can still be used without conflicting anyway - of course many of the attributes to the "<img>" tag will be ignored by non-graphical Lynx, but work as desired in other browsers (hopefully). Btw, if linked but the "alt=" attribute is missing, Lynx will write the little informative text "[IMAGE]" in the displayed page.

In some cases, it is not useful to have a small decorative image for graphic browsers displayed at all in Lynx; this is achieved by adding the 'alt=""' attribute with value "" (empty string) as written, i.e. '<img src="mypic.jpg" alt="">'.

Tables in Lynx

The version of Lynx I presently use cannot represent tables, i.e. ignores the "<table>" tag together with the "<tr>", "<th>", "<td>" and their end tags. Therefore, without taking care, your table will be represented as floating text in lynx.

The easiest workaround for Lynx and some other browsers would be to include the whole table in a "<pre>" environment, but this conflicts at least with some versions of Netscape and thus can be waived. The workaround which can be proposed (and is often applied) is a bit more work-intense and doesn't look as fine in Lynx, but to my knowledge doesn't conflict with other browsers:

Frames, applets, scripting and all that

Some more Caveats

Lynx Extras

Lynx provides a number of decent extras not provided by all other browsers:


Hartmut Frommert [contact]