[links-list] Re: development ideas

bulia byak bulia at dr.com
Fri Nov 1 12:14:52 PST 2002

> That sounds sensible, only someone would have to implement the typeahead thing
> itself first ;-). Takers and especially resulting patches welcomed.

I'm sure this is not too difficult, but I'm not a programmer...

> > This is great, but still, Mozilla can fill in the completion without pressing
> > anything, which is more convenient in my opinion... It's a minor issue, but
> > why not try to make the interface as streamlined as possible.
> Well, the text interface has completely different feel anyway, and I believe
> that such a behaviour would be at least confusing. Obviously, you can convience
> me about the contrary, but you should prove it by showing me patch doing this,
> so that I can judge by myself ;-).

Actually, for it to not be confusing, the concept of selection must be implemented. I.e. part of a text in an input field uses a different visual presentation (e.g. inversed), may be replaced by a key you press, etc. This is something familiar to most users, and I don't see why the same concept cannot be implemented in a text-only interface. If this is implemented, then implementing autocompletion becomes straightforward and not confusing.

> Try to change document.browse.links.number_keys_select_link to zero - then,
> write number of the link and 'l'. But it's just different look'n'feel anyway,
> oh and obviously plus ability to use the numbers as repeat counts as well ;-).
> Your proposed solution discriminates those who are used to just select the
> links, as they will have to press <arrowdown><arrowdown><enter> instead of just
> <enter> now.

An even better solution would be, again, using incremental search. This means no "go to link" dialog at all - you start typing the number and it jumps to the first link whose number coincides with what you've typed so far. Then, those who need links selected, won't need to press Enter at all, and those who want to follow a link will press Enter only once. In my opinion, Mozilla-like type-ahead find is still more convenient (and you don't need to clutter the screen with all those numbers), but the proposed incremental numbered link selection will have its uses as well. For example, when there are dozens of links on the page all saying "click here", using numbers is obviously preferable to type-ahead find. However, ideally both modes should be available, and both should work incrementally without any dialog boxes.

Another idea: now the links are numbered within document. Would it be too difficult to optionally renumber then on each screen redraw, so that only the _visible_ links are numbered? The result would be smaller numbers, i.e. less clutter on screen and less keystrokes to get to a link. I think nobody uses numbers to go to links whose numbers cannot be seen on the visible portion of the page - or am I wrong? 
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