The New Lynx

Welcome to the first Tips for Power Users column. This column will (hopefully) provide a resource for experienced users of the Chebucto Community Net. This month's column will deal with some new features of Lynx.

Getting there

As many of you already know, for several months now CCN has been beta-testing new versions of Lynx. These new versions are more configurable and have many minor and major improvements. To become part of the beta-testing group, simply subscribe to the beta-lynx mailing list. If you are currently logged into your CCN account and are browsing through Lynx, this link will subscribe you. You can also send email to majordomo@ccn·cs·dal·ca with no subject line. In the body of the message, put subscribe beta-lynx. The next time that you login after doing either of these procedures, you will be using the new Lynx.

Just a quick note before we continue: The new version of Lynx is in beta testing now, but as soon as documentation for the new features can be written (volunteers are needed!), it will be rolled out for the rest of the CCN users. Also, as it is still in beta, any commands listed here may change.

* Operations Note: With a slip of David Trueman's fingers, the new version of lynx was installed for all users, rather than just those on the beta-lynx list. It was not discovered until several days later, when questions arose about the changes. Since so many users were exposed to it by then, we left it in place.

Unfortunately, the documentation on the changes to CCN's Lynx Version 2.4-FM documentation is not fully prepared, but we're working on it. The beta-lynx mailing list and the beta-lynx archive will remain in existance for future use.

The features

The first two features of Lynx are not new at all, but are very useful and should be mentioned here. If you feel that you are comfortable enough not to need the three- or four-line help menu at the bottom of the screen, go into Lynx Settings by pressing the s key. One option near the bottom of the list, "User Mode", should be changed to Advanced. This will replace the help lines with a single line listing the destination of the currently highlighted link. You'll no longer have to use the backslash key to find the link if you need to know where it will take you. For even more information about the current link and document, press =.

Some of the newest features of Lynx are the most interesting. Pressing * while viewing a document will change all inline images into links so that you can download and view them offline. Pressing l will bring up a page with a listing of all of the links in the current document.

A very useful tool is Weblint, which will check your HTML documents for errors. To run Weblint, go to the file browser and select the HTML file that you want to check. Press f to get the full menu, then select the HTML Check link. This will create a file with the same name as the HTML file, except with an extension of .lint instead of .html. Inside the new file is the output from Weblint, including any errors that you may have made.

Other new options on the Full File Menu include Spell Check, two Convert options and three Compress options. The Convert options convert Macintosh and DOS ASCII text files to UNIX format. There is a difference in the handling of linebreaks between the three operating systems, and these options will rectify the problem. The Compress options will compress a file using the UNIX compress utility, the gzip utility, or the pkzip utility. Selecting a compressed file, such as one that has been tarred and then gzipped, will change these Compress options into one Expand option that will decompress the file, right into a subdirectory of your now-over-quota home directory. The Spell Check option brings up a spell-checker with an internal help facility.

The fixes

That covers many of the major, visible changes. Quite a few of the minor changes were made to improve reliability. For example, to abort a connection or data read from a remote server that is taking too long for your tastes, CTRL + C will almost always safely abort without kicking you off with an "Exiting via interrupt: exit(2)" message. Pressing z will accomplish the same thing, and is probably safer.

The options

A few new options have been added to the Settings Screen (accessed by pressing s in Lynx) to accommodate the new features. The most important of these is the Long Directory option. One of the new features of Lynx is that more information is displayed on the File Browser screen. For example, file size is now displayed. Changing this option to off will disable the new information. An alternative to going through the options screen is to press CTRL + R while at the File Browser.

In the next issue

That's all for now. In the next issue we'll talk about CGI scripts and how you can use them on the Chebucto Community Net.


Chebucto Connections TIPS FOR POWER USERS
is edited by Michael Smith
who is happy to receiveQuestions, Comments or Suggestions.
If your browser does not support mail, write to Michael later at aa529@ccn·cs·dal·ca.

Next Month: September 1995