LINK Navigation

Now I know I just gushed about Opera, but I just found another reason why Mozilla kicks butt. Back in the day a number of link types that could be used by user-agents in an additional navigation bar or pre-cache some elements “to reduce the perceived load time.” Cool, eh? There are a number of possible applications in the blog format that lend themselves well to this, and I’ve tried to put as many as possible here. Viewing the source or visiting in Mozilla is the best way to get a feel for what’s happening and how neat the application is, but some descriptions are in order nonetheless. I don’t know the default setting for the “Site Navigation Bar” is for Mozilla, but to make sure it’s on go “View > Show/Hide > Site Navigation Bar > Show Only As Needed” to make sure you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

First, it was very tricky hard to get this all working with my current setup; whenever I try something new here my immediate thought to how it can be integrated into WordPress, but the steps I had to take were so convoluted that I doubt that any of this will make it into the next release. Anyway the first useful link that came to mind would be “bookmark,” something I specify the rel attribute on my permalink tags but no current browser picks up. So for example the bookmark link for this entry would be like so:

<link rel="bookmark" href="/p620" title="LINK Navigation" />

For any index, individual, archive, or category page you look at on the journal part of this site there will be a set of bookmark links to each of the entries on the page. I have created similar links for commenting and trackbacking entries, that personally I’ve found to be an extremely efficient way to get around. Check under your “More” menu in Mozilla to see it all. Mozilla also links nicely to the alternative representations of the content, such as RSS, and though it links to the same resources on each page it really should link to the specific representation of only the content on the current page, so for example the comments page could link to its unique RSS 2 feed.

Then some basic navigation elements were in order. The logic of these should be apparent from the code, but there is a link pointing to the top page of this site, a link to the search page, the FAQ, information about myself, and finally copyright information. When you are browsing a single entry you are offered links to the previous and next entry, as well as to the very first entry. This could be expanded once date-based archives are available to allow you to browse from month to month or day to day. Once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever navigated any other way.

Finally I set the categories to be “sections,” though I’m not sure if I’m entirely comfortable with this. If you envision all of the text of this blog as a document, then the “index” could be the front page, but after that it’s open for interpretation. Should categories be sections or chapters? Could chapters be say, month-based archives? What if I wanted some arbitrary division of chapters, say by whatever relationship I was in at the time? Sub-sections seem ill-defined as you can’t seem to define several sub-sections as a child of a section, though I may simply need to explore this further. Also I am feeling slightly constrained by the software I use to manage everything, but it would be fascinating to see how someone without those constraints such as Tantek could do with his structure. Ideally some common set of relationships specific to the organization of a weblog—much like the goal of the Weblog Metadata Initiative (where’d they go?)—could be agreed upon and implemented by default by the authors of the most common software and templates. Several people already implement a bit of this already, for example Mark, but there is a lot of unrealized potential here.

Opera is able to use all of the standard defined links, but doesn’t catch any of the extra ones. IE of course is oblivious to it all. Mozilla gets everything. If you have any information on other browsers let me know. I should be defining the extra rel attributes in a profile document, but there are only a few hours left before I’m supposed to “wake up” for my classes tomorrow, so some sleep may be in order.