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visible named anchors

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Where <a name="..."> occurs in HTML, the browser should (optionally) insert a small, unobtrusive icon. The icon represents the full URL of the named anchor, which can be dragged into Favorites, copied into an e-mail message, posted on the Halfbakery, etc...

(I am *not* talking about links. Yes, you can copy links. I'm talking about named anchors -- those things you can go to with '#foo', but which are normally invisible. I also don't mean that the icon is some sort of ideographic symbol, merely a placeholder. Annotations which misunderstand the idea deleted.)

egnor, May 14 2001

What it might look like. http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/21.40.html
This is an issue of RISKS Digest. The small red lightning bolt icons next to each article exist only to make the named anchors visible. In this case, the site's author deliberately put the icons there; if this idea were realized, the browser would insert the icons on any site which uses named anchors (and the icon would be consistent across sites). [egnor, May 14 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       [waugsqueke]: That's cute, except that named anchors are frequently empty, so there wouldn't be any green text. Even if there were, you'd still have no way of finding out the actual anchor name. It's conceivable that some CSS2 trickery would help out here.
egnor, May 14 2001, last modified Sep 27 2001
  

       I wouldn't want them (they'd probably be microsoft/netscAOL branded anyway) but I see the use and think that an option is a good thing to have.
st3f, May 14 2001
  

       [st3f]: Why would they be any more "microsoft/netscAOL branded" than any other UI element which the browser uses?
egnor, Sep 27 2001
  

       Egnor: An anchor implies a link that leads to it. Why not copy that link?
StarChaser, Sep 29 2001
  

       Not true. And even if it were, it's not exactly trivial to find the link, even if you somehow knew that it should exist.   

       Suppose I want to link to the named anchor for a particular link on this page. (Surprised that they exist?) Where do I go to copy a link? But if the named anchor were visible, it would be obvious.   

       I don't understand why people don't get this idea. It's really very simple.
egnor, Sep 29 2001
  

       If there isn't a link that leads to it, what's the point of having an anchor?   

       No, I'm not surprised that anchors exist on this page, since all the links on the other pages that link to this contain it...   

       The idea is not difficult to get. The reason you don't accept the ways that people have given you to do what you're asking for is.
StarChaser, Sep 30 2001
  

       I haven't really seen any good suggestions for ways to do what I think egnor wants, SC. None of them help in the common case where there's an empty named anchor (eg. <A NAME="foo"></A>). I don't want to have to view source to find out what name to use to link to a particular part of the document, either.   

       How about a browser option which would cause the names of named anchors to appear in the page's margin at the height to which the window would be scrolled if that named anchor were linked to? That way it wouldn't interfere with the flow and layout of the text.
wiml, Sep 30 2001
  

       I reiterate: "If there isn't a link that leads to it, what's the point of having an anchor?" Or trying to link to it.
StarChaser, Oct 02 2001
  

       StarChaser, it could help in bookmarking - instead of splitting pages up into small chucks of html page, you could put it in one big page with cool navigation things, and users could bookmark a bit on the page.   

       Anchors aren't the only tags with names. There may be an advantage (eg debugging someone else's dodgy code) in being able to see the names on all of them. Perhaps they could be displayed as tooltips (like IE does for title attributes).
jabbers, Oct 02 2001
  

       StarChaser, maybe there's a link -- how do you find it? How do you know the anchor's even there? And lots of Web sites sprinkle anchors in all sorts of convenient places but never happen to link to all of them.
egnor, Oct 02 2001
  

       Me, I just use ctrl-F...<shrug>   

       Not much reason for an anchor to be there if there's no link to it. Inept programming.
StarChaser, Oct 06 2001
  

       // Inept programming. //   

       I don't think that's true, SC. It would be good practice to provide anchors for any points in a document that would be reasonable to link to, since the person writing the links may not be in communication with the document's author; this is common.   

       As another example, the vast majority of named anchors on the HalfBakery are probably not linked to, though the reason is a little different.
wiml, Oct 07 2001
  
      
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