A crude LYNX tutorial

Kevin Cole
Gallaudet Research Institute
Copyright © December 23, 1993

[Note: This tutorial is meant to be viewed from within Lynx. Otherwise the instructions won't make a whole lot of sense.]

Right now, you are using a type of program known as a World Wide Web (WWW) browser. This program, Lynx, was created by folks at the University of Kansas and is used to view a special kind of file known as a HyperText Markup Language (HTML) file. The HTML file currently being displayed on the screen, as well as several others you will encounter, was written by me and resides on the Gallaudet VAX computer, in my directory. Using Lynx, you can also reach files on computers worldwide.

Moving up and down within a document is accomplished with the <SPACE> bar to go down (forward) one screen, or the letter "b" for backwards (up) one screen. DON'T use the arrow keys to do this. They have a special purpose, as described below.

When you use the <UP> or <DOWN> arrows, the next highlighted section of the text is "selected". It looks as though it is "blocked" in the same way that Word Perfect blocks text. Once you have selected a particular word or phrase, striking either <RIGHT> arrow or the <RETURN> will connect you to another section, file, or service. It "links" to the next file in the chain. To come back to the previous link (whatever you were viewing before striking the <RIGHT> arrow), type <LEFT> arrow.

Do not think of these arrows as being "down", "up", "right" and "left". Think of them as "forward", "backwards", "connect into next link", and "return out to previous link", respectively. Later on in this tutorial, you will see three links side-by-side (in the section about pointing to other people's directories). A <RIGHT> arrow will NOT select the next link to the right. It will cause you to connect to the link that is currently selected. A <DOWN> arrow, on the other hand, will select the link to the right of the first link in the paragraph. A bit confusing at first, but I think you'll see what I mean if you read and try the suggestions given here.

For example, move the cursor to the highlighted text at the end of the next sentence, (using the <DOWN> arrow) and strike <RIGHT> arrow. This will connect you to yet another file on the VAX. (If the text is already selected, you don't need to use the <DOWN> arrow. Just use the <RIGHT> arrow or <RETURN>.)

Striking the <RIGHT> arrow when this is selected, will send you to a file on a computer located at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland -- the birthplace of the World Wide Web (WWW). That document will provide you with a more official definition, description and history of the WWW project. To get a more official definiton of the Lynx, from the University of Kansas, hit the <RIGHT> arrow while this is selected.

If you have a PC with an Ethernet board installed, you could obtain the Mosaic software package, and use it to browse through the files you see here. However, with Mosaic some of the highlighted words you see (particularly, anywhere you see the text [IMAGE]), would be displayed as pictures, some as movies, and still others would play sound files (including voice interviews, music, and special sound effects).

You can even use Lynx (or Mosaic, or Netscape) to connect to a file on my IBM PC. Note: The PC file is *USUALLY* available. I am running a program known as a server on the PC which "listens" for incoming requests. The PC file, (also written by yours truly) is in turn, linked to other files throughout the Internet. (You should very quickly see why it's called the Web.)

You can also use Lynx to point to files in other people's directories on the VAX. For example, the introductory page that you were viewing before entering this tutorial, -- commonly referred to as the "home" page -- has files from me, Tom Allen, and Scott Rust

Once you reach a document that interests you, there is no need to remember how you got there. Lynx provides a "bookmark" feature, that allows users to keep a list of their favorite haunts. While looking at something interesting on the screen, type "a" (for "add"). Lynx will respond by asking you if you wish to save the Document, save the Link or Cancel. Typing "d" will save a pointer to the current document being displayed on the screen. Typing "l" saves a pointer to whatever your cursor is currently highlighting -- i.e. where you would end up NEXT if you hit a <RETURN> or <RIGHT> arrow. And, "c" as you probably guessed, cancels the command.

Typing "v" (for "view") calls up a list of all your bookmarks. You can then move the cursor to anything in your list and go directly to that document.

Thanks to Peter Un, and the other folks in Gallaudet University Computer Services, other universities running Lynx or Mosaic (or some other browser) can now link into these files that I and others have created. You can create your very own documents, contributing to what is available in the web. This should be of particular interest to anyone who wants to publish his or her work electronically, on an international scale.

Strike a <LEFT> arrow, now to go back to the "home" page, and explore further. Or, strike the <SPACE> to go on to more technical info.

Where to learn more:

The information provided below can get rather technical, but some of it will tell you how to create your own documents like this one. In particular, if you are interested in producing doucments like these, pay attention to anything about HTML's and URL's. It takes about 2 or 3 hours to get really good at creating these files. Not much time, considering what you probably have invested in learning WordPerfect, or whatever.

(Wizards among you might want to check out the advanced tutorials.)