Lynx: Dinosaur or Dragster?

A look at one of the first, and still the fastest, WWW browsers

By Danny Green, Contributing Writer,

If someone observes you using a web browser that does not support graphics, you invariably hear, "No pictures! Get something modern!" The truth is, while Lynx may not be cutting edge, it can easily hold its own against anything out there for information retrieval.

The first point that it has going for it is that it is faster than graphic-type browsers for the simple reason that you don't have to wait for graphics to download. This does not mean that you cannot get them, it just means that you get only the ones that you want. A second point is that it is still usable at baud rates as low as 2400! I will grant that it is slow at that speed, however. (A graphic-type interface is almost unusable at any speed less than 14,400.) A third point is that it has become a standard.

This means that once you understand how to use Lynx, you will be able to go into most libraries that offer an internet connection and "cruise the net". Lynx should be offered by most of the commercial providers. I know that it is available on Genie.

This article is not an attempt to "put down" graphic-type interfaces. IBrowse, AWeb, and all of the rest are great! My point is that folks that don't have access to them should not feel left out. Lynx is also a very good Internet tool.

Now that I have expounded on the virtues of Lynx, I am sure that you are just dying to know how to use it! I will cover here the basics of using Lynx. If there is sufficient interest, I will write an article covering it in more detail.

The arrow keys on your keyboard will control most of the action.

The down arrow key will jump from link to link downward in a document, highlighting them as it goes. The up arrow key will do the same going up. The right arrow key will jump to the page that the highlighted link is connected to. The left arrow key will jump to the last link that you jumped from. If a document that you are viewing is longer than the screen, Lynx will print a message on the bottom of the screen telling you to press the spacebar for the next page.

Another important key is the "G" key. If you hit this, Lynx will prompt you to enter the URL to go to (after entering which you press "enter"). If you forget which keys do what, at the bottom of the screen Lynx will display a reminder. If the reminder is not there, hit the "O" key. The "O" key will bring up Lynx's options. There are about eleven options, but the one you need to be concerned with for the moment is the last one "U)ser mode". Hit the "U" key and then the space key to toggle thorough the options. (There are Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced). When it is set for Novice, hit the "S" key, this will save your options. Hit the "R" to return to Lynx.

Well, that's it for this time. During the coming months I will write more articles on using the Internet. If you have a suggestion, send me some EMail.