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2004-08-21

Can Lynx be used today?

There was a post earlier this month on the Lynx-dev mailing list asking whether Lynx was obsolete in this age of Flash, JavaScript and streaming-video. It is not.

I’ve been working on a project for the last few days, converting a great deal of flat text (approx. 2MB) to hyperlinked, standards-compliant, accessible HTML. I’ve been doing this by hand, and if it weren’t for recording with Vim, I think it would be near impossible. This colossal text file has an abundance of tabular data and I have been using Lynx to check my markup periodically. If you think Lynx is a dead browser, you’ve another thing coming, it’s still being developed approaching the 2.9 release. In the tests I’ve done these few days with newer HTML 4.0 table elements such as thead, tbody and colgroup - Lynx, a text-based browser, has done a better job rendering these standards-compliant tables than Firefox!

The inevitable coming of the Semantic Web will be a boon for Lynx. Not only is Lynx not obsolete, I think it’s most glorious days are ahead of it. Need proof? Fire up Lynx and visit any blog, visit my site for certain, but for a real treat visit the new Chevrolet web site. That’s not a text-version, or even a special version for text browsers - it’s just a regular standards-compliant site rendered without the associated style sheet. Beautiful.