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Browsing the Web with HyperLink

HyperLink's online mode

HyperLink seamlessly switches between online and offline modes. When you click on a link that points to a file on the current disk, or back up or use the history screen to back up to a file on the current disk, or click the open icon and enter a filename (registered users only), HyperLink shifts to offline mode. When you click on a link that points to a Web page, or back up or use the history screen to back up to a Web URL, or click the open icon and enter a Web URL (registered users only), HyperLink shifts to online mode. Gopher URLs also automatically enable online mode (see Browsing Gopherspace with HyperLink).

Online documents are not permitted the same operations as offline documents. Online documents can never install machine language subroutines or access memory, so the CTRL-K combination is not needed for the Web. Online documents may display I3-format inline images, but they must already be on the disk in the primary disk drive (for this reason, most images are displayed by themselves). Also, the help, home and about icons still reference files on the disk in the primary disk drive, not anything online.

The first time HyperLink switches to online mode in a session, it must connect to your Internet service provider. You will be placed in terminal mode. The terminal program is a dumb 40-column terminal (no VT100 support) and is designed to allow you to send AT commands and/or log into your ISP.

If you have a null modem connection to a Unix server, log into your server in the manner you have the connection configured through your RS-232 interface.

If you use a modem to connect to your service provider, then you will need to use AT commands to dial into your ISP; for example, to dial the phone number 555-1212, you might type "ATDT 5551212" (without the quotes). Follow your Internet service provider's instructions to dial your ISP, then log into your shell and get to your shell prompt. Contact your ISP if you need help with this step.

Make sure you are in the directory in which you installed HLPP; if this was your home directory, type cd to make sure you are in the right place.

Start HLPP by typing hlpp at the shell prompt. If this doesn't work, try  ./hlpp by itself with a leading period and slash. HLPP will run a brief self-test and find the utilities it requires, and then prompt you to press F1 to tell HyperLink that the proxy is ready. When you see this message, press F1, and then press F1 to indicate to HyperLink that the connection was successful (if you encounter an error, press F7 instead and try again from the beginning). You are now connected to the Internet, and when HyperLink encounters a Web URL, it will automatically request the page from your Internet service provider. To check your connection status at any time, press the = (equals sign) key to view your current location and history. Your Internet connection status will also be shown.

While web pages and images are downloading, a transmission icon appears in the lower left. This icon will display a pattern of flashes or lines while data is being downloaded. Normally, it should alternately show green and black while data is being transmitted. Flashes of pink indicate corrupt data and may be signs of a bad connection. Whenever the transmission icon is showing, you can press CTRL-COMMODORE at any time to break the link and display what portion of the picture or image has been transmitted so far. This is also useful if your connection seems to be "stuck" due to line noise. When the web page has been completely transferred (or you break the connection), it will be displayed. (Please note that incomplete pages may be saved in your cache. Use CTRL-R to reload them later.)

HLPP operation over the Web

HLPP is a general purpose Internet proxy and offers multiple Internet access protocols. This information below applies specifically to World Wide Web access.

HyperLink can view any LinkScript document directly -- since this involves no conversion, this is the best approach. Documents with a MIME type of application/x-hyperlink are forwarded on to HyperLink without any further modification (except to strip active content from them, which is never allowed when HyperLink is in online mode).

However, because HyperLink does not interpret HTML or .JPG/.GIF/.TIF images directly, it relies on HLPP to translate these files into LinkScript and hi-res images on its behalf. Thus, web pages and images may look different in HyperLink than they do in other web browsers. Here are the key differences.

HyperLink also supports WAP/WML mobile Internet-style pages served over HTTP. These pages are often much smaller and faster to download, and are specifically designed for low-power text clients like HyperLink. Please note that many WML features are not supported, including ECMAScript and forms, but the majority of features, including WBMP images, are. These pages look to HyperLink like any other web page.

HLPP offers various options you can use to control how it translates HTML and WML pages into LinkScript. The <HLPP settings> link on the top upper right of each page displayed takes you to its control panel, where you can adjust the settings. The BODY colours option controls whether HLPP tries to use the document's colours or its internal set (fonts that are displayed in different colours still are -- this only controls global settings). If you don't like the way HLPP selects colours, click this to toggle it on or off. The images option controls whether you receive the <View image> and <File options> options on every image. If this is annoying on particularly image-heavy pages, you can turn these off (and since it makes pages smaller, it will help fit more of the page into memory and reduce download time as well). Click Go back to the previous page to resume with your new settings. Note that old pages still in your cache might have to be refreshed with CTRL-R.

<HLPP settings> does not affect LinkScript pages that HLPP does not translate. Thus, LinkScript pages can always use their own colours and images (it is assumed the page is tested on LinkScript and works appropriately).

Terminal mode

While you're connected to the Internet, the F4 key is also enabled. Pressing F4 drops you into terminal mode and gives you your shell prompt again. At this point, you can use the terminal to do file maintenance or send Unix shell commands to your server. You can either log out of your server and shut down your Internet connection at this point, or restart HLPP and resume browsing the Web. To log out of your server, log off your account and disconnect from your server following your Internet service provier's instructions. To resume browsing instead, simply restart HLPP as you started it originally. Either way, press F1 when ready, and press F1 again to stay online or F7 to signal HyperLink that you have disconnected. If you remain online, HyperLink returns you to the exact spot in your document where you were. If you disconnect, HyperLink will send you to the home script on the disk in the primary disk drive as if you had clicked the home icon. (Speaking of which, clicking the home icon or pressing F5 while online clears your history and your cache, but you remain connected.)

The terminal program is not designed for sophisticated tasks, but it does allow you to send some control characters and do commands that don't require terminal emulation. In terminal mode, the DEL key sends BS (ASCII 8); SHIFT-DEL (INS) sends DEL (ASCII 127); and RETURN sends LF (ASCII 10). To send ESC, type CTRL-[. To send TAB, press CTRL-I. Use <- (the back arrow key at the upper left) for an underscore, the English pound sign for backslash, and shift-+ for a pipe symbol. Most CTRL-key combinations are enabled. If you appear to be getting junk displayed to your screen, try setting your terminal type to dumb following the instructions of your Internet service provider.

Downloading programs and files

When you click on a link that points to a program, a software archive, or some other file that HyperLink can't display on screen, it will instead tell you about the file and give you the option of downloading it. You can download any file up to 1MB in size. When you click the option allowing you to download the file, it will prompt you for a filename. Insert a disk into the primary disk drive to hold the file, if needed, and then enter a valid filename. The file will then be downloaded to disk. Follow the prompts on screen, if any. When the download is complete, you will be returned to the exact spot in your document where you were.

If you need to switch partitions or clear off space, remember to use the built-in DOS wedge beforehand. (The wedge is accessed using the @ [at] key.)

While online, you can also access files on your shell server. (Because this involves entering a URL directly, this is only available to registered users.) For example, say your home directory on your server is /home/myaccount and you have saved a file mypicture.jpg in that directory. Press F3 or click the open icon, and type http://localfile followed by the absolute path to the file (in our case, http://localfile/home/myaccount/mypicture.jpg). HyperLink will access the file and either display it, or present you with options to view and/or download it to your computer. Please note that the extension is critical. If HyperLink cannot find a file extension, or the extension isn't recognised by HyperLink, you can only download it and can't view it. Likewise, an incorrect file extension might confuse HyperLink and cause it to present inappropriate options that might not work properly on the file.

Tips for faster Web browsing