CSS tweak to display filetypes September 28, 2005 9:58 PM   Subscribe

On noticing this comment, I thought about this comment (cute implementation example here): an easy CSS tweak that would eliminate guesswork about most link filetypes.
posted by Rothko to Feature Requests at 9:58 PM (37 comments total)

From your second link: In either case, it's only gonna work in browsers with a conceptual grasp of the twenty-first century.

Yes, it's easy, but Win+IE users will see no improvement at all. Still, it's a step in the right direction.
posted by mystyk at 10:09 PM on September 28, 2005


I like it a lot, but wonder what is wrong with checking the extension by hovering over the link before clicking it? Are people that trusting that they will click on anything with no thought as to where it is going to take them?

If it ain't broke ...
posted by dg at 10:25 PM on September 28, 2005


Then why warn about PDFs?
posted by soyjoy at 10:43 PM on September 28, 2005


I like it a lot, but wonder what is wrong with checking the extension by hovering over the link before clicking it? Are people that trusting that they will click on anything with no thought as to where it is going to take them?

By default, Safari does not display a status bar that indicates the link or hover information. Which is not to say that this feature request is for Safari users, but again to reinforce that, if knowing the link type is important, this feature would remove much of the guesswork.
posted by Rothko at 10:53 PM on September 28, 2005


I agree with this wholeheartedly, BUT...

there are reasons why we'd still need to make mention within the fpp text, anyway.

For instance: embedded QT in an html page wouldn't alert this markup.

However, I still see this as a step in the right direction and endorse it wholeheartedly.
posted by shmegegge at 11:04 PM on September 28, 2005


Good idea. Not sure how pressing it is, but it's a good idea.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 PM on September 28, 2005


You can do a similar thing using Javascript, which would work in any browser (with JS enabled), and the background image approach the second link dismisses.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:17 AM on September 29, 2005


I'd start work on a Greasemonkey script, but then I remembered that there's the Target Alert extension for those who can't or (won't) use their status bar.
posted by Plutor at 2:50 AM on September 29, 2005


How hard is it for Safari users to press Command-/ ?
posted by cillit bang at 4:53 AM on September 29, 2005


How hard is it for Safari users to press Command-/ ?

Why do you have such strong opposition to this?
posted by kyle at 6:19 AM on September 29, 2005


Kyle, why are you so mad about the cups?
posted by Plutor at 6:22 AM on September 29, 2005


One vote for a text-only front page.
posted by eddydamascene at 6:36 AM on September 29, 2005


I like it a lot, but wonder what is wrong with checking the extension by hovering over the link before clicking it?

Sometimes, URLs are too long to see in their entirety in the status bar, and with the extension at the very end, there have been plenty of times I've been "ambushed" by a PDF. And then there are links that aren't directly to a file, but rather to a redirect to a PDF/other file.

And don't get me started in sites that have pages with one extension (say, .TXT) and then return an entirely different filetype (say, a whole HTML page).
posted by Godbert at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2005


Seconding text-only.
posted by odinsdream at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2005


And then there are links that aren't directly to a file, but rather to a redirect to a PDF/other file.

Which, of course, this CSS would not understand, and would classify incorrectly.
posted by odinsdream at 6:51 AM on September 29, 2005


Thus it seems the answer is not to seek technical solutions so much as for front-page posters to simply use common sense and courtesy in constructing their posts.

Why is that such a controversial notion?
posted by soyjoy at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2005


text only meaning no one could link to movies like this one? or pdfs at all?

definitely a vote against a text only front page if that's what it means.
posted by shmegegge at 7:13 AM on September 29, 2005


(I believe eddydamascene meant no images ON the front page)
posted by raedyn at 7:31 AM on September 29, 2005


Why do you have such strong opposition to this?

I don't. I just think the lack of a status bar in Safari argument is spurious when it can be turned on so easily.
posted by cillit bang at 7:37 AM on September 29, 2005


What raedyn said. Something decidedly farkish/bb-ish about inline images scattered among the text of the front page. Shades of emoticons. I don't like that idea, despite the good intentions of the initial suggestion.
posted by cortex at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2005


Correct answer, have a biscuit.
posted by NinjaPirate at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2005


text-only refers to the front page, and its content, not what it links to. Mandating that the front page only link to text would be dumb.
posted by odinsdream at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2005


Why is that such a controversial notion?
posted by soyjoy at 7:12 AM PST on September 29 [!]


What's controversial about what I suggested? I'm not keeping people from displaying common sense and courtesy, but I don't hold my breath and expect it, either. Is that a controversial notion?
posted by Rothko at 9:02 AM on September 29, 2005


What's controversial about what I suggested?

It makes a fundamental change (however minor or sparsely used) to the apparent design philosophy of the front page. You're SUBVERTING THE DOMINANT PARADIGM, man.

The fact that it wouldn't deal with a number of common occurances (redirects, embedded media) makes it even less appealing -- we'll have this new Utility on the front page that is eye catching (bad, IMHO) and which will not actually necessarily work, which will lead to bitching about how the new content-type-tagging Utility is broken, etc (very bad, IMHO).

I don't have a lot of confidence that the new wrinkles introduced by this would be worth the benefits.
posted by cortex at 9:47 AM on September 29, 2005


Well shit, since I can't post in the Creeley thread ...

"Routines cannot be declared more than once!!!!"

Old Story

Like kid on float
of ice block sinking
in pond the field had made
from winter's melting snow

so wisdom accumulated
to disintegrate
in conduits of brain
in neural circuits faded

while gloomy muscles shrank
mind padded the paths
its thought had wrought
its habits had created

till like kid afloat
on ice block broken
on or inside the thing it stood
or was forsaken.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:13 AM on September 29, 2005


The intention of your idea is good, Rothko. But as outlined by several posters here, I think in practice the implementation would be less-than-ideal.
posted by raedyn at 11:05 AM on September 29, 2005


Those enlightened beings using FireFox can install the target alert extension and have this functionality today. I've been using it for a while and love it almost as much as flashblock.
posted by Mitheral at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2005


Stupid question: Why are (some) people so averse to opening .pdf files?

Wild speculation: They're likely huge files that give dial up connections a headache.

Is that right? Am I missing something?
posted by raedyn at 12:23 PM on September 29, 2005


Raedyn: Even on fast connections, I generally dislike things that a) don't open in my browser (when I'm at school I have to use IE, and at home OSX tosses it into preview) and b) they tend to take a long time to open even on a quick computer, because they're not at all optimized for actual usage.
PDFs are for portable printing. Anything else should be rendered in a screen-friendly format.
posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on September 29, 2005


Stupid question: Why are (some) people so averse to opening .pdf files?

Wild speculation: They're likely huge files that give dial up connections a headache.


Well, I mostly read MeFi at work, where I'm stuck on a slightly old Windows machine with Acrobat Reader 7. Opening a PDF renders my browser unusable for a couple of minutes while Acrobat spins its wheels going god-knows-what. If it doesn't crash the browser (which it does sometimes), it slows everything else down until I close the tab/window.

In short, if I'm interested enough in the topic, and I believe that the PDF has information worth reading/viewing, I'll open it up. I just don't like being surprised when a seemingly-casual link ends up being a PDF, because of the slowdowns, but also because the content is often something that could just have easily been a plain HTML page (though this is entirely a personal gripe).

On preview: what klangklangston said.
posted by Godbert at 12:30 PM on September 29, 2005


raedyn writes "Why are (some) people so averse to opening .pdf files?"

Because adobe acrobat is a steaming pile of a memory hog and I'd prefer to go into machine paralization with some warning.
posted by Mitheral at 12:39 PM on September 29, 2005


If you find Acrobat slow you might want to try this or you can use this program on Windows.

But yeah, it's still nice to have a warning.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:36 PM on September 29, 2005


Foxit PDF Reader on PCs is a great tiny fast free alternative to Adobe's steaming pile of software that is Acrobat Reader.
posted by TimeFactor at 1:47 PM on September 29, 2005


Out of curiousity: have Ye Who Cower Before Acrobat considered configuring your browser to ask first before opening PDF docs, rather than automatically launching the Reader code? It seems like that could save you some pdf-related headaches.
posted by cortex at 1:49 PM on September 29, 2005


I can never seem to get file handling preferences to stick, just when I do seem to get everything just right my machine will get hosed or it'll be time for a new unit. PDFs for all the bile I've directed Adobe's way aren't the worst, at least they silently bring my machine to it's knees. It's links to video and music that makes me happy for target alert.
posted by Mitheral at 2:21 PM on September 29, 2005


Cortex: When I'm at school, I don't have the permission to install anything. And on my mac, I can't seem to find that preference setting for Firefox.
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on September 29, 2005


Yeah, to echo Mitheral, on my Mac it's really handy to know which links are .wmv, because that format has a habit of crashing shit for me. Because, well, it sucks and no one should use it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:18 PM on September 29, 2005


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