The LINK Tag

By Deane Barker on November 17, 2002

A while back, I wrote about Mozilla and the LINK tag. The LINK tag is one of the great unexplored corners of HTML. No browser ever implemented it for years (except for an obscure Mac browser called iCab), and consequently, the LINK tag is used mainly to connect CSS stylesheets to pages.

The LINK tag was created to allow the developer to embed information in a page that explained the page’s position in the overall site. It allows developers to specifiy what the parent of the page is, what the previous and next siblings are, what the index page is, the glossary page, the search page, any other language version, etc. This is a incredibly powerful tool in terms of information architecture, but for years it’s been ignored by browser developers.

That all changed with Mozilla 1.1. It honored the LINK tag and you can use it to show links to “standard” pages on your site, like the home page, the site map, etc.

There’s more to do with it — like showing buttons for the First and Last items in a sequence, Chapters, Sections, etc. It’s really powerful. It’s like having a custom navigation map that never moves because it’s built into the browser. And it has a standard look and feel — it will work the same on Joe Blow’s site as it does on my site. If I’m lost on a site, I always know where to find a link to Search or to a Index or whatever.

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