Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeiOS DevelopmentLinking to textual content fragments in net pages – Ole Begemann

Linking to textual content fragments in net pages – Ole Begemann


Textual content fragments are a manner for net hyperlinks to specify a phrase or phrase a browser ought to spotlight on the vacation spot web page. Google Chrome added assist for them in model 80 (launched in February 2020).

For instance, opening the hyperlink oleb.web/2020/swift-docker-linux/#:~:textual content=working,container in Chrome ought to spotlight the primary heading of the article:


Screenshot of Chromium highlighting a text fragment
Chromium highlighting the textual content fragment specified within the URL.

The apparent use case is serps: if you click on a hyperlink in a search consequence, the browser would robotically spotlight your search time period(s) on the vacation spot web page.

I’ve at all times wished this function. I typically discover myself visiting a web page from a search engine, solely to instantly hit Cmd+F and re-type my search question into the browser’s Discover on Web page textual content area. Evidently, this can be a ache on cell units with no correct keyboard.

However textual content fragments produce other makes use of past serps:

  1. Linking to a specific sentence or paragraph of a protracted doc. I’d use this on a regular basis when linking to API documentation or discussion board posts. “Regular” URL fragments solely work for anchors the writer of the vacation spot web page created prematurely, and readers often can’t see what anchor tags can be found on a web page.

  2. Sharing a selected portion of a web page. Browsers might facilitate this by providing to incorporate a textual content fragment within the URL when sharing a hyperlink to a textual content choice.

Right here’s the pattern URL from above as soon as extra:


https://oleb.web/2020/swift-docker-linux/#:~:textual content=working,container

This half is the textual content fragment:


#:~:textual content=working,container

This fragment finds the primary point out of “working” (case-insensitive) on the web page and highlights every little thing from that time till it finds “container”. There are a couple of extra variants of the syntax. Learn the textual content fragments draft spec for particulars.

Search phrases could comprise delicate info that customers don’t wish to share with the vacation spot server. For good cause, serps stopped reporting the consumer’s search phrases within the referer header a very long time in the past as a part of the widespread transfer to HTTPS. It might be unhealthy if a brand new function reintroduced this previous knowledge leak.

The spec considers this situation. Textual content fragments are designed to be purely a browser-level function — they’re not uncovered to JavaScript code. This screenshot demonstrates that doc.location.hash is clean as a result of Chromium stripped the textual content fragment away:


Screenshot of the JavaScript console in Chromium demonstrating that the destination page can’t see the text fragment
JavaScript code working within the vacation spot web page can’t see the textual content fragment.

I believe this the precise conduct, however the spec authors appear to be contemplating altering it again as a result of it could constrain some reputable use circumstances and since JavaScript can already decide what parts of a web page a consumer is studying by monitoring the viewport rect. I don’t know — exposing a delicate search time period appears extra invasive to me than the scroll place.

It’s price noting that the privateness concern exists for browsers that don’t assist textual content fragments: they are going to deal with the gibberish as a standard URL fragment, which might simply be parsed with a little bit of JavaScript.

As a precaution, serps and related websites ought to in all probability solely embody textual content fragments of their hyperlinks if the consumer’s browser helps the function (window.location.fragmentDirective).

Chrome is at present the one browser with textual content fragment assist. From what I’ve learn, the WebKit and Firefox groups are typically supportive of the concept however have some reservations about particular design decisions.

I hope this or one thing prefer it turns into extensively supported within the close to future.

Replace June 22, 2020: I uncared for to say fragmentations, an IndieWeb initiative that goals to unravel the identical downside and is no less than six years previous. This function makes use of regular URL fragments and client-side JavaScript to search out the matching textual content on the vacation spot web page (which is just needed as a result of there’s no native browser assist, in fact).

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