Table of Contents
- What is a Hyperlink?
- Hyperlink Definition
- What are Hyperlinks Used for?
- Hyperlink Examples
- History of Hyperlinks
- How do Hyperlinks Work?
- Lesson Summary
Hyperlinks are found everywhere on the internet. What is a hyperlink? Hyperlinks are used to navigate around a website, and hyperlinks can be used within a document to make navigating around the document easier. Hyperlinks are also called links as they link to other places.
Coding used to create hyperlinks is called hypertext. The text that appears as the link is referred to as the anchor text. For example, at the end of this lesson, there are two hyperlinks with anchor texts of Print Lesson and Next Lesson. Hover over them with the mouse, and an underline appears. Click on these links, and they direct to another page. The Print Lesson hyperlink directs to the Print dialog window while the Next Lesson hyperlink directs to the lesson that follows. At the very top of this page is an image of the Study.com logo and name. This is an image that is a hyperlink. Click on this, and it directs to the homepage of Study.com.
Hyperlinks are usually underlined in blue if the page has not been visited yet. The links turn purple if they have already been visited. Hyperlinks in documents or PDF documents stored on a computer can be used without the internet.
The formal hyperlink definition is either some text or an image that can be clicked which directs to another location either on the same page or on another page. There are specific types of hyperlinks as well. Each serves a particular purpose.
Inline links are hyperlinks that are part of a sentence. As a particular subject is being talked about, a hyperlink is inserted into the text that directs to another destination about that particular subject.
Anchor hyperlinks are hyperlinks that direct to an anchor on the same page. For example, some pages have a table of contents of sorts. Certain parts of the page have an invisible marked spot called an anchor. Anchor hyperlinks directly to these spots on the page. A link in the table of contents will direct to one of these anchor spots.
Fat links are links that have several destinations. For example, a link that opens up a drop-down menu where several options are presented is a fat link.
Hyperlinks are directional, meaning once clicked, they direct only one way. The direction of a hyperlink is always from the page it is on pointing to its final destination.
Hyperlinks are used for many necessary functions on the World Wide Web, the internet. Without hyperlinks, it is impossible to go from one page to another on the internet. After performing an internet search using a search engine such as Google, hyperlinks show up as results. These hyperlinks direct to pages that contain the information being searched for.
Wikis are websites that contain reference information, and these use hyperlinks to link to other pages on its site that show relevant information. Virtual world networks are similar to wikis in that hyperlinks are used to link to internal pages within the network.
Permalinks are permanent hyperlinks. These links are meant to stay active for many years. Most times, permalinks are links that are easy to remember and not too long. For example, a page on a website about a cherry pie recipe might have a permalink that looks like this.
It's not too long, and it's easy to remember.
Hyperlinks can also be found in PDF documents. Hyperlinks in these documents make navigating the PDF document easier and quicker. There may be a table of contents with hyperlinks that link to each chapter. There may be hyperlinks that link to other parts of the same document with the chapters. Within a PDF document, there can also be external hyperlinks that link to internet resources or other online PDF resources.
Hyperlinks are created with hypertext using HTML. A similar programming language called XML has XML links similar to hyperlinks. These perform the same function as hyperlinks, directing to another relevant destination either within the same XML document or to an external source.
Let's look at some hyperlink examples.
A hyperlink on the homepage of the site might use an anchor text of dwarf tomatoes that directs to another page on the same website about growing dwarf tomatoes hydroponically without soil. Clicking on the anchor text of dwarf tomatoes changes the webpage to one specifically about dwarf tomatoes on the same website.
A PDF digital planner is a planner in digital PDF form. The tabs on such a document act as virtual monthly tabs. The hyperlinked monthly tabs direct to the beginning of each month in the PDF planner. Clicking on the MAR hyperlinked tab changes the page to the beginning of the March section of the PDF planner. Hyperlinks in documents can be used without the internet.
A video-sharing site uses hyperlinks with images of the videos on its site. Clicking on a video directs to that video to watch it.
The beginning of hyperlinks began in 1968, on December 9th, to be exact. Douglas Engelbart presented The Mother of all Demos at the Fall Joint Computer Conference held in San Francisco. Engelbart demoed the computer mouse, video conferencing, word processing, and advanced graphic displays for the very first time. He also gave a presentation where he clicked on links within his document that took him to other documents.
But, Engelbart wasn't the first to use the term hypertext. It was Ted Nelson that used it first in 1965. Nelson was working on his Project Xanadu that connected two different pages together for the very first time. Nelson is the one who is credited with coining the term hypertext.
Fast forward a few years to 1987, and Apple released their Hypercard that allowed people to store all kinds of data on it. These cards used links to find the information stored in the card. Also, in the 1980s, Tim Berners-Lee was working on creating a brand new programming language, a first version of the hypertext HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) that is used widely today to create hyperlinks on the internet.
The Windows operating system began using hyperlinks as early as Windows 1.0 back in 1985. Links were black instead of today's blue hyperlink. It was in Windows 1.0 that an underlined hyperlink was used.
In 1989, Ben Shneiderman published his book, Hypertext Hands-On!. Shneiderman introduced the theory of direct manipulation. Hyperlinks are one application of Shneiderman's theory. Shneiderman was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his work. Shneiderman and his associates wrote the guidelines that form the basis of the universal acceptance of hyperlinks. These guidelines allow hyperlinks to work across all devices. This is why hyperlinks work the same way on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Hyperlinks work with the help of hypertext. The hypertext, either HTML or XML code, tells the hyperlink where to link to. The web address of the destination is written down in the hypertext code. This destination is then attached to the anchor text. This way, when the anchor text is clicked, the hypertext behind the anchor text runs and routes to the destination page.
The web address includes the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the destination page. This destination page can be a different page on a different site, or it can be a different location on the same page. URLs begin with http:// followed by the web address. For example, study.com has a URL of http://study.com.
When creating an HTML hyperlink, the following code is used.
The destination URL is in blue, and the anchor text is in black. The anchor text can be either text or an image.
Usually, when hovering over a link with the mouse, the cursor changes to some kind of pointer. This pointer is sometimes a hand with a pointing finger on Windows machines. Hyperlinks can also be used without a mouse.
In order to use hyperlinks without a mouse, the Tab key is used to cycle through the various hyperlinks. Once the desired hyperlink is reached, either the Enter key or the Spacebar is pushed to follow the hyperlink.
In review, the formal hyperlink definition is either some text or an image that can be clicked which directs to another location either on the same page or on another page. Coding used to create hyperlinks is called hypertext. The text that appears as the link is referred to as the anchor text.
Inline links are hyperlinks that are part of a sentence. Anchor hyperlinks are hyperlinks that direct to an anchor on the same page. Fat links are links that have several destinations. Permalinks are permanent hyperlinks.
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An example of a link is the links that appear as search results on the internet. Each result is a hyperlink that directs to the page that has the information being searched for.
Hyperlinks are used for navigating the internet and for navigating documents. They are links leading to anything. They can link to another document or another website, picture, or even print dialog.
A link in a computer system usually links to a local file or document. Some links can be network links that link to files and documents on a network.
Links and hyperlinks are interchangeable terms. They refer to the same links that appear on the web and in documents.
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