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2005-10-21 09:14:07 +02:00

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Marks (the lite edition)
So, were you ever reading this huge 300-pages specification heavily
cross-referencing itself, jumping around and getting a headache when looking
for the place where you stopped reading the last time?
Were you doing something similar in C code, but praising *vi* for document
ELinks can do them, too! For vim non-users:
What it is?
When you place a "document mark" (just "mark" from now on), you place an
_invisible_ anchor at the current position in the document. You can place
several such marks --- each mark is identified by a single character (any
reasonable character will do). Then, you can just happily browse around
aimlessly (but see below) and when in the same document again, you can
return to any of the marks in the file again. That will restore your
position in the file at the time of placing the mark.
You can place a mark by the "m" key followed by the mark character. You can
go to a mark by the "'" (apostrophe) key followed by the mark character.
E.g., you can place a mark named "a" in the file by pressing "ma", then
return to it anytime later by typing "'a". You can of course change those
shortcuts at any time to anything you wish in the keybindings manager.
Short summary: you can place a mark (e.g. 'z') in a document by pressing
"mz" and then go back to it anytime later by pressing "'z".
Currently, only A-Za-z characters are valid marks.
Only one mark named "a" (or anything else) may exist at a time, so if one
puts a mark "a" in a first document and set another mark "a" in a second
document, ELinks will simply replace the former one.
ALL the document marks are always local to the document. I.e. the vim text
editor has an extension that makes the capital-letter marks to be global to
the whole program and going to such a mark will make it to open the right
document. This is not implemented in ELinks _yet_.
Contrary to vim, ELinks doesn't support numbered marks (jumping to the last
n documents in history) nor the special "'" mark (jumping to the last mark).
There is no way to get a listing of all marks set in a document. Yet.
Marks lifespan
I already hinted something about another restriction regarding aimless
browsing. The lifespan of document marks depends on rather ill-defined and
(for an average mortal) mostly non-deterministic technical conditions.
Generally, marks _always_ survive when not moving away from the document or
when moving only in the session history (and unhistory). That means, if you
go back and the "unback" to the document, you will find your marks safely in
place. If you follow a link from the document (or typed an address to the
Goto URL dialog) and then go back (by pressing the right arrow or through
the File menu), your marks are safe too. These are in fact by far the most
common usage cases for the marks, so most of the time it will just work as
you expect. That's a good news.
The bad news is that in all other cases, nothing is guaranteed. It might
work if you get back to the document by any other means (by following some
link or typing its address to the Goto URL dialog), or it might not. It
might be possible to achieve two instances of the document inside a single
ELinks, each with its own set of marks. However, again, generally it will
work as expected - this paragraph serves only as a disclaimer in cases it
doesn't. Don't rely on it.
Marks never survive over ELinks restarts. If you quit your ELinks completely
and run it again, the marks you placed will be no more. No exceptions. Well.
In some cases, it *might* appear that they survived, but that just means you
did not quit your ELinks _completely_ --- if you run multiple ELinks
instances under a single user on a single system, they "join" together and
you must quit (or kill) them all to get rid of the damn thing. But that's a
different story.