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Browse Prior Art Database

Pointing anywhere into a web document

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000185363D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Jul-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Jul-22
Document File: 5 page(s) / 77K

Publishing Venue



Currently hyperlinks may point to locations in a web document which are prepared for that by providing anchors. The present publication provides a proxy server that allows to point to any location inside a web document by adding a XPointer expression identifying the location as fragment identifier (the part after the '#' in a URI).

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
At least one non-text object (such as an image or picture) has been suppressed.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 31% of the total text.

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Pointing anywhere into a web document


State of the art in pointing into web documents in general is: It is possible to point to a location inside a web page which is prepared for that by providing an anchor at that location, only.

If the web browser is addressing a PDF document more is possible [1]. Pointing to any page, and even to ANY location within that page with a selectable zoom is possible by. The URL "http://mydocs/doc.pdf#page=3&zoom=200,250,100" points to doc.pdf with a zoom of 200% and left/top coordinate 250/100 on page 3 (although the coordinate approach is fine for PDF documents it is not applicable to arbitrary web pages because those are rendered differently by different browsers).

In case the web document is a text file RFC 5147 [2] describes how to point into text documents, which is important since there is no other means to do so by the lack of (HTML) anchor definitions in text documents.

A simple use case may show why it might be really useful to point anywhere inside a web page for interaction of people: Think of two engineers discussing the details of a specification. They are chatting because they are not located at the same site. The 1st engineer just selects the interesting text range he wants to discuss, this range gets converted to a URL which he sends to his colleague in the chat. The 2nd engineer just clicks on the received (enhanced) URL. His web browser loads the document, positions to the selection made by the 1st engineer and highlights that selection.

In addition to this scenario the enhanced URLs may be send by email or placed on eg. a centralized Wiki.

Pointing into text web documents

The URL "http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2616.txt#line=411,413" selects the lines in the range 411-413 of rfc2116.txt. Since text files are implicitly surrounded with just a "

" tag by web browsers the following simple modification of that file would allow the browser to position at the selected location and even highlight the selection:
1.2 Requirements

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",


document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [34].

An implementation is not compliant if it fails to satisfy one or more ...


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This modification of the document could be done by a proxy server through which the web browser accesses the text file on the web.

The proxy server would have to change the content type from "text/plain" to "text/html" in addition.

This screenshot shows what the browser could display when pointing to ",413":

Pointing into HTML web documents

Web pages may be well-formed and therefore be XML documents (eg. XHTML), but must not. Pointing into a XML document is done by XPointer [3]. The URL "doc.xml#xpointer(//cd)"...