Wikipedia:Linky tutorial

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Linky is a powerful add-on to the web browser Mozilla Firefox that lets you take full advantage of Firefox's powerful tabs and tabbing features. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer does not support Linky. Linky is especially useful for browsing and editing Wikipedia pages.

A "tab" is a window opened within a web-browser. Each tab independently displays a web page (such as a Wikipedia article). While the keyboard shortcut Alt+Tab is used to switch between windows, the keyboard shortcuts used to switch between tabs are Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+W.

(Ctrl+W closes the current tab as you make the switch).

Linky opens links on pages into tabs in Firefox. Linky can handle 99 links at a time. That is, you can open 99 tabs to display 99 web-pages at a time. Note: There is an updated version of the Linky Plugin available, where you can open up to 499 links at once. See Link section below.

To activate Linky, while in Firefox right-click to get MS Windows' drop-down menu. You'll see Linky on there (if you have it installed).

Linky also works on selections (parts of pages). Simply highlight the section of the page that has the links you want, by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse down the page, let go, right-click, then position the mouse cursor over "Linky", which will drop down Linky's menu, then click on "open selected links in tabs". A box will appear with the list of links with a checkbox next to each link which you can uncheck in the case that there are pages on the list that you don't want to work on.

To take full advantage of Linky, you can create lists of links (such as on user or WikiProject Subpages), as page-processing aids, and then use Linky on those lists. Lists of URLs are especially useful, because Wikipedia URLs can include actions such as "edit" so each link automatically specifies the opening of Wikipedia's edit window - so each page is in edit mode without having to click on "edit this page", thereby eliminating a step to minimize the amount of time you spend waiting for the server. (On tasks dealing with dozens of pages, each click and page load really adds up).

Then what?[edit]

Well, after you have the desired web-pages displayed in tabs, you can use Firefox's tabbing commands to switch between them very rapidly, close them instantaneously (which also switches you to the next tab in the blink of an eye), etc.

This lets you look at (batch browse) or work on lots of pages fast. Very fast.

The question is, do you want this gas pedal? Can you handle this rate of speed?  :)

How does Linky compare with AWB?[edit]

Firefox's tabbing features (especially when combined with the use of the Linky extension and macros) is one of the most powerful tools you can use to work on Wikipedia. It beats AWB in many operations, though AWB beats it in many others.

WP:AWB is an auto-page-loader, and a semi-automatic editor with powerful search/replace features. It works on lists of pages which you specify, opening one-at-a-time, executing your pre-specified search/replaces, and then loading each page in AWB's own edit mode so you can edit it. When you are done and save the page, AWB saves it, automatically closes it, and then opens the next page on the list in the same way. But, if you need to see what you are doing, that is, actually look at each page you are working on, AWB's view feature is rather cludgy and time-consuming. Pages are not initially loaded in view mode, so you have to click on "view" and wait each time for the server to respond, which can be very time-consuming, especially when you are working on a lot of pages and have to repeat this operation.

"Tabbing" is task-switching technology. You are basically working in windows, directly on Wikipedia pages using Wikipedia's interface. So if you need to inspect pages (that is, actually look at them), you simply open their links in Linky and each page is in display mode by default. You switch between pages (in subwindows called "tabs") with Ctrl-tab or with Ctlr-w (which closes the current window as you make the switch). Once in tabs, you can switch back and forth between pages very rapidly. In AWB, once you've processed a page, you can't go back to it. But in Firefox you can, even if you've already closed the tab! All Linky does is load pages into Firefox tabs, allowing you to bring the power of Firefox to up to 99 pages at a time. Subtle, but very effective.

Firefox tab controls[edit]

  • Rapid page viewing:
    • Middle-click (or use Linky, see below) to load 40 or more pages into tabs (Linky opens up to 99)
      • To skim through lots of random articles, middle-click on "Random article" 40+ times
    • Read or work on one
    • When done, press Ctrl-F4 or Ctrl-w to close tab and instantly go to the next one
    • Great for skimming sets of articles, where you are checking for a missing element, or looking for a particular kind of page or element. Just keep pressing Ctrl-F4 to instantly get rid of the current tab and go onto the next one, cycling through them fast until you find one you are looking for. Blam, blam, blam, blam, blam!
  • Middle-click on link - create new tab with linked page as its contents
  • Ctrl-T - Create new (employ) tab
  • Ctrl-Tab - Switch to next tab
  • Shift-Ctrl-Tab - Switch to previous tab
  • Ctrl-(drag tab) - Clone a tab (Firefox 3 only; Firefox 2 needs a plug-in such as Duplicate Tab[1])
  • Ctrl-Shift-T - un-close a tab (this will even remember contents entered in text boxes like Wikipedia's text editor)
    • Or go to the History menu and choose Recently Closed Tabs

Optimize your speed using Linky-lists[edit]

A Linky-list is a web-page (such as a user subpage) that you've created that displays a list of links on it for you to use Linky on. One advantage of this approach is that you can easily ensure that unrelated links are not included.

But the real power in using a Linky-list is that you can use search/replace on it to modify the links and thereby create your next Linky-list. For example, Politics of x (where x is a country name) could easily be changed to Culture of x.

Search/replace is also useful for changing wiki-links to URL-links, so that you can open each page in edit mode, etc.

Here's an example of a URL-link that opens a Wikipedia page in edit mode (in fact, it opens this page in edit mode):

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Linky_tutorial&action=edit

Attention: Opera users[edit]

Opera has Linky-like functionality built-in. It is not immediately evident in a default install - you have to right-click on a toolbar and go to Customise->Panels->Links to enable it.

Notes[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]