Deep-linking with Emphasis.

Emphasis is a brilliant new tool from the New York Times for deep-linking. Double-tap shift to reveal the interface, tap paragraph symbols to select text, and tap sentences from within the selected paragraph to highlight text. Copy the link from the address bar. Visiting that link in your browser will cause the site to scroll to the appropriate location and highlight the desired text. This is the kind of innovation (in direct contrast to atrocities like Tynt) that we love to see publications pioneering.1

I rarely find myself on NYTimes.com, but I read dozens of articles every day on other sites. If this became a standard, I could envision myself using it frequently. Luckily, Emphasis is open-source:

The code can certainly be improved upon, so I’m hoping to see tweaks and optimizations. But the other reason we’re open-sourcing Emphasis is to encourage consistency: if more and more sites decide to implement similar features, we’ll all benefit from a consistent syntax. The Emphasis syntax may not be the best option (though I hope it is!), but the last thing I want is for every site to have its own proprietary method. If that happens, we all lose.

Find it on GitHub.

  1. A minor qualm: the syntax is great, the interface is great (minus a few subtle issues I’m confident will be resolved), but the decision to generate the paragraph identifiers with JavaScript prevents links from working when JavaScript is unavailable. Injecting paragraph identifiers at the server level would provide a more accessible experience. []