HTML and CSS Reference
5.6.3. Appropriate Linking Styles
Creating effective links to external multimedia documents is critical. The
user needs some indication of what the object is and perhaps the kind
of application the linked object needs to execute. Moreover, most mul-
timedia objects are quite large, so common courtesy tells us to provide
users with some indication of the time and expense involved in down-
In lieu of, or in addition to, the anchor and surrounding text, a small
thumbnail of a large image, or a familiar icon that indicates the referen-
ced object's format, is useful.
5.6.4. Embedding Other Document Types
The Web can deliver nearly any type of electronic document, not just
graphics, sound, and video files. To display them, however, the client
browser needs a helper application installed and referenced. Recent
browsers also support plug-in accessory software and, as described in
ing inline display of multimedia objects.
For example, consider a company whose extensive product document-
ation was prepared and stored in some popular layout application such
as Adobe Acrobat, FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, or PageMaker. The Web
offers an excellent way for distributing that documentation over a world-
wide network, but converting to HTML or XHTML would be too costly at
The solution is to prepare a few HTML or XHTML documents that catalog
and link the alternative files and invoke the appropriate display applet.
Or, make sure that the users' browsers have the plug-in software or are
configured to invoke the appropriate helper application. Adobe's Acrobat
Reader is a very popular plug-in, for example. If the document is in
Acrobat ( .pdf ) format and if a link to an Acrobat document is chosen,
the tool is started and accordingly displays the document, often right in
the browser's window.