Browsing Without The Viewer

If you let scripts run when browsing this website, they construct a viewer that places each document side-by-side with an extensive and interactive table of contents (TOC) as navigation support. This is very much the preferred user interface, but I do not require that you run my scripts. If you choose not to run them, I do not leave you with a blank page or—worse—instructions to enable scripts. Anyway, there’s no small chance that I have not written the scripts well enough for your browser.

TOC and Document Windows

A solution of sorts is to browse the site using two windows. Some browsers handle this as two tabs in the one window. If you have the desktop space, separate windows will work much better.

In one window, the first, follow a link to the Table of Contents. There is one at the top of this page, if scripts haven’t run. Once you have the TOC, if you follow a link to a document page, the browser will open a new window for the document page. The two windows become respectively a TOC window and a document window.

Whenever you follow a link in the document window, you will just load another document page into that same window. If you want to navigate the site more widely, return to the TOC window without closing the document window. When you follow another link from the TOC to a document page, you will load the document page in that same document window. The browser’s own navigation buttons in the document window will take you forwards and backwards through the document pages that you have viewed, without being affected by your switching to and from the TOC window.

As it happens, there are several TOCs. The site has several subwebs, which are very nearly disjoint, in the sense that few pages in one subweb link naturally to any pages in any other subweb. Add that some of these subwebs run to several hundred pages and it makes sense, if only to me, that each subweb has its own TOC.

When a TOC is loaded without the viewer, it shows some additional links at its end, as a footer. These link to the other TOCs. When you follow one of these links, you load another TOC into the TOC window. The browser’s own navigation buttons in the TOC window will take you forwards and backwards through the various TOCs that you have accessed, independently of the history in the document window.


When you do not run the scripts, the TOCs are always and necessarily fully expanded. On the document pages, you will miss a few refinements, the most notable of which is that almost everything that is coloured, weighted, italicised or has pretty much any in-line formatting has a tooltip to explain why. Mostly however, you should not miss any text, at least not without a warning that there is more to see.


It amazes me, though perhaps it shouldn’t, but some browsers do not offer the option to browse with scripts disabled. For instance, despite all of Microsoft’s talk of this and that in Windows 10 being motivated for security, its Microsoft Edge browser originally had no user-interface settings to disable scripts (though later versions provide for it in the Settings, among the “Cookies and site permissions”).

There’s nothing much I can do about such nonsense from Microsoft and others, but I can at least provide a means to browse my website as if scripts are disabled. I give you only a semblance. Scripts still run, of course, but just enough to notice that you don’t want them to and to arrange that you can continue browsing the site without having to keep telling it that you don't want to run scripts. To start this simulation, add “noviewer=true” as an argument in the URL search string, and then refresh.