In the context of the World Wide Web, deep linking is the use of a hyperlink that links to a specific, generally searchable or indexed, piece of web content on a website , rather than the website’s home page (e.g., “http://example.com”). The URL contains all the information needed to point to a particular item.
The technology behind the World Wide Web, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), does not actually make any distinction between “deep” links and any other links—all links are functionally equal. This is intentional; one of the design purposes of the Web is to allow authors to link to any published document on another site. The possibility of so-called “deep” linking is therefore built into the Web technology of HTTP and URLs by default—while a site can attempt to restrict deep links, to do so requires extra effort. According to the World Wide Web Consortium Technical Architecture Group, “any attempt to forbid the practice of deep linking is based on a misunderstanding of the technology, and threatens to undermine the functioning of the Web as a whole”
Some commercial websites object to other sites making deep links into their content either because it bypasses advertising on their main pages, passes off their content as that of the linker or, like, they charge users for permanently valid links. Sometimes, deep linking has led to legal action such as in the 1997 case of Ticketmaster versus Microsoft, where Microsoft deep-linked to Ticketmaster’s site from its Sidewalk service. This case was settled when Microsoft and Ticketmaster arranged a licensing agreement. Ticketmaster later filed a similar case against Tickets.com, and the judge in this case ruled that such linking was legal as long as it was clear to whom the linked pages belonged. The court also concluded that URLs themselves were not copyrightable, writing: “A URL is simply an address, open to the public, like the street address of a building, which, if known, can enable the user to reach the building. There is nothing sufficiently original to make the URL a copyrightable item, especially the way it is used. There appear to be no cases holding the URLs to be subject to copyright. On principle, they should not be.
Websites built on technologies such as Adobe Flash and AJAX often do not support deep linking. This can cause usability problems for visitors to those sites. For example, they may be unable to save bookmarks to individual pages or states of the site, use the web browser forward and back buttons—and clicking the browser refresh button may return the user to the initial page.
Adobe Flash is a deprecated multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications, mobile games and embedded web browser video players. Flash displays text, vector graphics and raster graphics to provide animations, video games and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input. Related development platform Adobe AIR continues to be supported.
Artists may produce Flash graphics and animations using Adobe Animate (formerly known as Adobe Flash Professional). Software developers may produce applications and video games using Adobe Flash Builder, FlashDevelop, Flash Catalyst, or any text editor when used with the Apache Flex SDK.
End-users can view Flash content via Flash Player (for web browsers), AIR (for desktop or mobile apps) or third-party players such as Scaleform (for video games). Adobe Flash Player (supported on Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux) enables end-users to view Flash content using web browsers. Adobe Flash Lite enabled viewing Flash content on older smartphones, but has been discontinued and superseded by Adobe AIR.
The ActionScript programming language allows the development of interactive animations, video games, web applications, desktop applications and mobile applications. Programmers can implement Flash software using an IDE such as Adobe Animate, Adobe Flash Builder, Adobe Director, FlashDevelop and Powerflasher FDT. Adobe AIR enables full-featured desktop and mobile applications to be developed with Flash and published for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.
However, this is not a fundamental limitation of these technologies. Well-known techniques, and libraries such as SWFAddress and unFocus History Keeper, now exist that website creators using Flash or AJAX can use to provide deep linking to pages within their sites.
Web site owners who don’t want search engines to deep link, or want them only to index specific pages can request so using the Robots Exclusion Standard (robots.txt file). People who favor deep linking often feel that content owners who don’t provide a robots.txt file are implying by default that they do not object to deep linking either by search engines or others. People against deep linking often claim that content owners may be unaware of the Robots Exclusion Standard or may not use robots.txt for other reasons. Sites other than search engines can also deep link to content on other sites, so some question the relevance of the Robots Exclusion Standard to controversies about Deep Linking. The Robots Exclusion Standard does not programmatically enforce its directives so it does not prevent search engines and others who do not follow polite conventions from deep linking.
The above is a brief about Deep Linking. Watch this space for more updates on the latest trends in Technology.