URL Length and Complexity Issues
(Page 4 of 4)
Explicit URL Delimiting and URL Redirectors
To resolve both the wrapping and delimiting problems, a special URL super-syntax is sometimes employed, especially when URLs are used in other text. This is done by surrounding the URL in angle brackets, possibly including the label URL:. before the scheme name. For example, all of the following are equivalent:
The angle brackets indicate clearly where the URL begins and ends, making it easier for both programs and humans to deal with long URLs.
Another solution sometimes used for long URLs are redirection services, provided by many Web sites. For example, http://www.tinyurl.com is a free service that allows someone to create a short URL that automatically loads a resource at a much longer URL.
One final issue I want to discuss isn't related directly to long or complex URLs, but is related indirectly to the matter of length: URL abbreviation. Many people use URLs so often that they become, well, lazy when it comes to specifying URLs. They tend to leave off portions of the full URL syntax to save time and energy. I don't mean by this that they specify relative URLs, but rather, they specify absolute URLs with missing pieces.
For example, rather than type http://www.sitename.com, they might type http:www.sitename.com, leaving off the two slashes. More commonly, people omit the scheme name entirely, just entering www.sitename.com. Technically, this is not a URL, it is just a domain name. However, most Web browsers can handle this, assuming by default that the scheme is http:// if none is provided. (Dont feel bad, I do it too! J)
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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