Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Slimming your URLs


URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are the addresses that link our browsers to specific web pages on sites all over the world. When I want to send someone a link to a particular web page, I copy and paste the URL into an email/IM window, allowing them to visit the site with the click of a mouse.

However, if the URL is too long, many programs break the URL, making it 'un-clickable'.

tinyurl.com
transforms an unwieldy url into a neat and manageable link. There is no magic involved, the tinyurl link simply relays you to the site via the original link stored on their web site.

So:

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?ovi=1&mqma
p.x=300&mqmap.y=75&mapdata=%252bKZmeiIh6N%252bI
gpXRP3bylMaN0O4z8OOUkZWYe7NRH6ldDN96YFTIUmSH3Q6
OzE5XVqcuc5zb%252fY5wy1MZwTnT2pu%252bNMjOjsHjvN
lygTRMzqazPStrN%252f1YzA0oWEWLwkHdhVHeG9sG6cMrf
XNJKHY6fML4o6Nb0SeQm75ET9jAjKelrmqBCNta%252bsKC
9n8jslz%252fo188N4g3BvAJYuzx8J8r%252f1fPFWkPYg%
252bT9Su5KoQ9YpNSj%252bmo0h0aEK%252bofj3f6vCP

becomes:

http://tinyurl.com/6

This can also be useful if you are putting links into a document, avoiding cumbersome strings of alphanumerics spoiling your elegant typography!

Conrad pointed me to url(x). This works in a similar way, but keeps identifying text in the URL.

So:

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?ovi=1&mqma
p.x=300&mqmap.y=75&mapdata=%252bKZmeiIh6N%252bI
gpXRP3bylMaN0O4z8OOUkZWYe7NRH6ldDN96YFTIUmSH3Q6
OzE5XVqcuc5zb%252fY5wy1MZwTnT2pu%252bNMjOjsHjvN
lygTRMzqazPStrN%252f1YzA0oWEWLwkHdhVHeG9sG6cMrf
XNJKHY6fML4o6Nb0SeQm75ET9jAjKelrmqBCNta%252bsKC
9n8jslz%252fo188N4g3BvAJYuzx8J8r%252f1fPFWkPYg%
252bT9Su5KoQ9YpNSj%252bmo0h0aEK%252bofj3f6vCP

becomes:

http://urlx.org/mapquest.com/45cb

This is particularly useful when you search for the URL at a later date.

The potential downside to these URLs is that they rely on the referring sites being live. If the relay server goes down, your links die with it.
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2 comments:

Jason Clark said...

that is soooo useful, thank you!

Antony Billington said...

... Yeah... but not as useful as that snail stuff...

 
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