Sunday, October 26, 2008


(I thought a short title was appropriate)

One of my favorite measures of how well something is doing on the web is whether I see it mentioned in the news (excluding, say, the San Jose Mercury News). Today I saw a couple of tinyurl links in the Sunday paper.

Tinyurl is one of those cool ideas that I personally don't find much occasion to use. In fact, I had forgotten they were around, but I'm glad they still are. The whole concept is just so, well, webby. You can explain in a short sentence what it does: Provides nice short URLs that work in place of the monsters you sometimes run across. You can also explain in a short sentence how it does it: Keep a database of short identifiers and long URLs and use HTTP's redirect facility to make one stand in for the other.

It's so fundamentally cool that I'm surprised that I don't use it. Most likely it's because I send and receive most email in URL-friendly HTML, and of course Blogger is right at home with any URL-from-the-deep. But as the RFC makes clear, URLs aren't just intended for computers to see. They're specifically designed to be written down, printed, put on billboards, read over the phone and otherwise transmitted non-electronically. That's not something I seem to do much, but it's a good place for tinyurl. My newspaper seems to agree.

[Shortened links seem to have found a nice niche on Twitter -- D.H. Dec 2018]

No comments: