Monday, November 17, 2008

URLs, URLs and URLs

It occurs to me there are basically three sizes of URL:
  • Small, like These aren't even really URLs, but your browser is smart enough to figure out you mean or whatever it really is.
  • Large, like Still not really URLs, but the browser will kindly prepend the http://.
  • Monsters, like or These are actual URLs as defined in the standard.
The small size is what everyone thinks of as a web address. No one wants to type more than that into the browser. Sometimes you can get away with a large URL, if both parts make sense and you're pretty sure people are really interested in what you're saying.

Real URLs are not fit for human consumption, except maybe for cutting and pasting. They might as well all say http://dontreadthisyadayadapeanutbutter. If you actually have to read a real URL, and you're not actively committing web-geekery at the time, something has gone wrong.

[Side note: Some, notably the standards authors, use "URL" as the plural of "URL", evidently on the grounds that URL may stand for "Uniform Resource Locators" just as well as "Uniform Resource Locator". This may be standard, but it's not the usual way acronyms and initialisms form their plurals. I shan't use it thus.]

1 comment:

David Hull said...

Note to self: the"monsters"here are still not that big -- but the whole point is that they're already too big.