Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting Your Blogger URL Right

I see it all the time at the Daily-Painters Discussion Group, or when someone wants to be listed on the Daily Painters Guild Website, or more specifically the Worldwide List of Daily Painters — someone announces their new blog address with a www. in front of it.

Clarification: Not everything on the World Wide Web has, nor has to have, a www before it.

In fact the correct address of your blog, if you use, is

Driving backwards
may get you
home, but that
doesn't mean it's
the best way
"But, David," you object, "when I put it in e-mails or post it to the Discussion Group it doesn't turn into a link!"

That's because you are mistakenly thinking that the familiar "www" is a 'protocol.' But is isn't. What you need is an http://. The protocol is what 'helps it' get turned into a link.

This is a reference that tells your computer what program to use to get to the address... okay, usually that program is your 'browser' (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) in which you clicked the link anyway, so it just 'uses itself' to go there. Other protocols which tell your computer to do different things are, for example, ftp://, callto:// (for Skype calls, for example), itms:// (launches the iTunes Music Service) and so on.

Using my own Everyday Paintings by David R. Darrow as an example, the correct way to make a linked URL is — with no www.

URLs are
a lot like
"But, David," you instantly argue, "when I use a www it does work! It turns it into a link!"

That's because "it" (your e-mail program, the discussion group software, or the forum to which you post) has adapted to poorly written URLs and assumes you meant to make it a link, and so it overrides your mistake making it into a link.

In fact, though, it slows things down [albeit a little] in getting the link to take one to the desired location, because "it" has to figure our that the www was not necessary, and then take you to the place you really wanted to go.

URLS are a lot like phone numbers... they get you to one destination. '' is the whole 'phone number,' including area code. Adding a www before it would be like dialing the country code first to reach your next door neighbor... at the moment it isn't necessary, but if people keep doing it, they'll write the software to convert the redundancy to strip out everything but the necessary part of the phone number and let you reach your neighbor — who is on vacation in another state.

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