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How to make a link that works and doesn't mess up the page
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Blue Hell
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Joined: Apr 03, 2004
Posts: 22884
Location: The Netherlands, Enschede
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject:  How to make a link that works and doesn't mess up the page Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How to make short links that don't mess up the page, or how to make a non working chopped-up link work ok.

As a reader and being on a PC you can switch to firefox 3 or IE those know how to break up long links. They do not know how to fix chopped-up links though.

As a writer there are a couple of tricks to make a short and/or working link:

1. BB Code tags. One can use the BB Code tags {url} {/url} (I'll type curly braces { and } where I mean the square ones [ and ] to not mess up the page, BB Code tags work with square braces).

2. Service provider. One can use a short link service provider, like this one.

3. HTML tags. Sometimes the BB Code tags don't work as they should because the board software does not adhere to the HTML specs when interpreting the link's contents. In that case you can try to use HTML tags.

We have the following example link:


For this one I just copied the location from somewhere and pasted it right in here. Here it works ok, but is does not always because there is a bug in the bulletin board code that interprets the links and makes them clickable. When it does not work you can try one of the alternatives mentioned.

Lets try the methods 1. .. 3. mentioned above.

1. Use the BB Codetags:

the easy way is to first think of a link text, i.e. the text that is displayed to represent the link, or the short link, depending on your point of view. The BB Code tags work like :


To make this code just type your LinkText into the message, highlight it (using mouse drag with pressed left button, or use shift + cursor left/right keys) and then click on the URL button above the composition window. You'll get :


Now alter the {url} bit into {url=http://www.example.com} with some typing and some cut and paste work.

(Again, the real thing uses square brackets, but I can not type those in this message as they would be changed by the forum software.)

This will result in the link (using the long example url from above) looking like:


When you want to see the technical details of this message you can just hit the reply button and all the tricks will be there.

2. Use a service provider

You copy the long URL to the clipboard, then you go to http://www.tiny.cc and you past your clipboard contents into the dialog there. Then you hit the doit button and you'll get a translated link in your clipboard which replaces the long one. Then go to the page composition window and paste what you got back; I got: http://tiny.cc/f9EJ for the example link.

3. HTML tags.

Html tags work with angular brackets <and>, I will type round brackets in my examples below, again to avoid interpretation problems.

The HTML link tag looks like :

(a href="http://www.example.com" target="_blank")LinkText(/a)

The href tells the browser where to go and the target tells it to open it in a new window called _blank, which is the recommended name for non specific new windows.

Using this the example link will look like :


The HTML method works better for troublesom links than the BBCode method does.

Then there are some issues with this.

Complex links sometimes do not work with any of the methods listed, the HTML tags work best but it is the hardest method to remember ...

HTML tags show up ugly for people who have turned off HTML tags in their profile. This feature is on by default, so most people will have it on, however the HTML feature interferes with posting program fragments, and people doing that a lot will have turned the feature off - something to remember when you are posting in the ChucK section here. BB codes show up OK in that case.

also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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