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05/10/2003 Archived Entry: ""
Posted by CKL @ 04:29 PM PST

Are you tired of long, ugly web links that get line-wrapped or otherwise mangled when you try to send them by e-mail? Why not Make A Shorter Link? (Power users may also want to investigate PURLs and MeRSes.)

If you want to nitpick, yes, this arrangement fixes one problem-- long URLs which are difficult to communicate-- but causes another: dependence on a third-party database to associate keys (the shorter link) with values (the original URL). If the site goes down, your shorter link will no longer work. With line-wrapped URLs, you at least have a chance to manually reconstruct the original link.

I'm still convinced there's a way to use compression to shorten URLs; the trick is finding a lossless algorithm which will be efficient for such small and highly random data sets...

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