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Tech: Mudcat linking

GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Ed 06 Jun 12 - 01:56 PM
GUEST 06 Jun 12 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 02:28 PM
Leadfingers 06 Jun 12 - 02:47 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jun 12 - 02:54 PM
GUEST 06 Jun 12 - 03:28 PM
GUEST,Peter 06 Jun 12 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 04:24 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jun 12 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 06 Jun 12 - 06:39 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Jun 12 - 06:59 PM
GUEST 06 Jun 12 - 07:31 PM
Jeri 06 Jun 12 - 07:44 PM
treewind 07 Jun 12 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison 07 Jun 12 - 10:10 AM
treewind 07 Jun 12 - 10:49 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jun 12 - 09:01 PM
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Subject: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 01:22 PM

Creating a link with Mudcat using the following URL:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463

What is going to happen is that we are going to create the following standard HTML for an <a> tag, and we'll see what Mudcat does to it:
<a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463">Microsoft support</a>

Here goes:
Microsoft support


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 01:27 PM

Well, that's definitely not what happened yesterday in another thread. Let's try linker functionality

What is going to happen is that we are going to create a linkt to ...
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463
... using "Make a link ("blue clicky")"

Here goes:
Test


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 01:29 PM

That worked too.

So either the bug has more obscure trigger conditions than I thought, or else someone has changed something since yesterday.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 01:56 PM

Looking at the source, on yeserday's link you missed out the http:// having:

<a href="support.microsoft.com/kb/314463">Limitations of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP</a>


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 02:25 PM

> From: GUEST,Ed
>
> Looking at the source, on yeserday's link you missed out the http://

No, that's what resulted, but is not what I pasted. I did on the MS page to take me into the address bar, to copy the address, and then to paste it into the link. I don't see how that can have removed the "http://"?

But, let us suppose for a moment that somehow I did. WTF is Mudcat's software trying to make a local link out of a URL the first section of which ends in a TLD?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 02:28 PM

Jeez,

> I did on the MS page to take me into the address bar, to copy the address, and then to paste it into the link.

Three keystrokes have been removed there:
<Alt-D>
<Ctrl-C>
<Ctrl-V>


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 02:47 PM

If you dont like Mudcat , you dont have to come here , do you ??


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 02:54 PM

The difference in how mudcat posts the link appears to depend on whether the program that runs the site recognizes what you enter as a global link (that starts with an http or www or both) or interprets what you enter (by typing or by copy/paste) as a local link. If it's read as a local link, mudcat assumes it's local on mudcat and adds mudcat.org to the start of what it assumes is a "bookmark name" so that the link will work if clicked from outside mudcat - i.e. if someone just copies the link and pastes it on another site.

A problem occasionally arises when you're on another site that uses a lot of local links. In some browsers and on some sites if you're at a bookmark on a site the browser address bar may show only the local link you used to get there, so if you just paste what you copy from there into a mudcat post, it is a local link but unfortunately it's not local to mudcat. My experience has been that this happens extremely rarely, but I think I've seen it. On those rare instances, I unfortunately didn't record every step, but the results were bad links that required a "different entry" at the target site.

One site where I previously observed the "local link" display no longer shows it on bookmarks I checked just now, but that's possibly due to current IE doing a better job of "completing the addresses" in the address bar just as mudcat attempts to do in links for some cases.

The recommended "standard practice" here is that when you have your post ready to go you check Preview and Submit to see what's going to post, then right-click and "open in new tab" for all the links in your post (in the preview) and make sure they go where you intend. When everything works, you hit Submit again and you'll get what you expect.

This works so well that I NEVER, EVER, AT ANY TIME, Post anything without previewing it first (except when I forget to).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 03:28 PM

> From: JohnInKansas
>
> The difference in how mudcat posts the link appears to depend on whether the program that runs the site recognizes what you enter as a global link (that starts with an http or www or both) or interprets what you enter (by typing or by copy/paste) as a local link.

But that's just plain wrong, wrong, wrong. A URL like my own homepage, macfh.co.uk/CEMH.html, is a perfectly valid URL that no browser that I know of would misinterpret as a local relative URL.

If Mudcat is going to check and edit URLs on the fly, then it should do it properly*. Anything else is going to fail under some circumstance or other, and result in behaviour that is sufficiently close to that of malware that some might instinctively distrust the site. It would be better not to do attempt it at all than to attempt it and get it wrong.

* Getting it right is going to be far, far more difficult and involved than most people would ever imagine:

+ Check for the presence or absence of http://, https://, or ftp:// at the beginning. Reject file:// or [A-Za-z]:\

+ Check for a TLD at the end of the first section
    *.com
    *.org
    etc
    *.co.[country code]
    *.org.[country code]
    etc

+ Check for a valid IP as the complete first section, but reject those lying in the Link Local, Local DHCP, or localhost ranges

+ Check for 'localhost' as the complete first section

+ Check for and allow non-standard ports ending the first section

? Do you try to decode the URL if it has been copied, say, from a search engine result that has encoded it?
    &mp; becomes &
    %20 becomes a space
    %2F becomes /
    %3F becomes ?
    %3D becomes =
    etc

Etc, etc.

Trying to correct a URL is far from simple, and if you're not prepared to invest a great deal of time and effort in testing the result *exhaustively*, then it's probably better not to even attempt it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 04:11 PM

If you are typing your code longhand or using the link creator the html is visible. What you see is what you get.

Now if you were complaining that valid BB code didn't work .....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 04:24 PM

> From: GUEST,Peter
>
> What you see is what you get.

Unfortunately, that is the exact OPPOSITE of the truth. What I typed was NOT what I got, and that's the whole problem right there. Mudcat corrupted a perfectly valid URL complete with a TLD by trying to convert it into a local relative URL.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 06:26 PM

" like my own homepage, macfh.co.uk/CEMH.html, is a perfectly valid URL"

According to my copies of a couple of issues of the HTML standards, the "http://" leader on a URL is a required part of a full legal URL. It specifies the "server type" on which the target is located.

The next thing after the http;// is the server name, and it's only by custom that many people "name" their main portal server "www." Many people do use the www to distinguish that server from other servers they use for internal traffic on their networks.

You can paste a "site name" that lacks the server specification, but ALL BROWSERS that I've seen will automatically find a site for a "brief name" that's been assigned an IP address, and WILL INSERT THE HTTP:// when that's what it finds. (Portal servers with type-specs other than "http" do exist but they're exceedingly rare on the open web).

The first server that receives your request for a connection will insert the complete IP NUMBER that identifies the target page, and that IP NUMBER is associated with a full "alpha name" for the target, that INCLUDES THE SERVER TYPE SPECIFICATION (http://) for the target SERVER on which the page is located.

The LEGALLY CONSTRUCTED COMPLETE URL for your site is http://macfh.co.uk/CEMH.html and that's what should show in the address bar of any browser that gets you there.

The same is true for Microsoft.com, which is a sufficient "address" for your ISP, or any inline passthrough server, to redirect you to the actual URL which is http://www.microsoft.com, and http://www.microsoft.com is the URL that should be displayed in your browser address bar if you're connected to that site.

If you just clicked onto the address bar and copied, that's what you would have had to paste.

IN IE, YOU COULD NOT HAVE COPIED THE URL FROM YOUR BROWSER without having the full and complete URL "http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314463" being included in the copy, unless you "did a sloppy swipe" to pick up what you thought you were copying and missed part of it. A "first click" on the address bar in IE, and probably in other browsers, highlights and selects the entire URL and if you copied without clicking again you would have gotten the entire complete and correct URL, including the http://..

Your site name as you stated it is sufficient, once it's been assigned a valid IP address, for a server to pull up the IP and get the full "alpha URL", which it will display while it uses the IP address to locate and connect to your site, but the full and complete alpha-URL for the site MUST INCLUDE THE SERVER TYPE which in your case is http://. When I connect to your site, the COMPLETE, AND APPARENTLY CORRECT, URL DISPLAYED is http://macfh.co.uk/CEMH.html.

The alpha-URLs that we commonly use can't really be called "absolutely correct" since a certain degree of "shorthand" is allowed in order to permit easily remembered "addresses." The only truly "correct" way to address a web page is by using the numerical IP address, and you can use those in a browser address bar, although I can't recommend using them in links since they're very specific and every failure is a total failure.

The "rememberable alpha addresses" can be interpreted by the servers that pass things along on the web, so the servers can help some with the addresses that contain omissions or very simple errors.

Direct use of the numerical IP assignments also just became a little more difficult since AS OF TODAY the "official format" for IP addresses suddenly became 24 HEX NUMBERS instead of just the 10 decimal numbers everybody's been used to, but that's in the other thread.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 06:39 PM

> From: JohnInKansas
>
> The first server that receives your request for a connection will insert the complete IP NUMBER that identifies the target page

You seem to be either being sloppily ambiguous here, or else are genuinely mistaken. An IP number identifies a server, not a page on a server.

But apart from that, and that your are rather "teaching your grandma how to suck eggs", as the saying goes, what is your point in relation to my complaint about Mudcat corrupting valid URLs?

I see nothing in your post that justified Mudcat's corruption of the original URL.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 06:59 PM

An IP number is required for ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET. Every time your computer connects to an ISP, your computer must either produce its IP number or must get a new one for the duration of the connection from your ISP. The IP number is used up to the connection with the physical device where the information resides, and normal "file/directory tree" structures are generally used to reach a specific file.

With respect to your imagined "error" at mudcat, you need to recognize that a URL that doesn't start with http:// or www is not a complete and legal URL and will be treated as a local link to a bookmark, with the assumption that the bookmark is to a file at mudcat.

Your explanation that "you never made a mistake" doesn't really hold much water, and I think it's time for you to write it off as a "SHIT HAPPENS" incident and get on with whatever interests you.

Bye

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 07:31 PM

> From: JohnInKansas
>
> An IP number is required for ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET.

Exactly, in this context a server, not a page.

> Every time your computer connects to an ISP, your computer must either produce its IP number or must get a new one for the duration of the connection from your ISP. The IP number is used up to the connection with the physical device where the information resides, and normal "file/directory tree" structures are generally used to reach a specific file.

Sigh! I worked in IT from the 80s until I retired. More egg-sucking.

Previously ...

> The next thing after the http;// is the server name, and it's only by custom that many people "name" their main portal server "www." Many people do use the www to distinguish that server from other servers they use for internal traffic on their networks.

... and now ...

> With respect to your imagined "error" at mudcat, you need to recognize that a URL that doesn't start with http:// or www is not a complete and legal URL and will be treated as a local link to a bookmark, with the assumption that the bookmark is to a file at mudcat.

So there's a mutual contradiction there. If you are saying that the URL HAS to begin "http://", why is "www" also being scanned for? And if your answer is "because conventionally etc", then "conventionally etc" any URL not beginning "http://" but containing a TLD is no more or less valid or invalid than one beginning "www" but not "http://www". The most important part of the first section of the URL is the TLD, the second most important the domain name, then any other intervening subdomains, and only then the www subdomain. www is the least important part of the first section of the URL, in fact it's so unimportant that these days it's often omitted altogether.

Mudcat should be checking for a TLD, or not at all.

In a previous thread:

> GUEST Harrison. You apparently used the mudcat "linkmaker" that sometimes fails by adding some extraneous mudcatmudbits to the URL. Some people use it with no problems but I'm not quite that smart, I guess.

... and here ...

> Your explanation that "you never made a mistake" doesn't really hold much water

So again a contradiction. You say in one place that it might have been something to do with Mudcat's system and in another that it must have been me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jun 12 - 07:44 PM

I've always admired JohnInKansas's intelligence and knowledge. (Bye.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jun 12 - 08:58 AM

Executive summary:
When you put a url into a web browser, it inserts the "http://" prefix if it's not already there (and there isn't some other protocol prefix like "file://" or "ftp://")

When you embed a link in a web page, the absence of a protocol prefix (the "http://" bit) is taken as a shorthand for "on this site", and since most sites have many local links this is a very useful shorthand.

Mudcat's software does nothing special with links, it just puts in exactly what you typed. You have to follow the usual rule for a link in a web page. Anyone who's ever written any HTML knows this and is used to it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: GUEST,Guest Charles Macfarlane Harrison
Date: 07 Jun 12 - 10:10 AM

> Mudcat's software does nothing special with links, it just puts in exactly what you typed.

NO IT DOESN'T! How many times must this be pointed out?!

If it genuinely left the links alone, I'd be completely happy, but it doesn't. It tries to second-guess what the user intended, but gets it wrong, because it is using the wrong criteria to make the judgement, and the result is a corrupted link. As this is very like the behaviour of some malware, which alters links to point to infectious pages, it could give a really, really bad impression to those who don't completely understand what went wrong.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: treewind
Date: 07 Jun 12 - 10:49 AM

"It tries to second-guess what the user intended"

So you say, but at the top of this thread you show that you are unable to reproduce the behaviour that you are claiming happened just once on another thread.

It's a common mistake to forget the http:// prefix in a link, but leaving aside human error, I've never encountered Mudcat being inconsistent in its this respect and stripping that prefix off a pasted link that included it.

I suspect finger trouble and you didn't actually copy or paste what you think you did. I know that's what I'd assume if it happened to me.

Watch carefully and see if it happens again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Mudcat linking
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jun 12 - 09:01 PM

Our programmer Jeff (long since gone) made the "blickifier" one evening as an experiment, to see if he could design a dummy-proof link maker. It works well in most circumstances, but there are times when a real dummy can confound it. It you're not satisfied with it, might I suggest that you learn to make links yourself? I can do them much faster than the "blickifier" can do them, so I never use the "blickifier." Here are my standard instructions:

<a href="http://www.mudcat.org">Click here</a>

<a href="mailto:joe@mudcat.org">Click to e-mail</a>

(I don't use e-mail links any more because so many people use Web-based e-mail servers that don't work with e-mail links)

If you're posting links at Mudcat, the quotation marks are optional. I prefer not to use them, because they complicate the task of making links. Simple is better, I think. Fewer misteaks.

To explain the colors:

  • The black part is the standard, required part of every link.
  • The red part is the Target URL (address) where you want the link to take people to. Unless the URL leads to another page on the current Website, it must include the full address that's in the address bar of your browser, including the http://. This may be enclosed in quotation marks, but the quotation marks are optional.
  • The blue part is the reference word (that's what the "ref" refers to). This word can be anything, or it can be the target URL repeated, if that adds to clarity.

I find it's best to open a new browser window [CTRL-N] and navigate your way to the site you want to link to. Highlight and copy [CTRL-C] the URL (address) of the site, and then go back to your Mudcat message and paste [CTRL-V] the URL into your link. Be sure to include the http:// in that URL. The quotation marks are standard procedure, but most links work just fine without quotation marks.
-Joe Offer-


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