#nohttp #save5chars

I had an interesting idea on Twitter today:

It would be great if we didn't need to type http:// for urls in twitter. How about we start using just // #nohttp #save5chars

This came about because I’m tired of wasting 5 of my 140 characters because I need to typing http:// in-front of urls. There’s no reason we need to include http://, the same way that we shouldn’t need to type www. in-front of a domain.

All we need to do is agree on a default case for a url and I think that we can all agree–without argument–that the default case for any url is to use the http protocol. Want to link to an ftp site or something then go ahead and enter ftp:// but if there isn’t one, can’t we just assume http://?

My proposal to keep just // would save 5 characters and still allow people to enter /things/like/directory/paths without becoming links. I had originally thought of saving another character by using something like % but then there’s an odd look to the url (%example.com) and other protocols wouldn’t include the % either (ftp://example.com). Likewise leaving off the // entirely poses a problem for acronyms and initialisms that use a period.

Software and pattern matchers will need to be updated to allow an optional http: and it will take time to propagate to all interfaces but similar things have happened already. After all the # tag didn’t mean anything until people started using it and now they’re all linked just as easily.

The post ‘#nohttp #save5chars’ was first published by Jeffrey Sambells on