Suggestion: URLs clickable

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 Original post by OluseyiGiven the performance problems we already have with our ad server and the perceived load time for pages, you want us to take a little longer and parse for URLs? Only URLs beginning with the "http://" protocol specification, or should be recognize "www.mysite.org", too? How about country TLDs? New TLDs like .info and .name and .shop? irc://irc.afternet.org/gamedev?

Yes, only http, yes, yes, no. And the transformation would be done at post time, so it wouldn't be a drain on load time except to the extent that it saps system resources in general. Given the significant amount of text processing which is already done at post time, it should be a drop in the bucket. I can understand not wanting to fix it except at a major revision, though... that whole system could use a revamp. That outstanding bug where certain pieces of source code cause the entire post to disappear has been around for years, so I'm hoping the next version will improve on all that.

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Is it possible to have a compromise which is a javascript that linkifies anything within the post area? The work would be done client-side then. Being unable to link URLs automatically - not to mention forcing people to use HTML rather than URL tags if they want to do it themselves - has always been a bit lame.

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There are so many wysiwyg post systems available for free in both asp and php that integrating one into the forum wouldn't require more then twenty minutes to an experienced programmer, even less for one who knows the software.

hey look heres one now

I've used tinymce its html/javascript so it doesn't matter what language your using it can be integrated with ease.

The point is there are plenty of options that would allow auto linking that would not take up the servers resources but be totally client sided.

well thats my two cents anyway.

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I'm glad everyone agrees that this would be an improvement. Thanks for all the great suggestions on how to implement it without overloading the server. I'm not entirely sure why my rating has to drop every single time I make a suggestion to improve this site. I always expect people to be happy, rather than upset, about the time some of us take to suggest improvements.

[Edited by - Jason Doucette on March 21, 2008 8:14:17 AM]

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It's worth remembering however that it's rare that the staff haven't thought of simple improvements like this, so the fact that you've pointed it out isn't a great investment of your time, or in fact very helpful. I'm not saying it's unhelpful either, just neutral. On the other hand, your thread about signatures was a repeat of something that's been said many times before, and which you could have checked, so it just wastes bandwidth. People get a bit bored of having to answer the same question over and over.

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I'm aware that some of these things have been brought up. But, when the same issues remain 6 years later, it's sometimes worthy to bring them up again. And this is an investment of time, and it is helpful -- look at the suggestions that arose from my bringing this up. For the first time in 6 years, there's been reasonable suggestions on how to fix it. I'm glad those people participated; I rated them higher. I'm not glad that my rating had to drop for it to occur.

The reason certain things get brought up again and again is because they are dismissed improperly. This causes a waste of bandwidth, since they are bound to return. The signature thing really is a bug -- a setting set for a particular post should remain set. Everyone would agree that would be intuitive. Someone will continually bring this up until it's resolve; I guarantee it. (And I get the signature thing... no one here signs, so I'm the one annoying people. Perhaps the best thing is to simply remove the option at all, except for the first post of a thread?)

Another example: Email notification of replies could be fixed such that only one email is sent between visits. That would reduce server load, save bandwidth, and reduce the annoyance of dealing with many emails. I brought this up, but, this hasn't changed in 6 years. Sooner or later someone else will be in awe that the site operators are dealing with bandwidth issues (one reason you can't get email notifications on threads you didn't start, which is desirable), and mention this fix. I think these 'repeats' are bound to happen.

I understand this is frustrating if it's already on the to-do list. But, please understand it's also frustrating for the user dealing with the issues. After all, they are just suggestions which are ultimately to improve the site, not just a desire to argue (I'm sure the lounge is the place for that!) -- which is the ultimate waste of time.

I apologize for wasting anyone's time.

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To be frank, it's posts like your last one that tend to get people rated down more than anything. Well, the second and last paragraphs, anyway. I agree with the rest completely.

At least there is a method for the staff to track bugs now, even if it isn't visible to us. A lot of the bugs used to go unfixed for the first week, and then were completely forgotten about. It's good that we're bringing some of these issues up again (and again, and again), because we really did want them fixed the first time, and we still want them fixed now. At least now they'll be logged, and put somewhere on the list.

Regarding the actual issue at hand - I agree that there's no reason for links to not be clickable. What else is someone going to want to do with a link other than maybe go to it?

Now, if it's too draining on the server resources, then okay, that's fine. But I'm not yet convinced that it's impossible to do in a resource-conserving manner. And I'm fine with this going on the list for the next iteration of the forum software, if that's coming in say, the next year.

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Avatar God, thanks for your honesty.

It's awesome there's a bug tracker now. A great step, for sure...

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Could somebody give me a javascript regexp that will match URLs in post content, but not URLs which are being used as things like the HREF attribute in links or the SRC attribute in images, and any other places where URLs would appear in the text of a post but should not be linkified?

The best I've got so far is
/([^"]|^)((ftp|http|https):\/\/(\w+:{0,1}\w*@)?(\S+)(:[0-9]+)?(\/|\/([\w#!:.?+=&%@!\-\/]))?)/g

but apparently it's legal HTML to leave out the "" around attributes, so it won't catch those. If I were to test for " or = prior to an url then "blah=http://www.gamedev.net/" in straight post content won't autolinkify.

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What if you have your regex also search for the beginning of the anchor tag itself?

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