No, it's not about O.J.
It's about millions
of people using the
wrong addresses for
their web pages.
"You think you use the correct URL for your pages? Are you sure?"
The problem is simple: There are millions of people on Internet giving out the wrong URL's for their web pages. And they don't even realize it. Why? Because the URL that they give does work 99% of the time. So, they have no reason to doubt that it's not the right one.
Okay, here's an example. Consider these two URL's:
What?! The only difference is that slash at the end, right? What difference does that make? The difference is that if you give out the top address, it's wrong. That is not the address of my site, and if someone requests it the server will tell them that what they actually are looking for is the second address. Fortunately for the user, the browser is smart enough to respond correctly and automatically load the second one for you. So you never notice that the address is actually wrong.
Still skeptical? Watch this. This is exactly how a web browser would connect to a web server and request a page, and the response the server gives:
linux:~> telnet www.netexpress.net 80 Trying 184.108.40.206... Connected to shamu.netexpress.net. Escape character is '^]'. GET /~mkruse HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently Date: Sat, 14 Jun 1997 22:36:41 GMT Server: Apache/1.2b7 Location: http://www.netexpress.net/~mkruse/ Connection: close Content-type: text/html <HTML><HEAD> <TITLE>301 Moved Permanently</TITLE> </HEAD><BODY> <H1>Moved Permanently</H1> The document has moved <A HREF="http://www.netexpress.net/~mkruse/">here</A>.<P> </BODY></HTML> Connection closed by foreign host.
That's what the server's response is. Notice the web page I want is not there.
If the browser takes care of it, and it will actually work anyway, you may be asking yourself
why you should really care. Well, here are three good reasons:
If you're giving a URL, make sure you use the correct syntax. If you're giving a directory name and not a specific filename, make sure you end it in a / correctly. If everyone on Internet did this, imagine how much traffic would be reduced around the world. So if you've made this mistake, fix your pages and your signatures. And if you see the mistake in other places, be sure to tell the people about it.
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