Stephen Paul Weber has coded up a rev=”canonical” WordPress plugin .
update: and so has Steve Winton
and whomwah has another
I’m really digging the rev=”canonical” wave. However, for completeness, I’m trying to think of ways to link to additional url shorteners. Say my post has been shortened by trim and bitly, as well as my own shortener. Borrowing another idea from CSS stylesheets, I could link to all three shortened forms using rev=canonical, while specifying my shortener as the preferred one. The HTML 4.01 spec states that any rel=’alternate’ stylesheets without a title attribute are treated as ‘preferred’ and that any stylesheets with a title attribute are treated as named alternate stylesheets (grouped by name). We can extend the rev=canonical idea in this manner. For example: http://www.dopplr.com/place/gb/london/eat/shepherdess-cafe could link to the following:
The above links specify the dplr.it service as the preferred shortened link by virtue of it lacking a @title. The other 2 links each have a designated @title. Potential uses include updating the RevCanonical service to also allow as input a requested service. It would return the shortened URL matching the @title given. If no service is requested by name, the default (preferred) short link is returned.
Jason, how does the content publisher know the identifier their content has been assigned by a 3rd party URL shortener?
Another AppEngine type of service could easily be written to check the major shortening services similar to http://backtweets.com/. BackTweets provides a method to see any URLs that have been posted on twitter, and it also resolves the shortened forms as well. A simple server side cron script could be written to go check this service and save the alternate forms in the publisher’s database. Or I could imagine server side plugins that check the referrer header and match it against short url services. But really, all of this is secondary to the ability to publish this information. Whether it is found automatically or manually makes no difference. If one wants to be able to specify multiple short urls and claim one as preferred, this would be the perfect method.
I’ve also created a WordPress plugin called Shorter Links that does this. It also allows for setting the shorter link using a custom field.
You can find it at http://akrabat.com/shorter-links/
If I link from a document to three alternative, short URLs, I might want to have titles on all of the links, for usability and accessibility gains.
Why not a rel=”preferred”, or somesuch?
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