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Markdown support for URLs without a protocol

Why does the Markdown engine used by SE require links to start with http://?

It's a good practice, sure, but why not make it a wee bit more friendly by automatically assuming HTTP as the default protocol if it's not specified?

[Example](http://www.example.com) renders as Example but
[Example](www.example.com) renders as Example

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marked as duplicate by Yi Jiang, animuson, Time Traveling Bobby, Martijn Pieters, Tim Stone Sep 7 '12 at 9:57

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1 Answer 1

What about ftp:// links? mailto:, gopher:, any other protocol? Don't try and second-guess what the editor wants, don't set a default.

Explicit is better than implicit, better to not link than to assume a default.

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Read my question, I said and now quote: "automatically assuming HTTP as the default protocol if it's not specified" –  YatharthROCK Sep 7 '12 at 8:55
    
@YatharthROCK: Yes, I know. And my answer is: No, because explicit is better than implicit, I don't want assumptions to be made. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 7 '12 at 8:56
    
It doesn't even recognize mailto: and gopher:, I just tried –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 5:15
    
Are answer owners automatically notified of any comments on their answer or something? B'coz I see my mentions of you stripped out –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 5:20
    
I am automatically notified, yes. Interesting that some protocols are stripped out. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 7:05
    
Would you argue the same thing for your browser address bar? Would you really prefer typing http://www.stackexhange.com/ rather than just stackexhange.com? Also, in this system, your browser can also predict what you're typing with just 2 or 3 charsacters (sta... instead of 14 (http://www.sta...) –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 10:09
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@YatharthROCK: My browser can assume a lot more context; it's a web browser, after all, so that's not entirely a fair comparison. :-) As for auto-completion, that because you've built up a history with your browser (more context). –  Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 10:10
    
I meant as in that since it predicts based on the first few unique characters, the assuming case would require a lot less typing (as it avoids the identical, but 'mandatory' http://www.) –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 10:18
    
BTW, what's the use of adding www. before the domain name? Does it even mean anything other than 'go to the main server' instead of a dedicated one (e.g., plus.google.com/) –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 10:19
    
Your browser never adds the www. if the domain without it would work too. The domain.com server might redirect you to www.domain.com, or your browser my automatically try www.domain.com if domain.com doesn't work, but it is not the same thing at all. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 10:21
    
www.domain.com and domain.com are distinct domain names. The www. prefix is a de-facto standard, reflecting the type of protocol served by that domain. Compare that to ftp.domain.com and smtp.domain.com or mail.domain.com. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 10:22
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This standard predates the dominance of HTTP. There was once an internet without the World Wide Web, where you used telnet, ftp, email, etc. to communicate. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 8 '12 at 10:24
    
Ohhh, so it depends how your server is configured or something –  YatharthROCK Sep 8 '12 at 11:20

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