Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

Summary: According to the founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the double-slash in every website address was a "mistake".

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TOPICS: Browser
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The creator of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has admitted that the double slash we see in every website address was a mistake, and that if he could go back and change things, it would be to remove this oblique double punctuation.

The British scientist according to the BBC News says that the double forward-slash is "pretty pointless", with:

"[t]yping in // has just resulted in people overusing their index fingers, wasting time and using more paper".

The rest of the address is relatively important for the browser. Back in the "olden days" of the Internet, there were http protocols, gopher protocols and ftp protocols - and all followed with a colon and a double forward-slash. Now we have more protocols which are used, such as Skype and AIM to initiate a VoIP call or an instant message.

But there is practically no reference to the double forward-slash on the web, or as to why it is even there. In an interview with The Times of London, he could have easily redesigned URLs not to have the double forward-slashes in. Perhaps as a result, it would have reduced initial frustration, confusion over web addresses and saved on paper.

Perhaps along with the evolution of Web 3.0, we may well see the end of the double forward-slash. Anybody fancy visiting http:news.bbc.co.uk or http:www.zdnet.com today?

Topic: Browser

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22 comments
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  • With current browsers it is irrelevant.

    I just openned a second tab, typed in zdnet.com and VIOLA - I am here!
    kd5auq
    • About that excessive typing...

      You don't need the .com if you're using FireFox.

      And you also don't need the 2nd "n" in "openned" :)
      IT_User
    • Nitpicking

      Sorry, but VIOLA is a musical instrument. I think you meant "voila"
      jorjitop
  • Does anyone type in anything other than the name?

    Who uses http:// in a URL these days?
    ye
  • RE: Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

    the http:// seldom, but if I'm going to a specific secure URL (i.e. google mail) I use the https:// - I also frequently use the ftp:// prefix to the address. There is a reason that's there after all.
    bigsibling
  • Saved on paper?

    Is he serious? I won't even bother calculating the minute amount of toner and paper a single extra character uses in proportion to a standard letter/A4 page.

    Idiotic comment by someone smart enough to know better.
    croberts
    • I hope you were on about Berners-Lee and not me...

      I personally thought it didn't make sense, but hey
      - academics live in their heads, I am not an
      academic (yet).
      zwhittaker
    • Him (nt)

      (nt)
      croberts
    • Hey...

      He meant paper saved due to long URLs not fitting using expensive real estate on a page, which after several instances will increase the page count.

      Anybody who has printed PDFs that contain long URLs know that similar versions using URL shorteners are considerably smaller by a page for every 10 (consider a 2000 page version you would save 20 pages)
      cosuna
    • Let's see who's idiotic here

      First of all, it's 2 extra characters.

      Secondly, how many billions of times have web
      addresses been printed since he designed the protocol, what 20 years ago now?

      When you think that almost every joke, virus
      warning, photo, etc printed off the internet
      since then has had those 2 extra characters at
      least once on the page, and add them up, it
      comes to a lot of ink. Now when you compare it
      to how much ink was used total, it's not a very
      big percentage, but he was correct.
      ke6gwf
  • RE: Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

    Sure.
    http:country.domain/sublevels/etc seems is more logically
    Ivan.Bounin
  • Just using CTRL RETURN after the name solves this issue...

    ...so zdnet CTRL RETURN becomes http://www.zdnet.com.

    That key comination has been around for years (does anyone know when it was introduced?) and with some browsers allowing you to add others like CTRL + U for co.uk etc its kinda moot. But still, it really hasn't slowed down the growth of the net, has it?
    DevJonny
  • RE: Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

    GAH!!! "/" is NOT a forward slash! It's a regular slash. THIS-- "\" is a forward slash.
    Flyer22
    • That's funny, because I always thought...

      ...that "/" was the forward slash and "\" was the back slash. At least every
      MS-DOS book I ever read referred to the "\" as a back slash.
      nix_hed
    • You know naught of which you speak

      @Flyer22: submitted for your education.

      "/" is a slash, forward slash, slant, stroke, solidus, or any of several other names. Everything it seems *except* backslash.

      "\" is a backslash.

      Obviously you never used anything but Windows. Not even a command line.

      And yes, the double-slash in web addresses is pointless.
      Get-Smart
  • Next, let's ditch "www."

    There is only one letter in English with three syllables, so let's use it three times! To prove how stupid we can be.

    My http servers are registered without "www." and aliased with the accursed needless prefix for those who stubbornly insist on including it.

    If I could just persuade our web developers (who are young enough to know better) to quit putting "www." in our own web docs, I could quit being such a bitter old bast#rd.
    yonian
    • www is not a standard

      It is merely a convention that many web sites follow. If you want the browser to *try* www. as a prefix, fine.

      Here's an alternative idea that makes more sense: Why don't we just drop names altogether and go back to numeric IP addresses. Naming problem solved!
      Get-Smart
  • RE: Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

    I think "www." is a mistake too, but that's one that website owners aren't bound to repeat.

    Why use www.zdnet.com when you can use zdnet.com?
    thomasrutter
    • www

      I've run in to some sites where typing the address without "www." will lead to an address not found error. I don't get why considering most work fine without typing it. *scratches head*
      View from Here
  • RE: Double slash in Web addresses 'a bit of a mistake'

    The double-slash does have a meaning. Path specifications used to be "filename" for a local file, "/path/to/filename" for a file somewhere else on the system, and "//computername/path/to/file" for a file on a different computer (or the same computer if the computer name is omitted, which is why "file:///C:/ has three slashes, not two). This long path is then prefixed with a protocol to access that file with and you get "http://computername/path/to/file". Of course, http always requires a computer name, so what Sir Tim is saying is use of long paths like this is pretty pointless.
    markbt