Friday, June 23, 2006

Bad typing, good tips

So I've been doing a lot of testing and I type out these enormous URLs over and over and my fingers after a while go and do their thing without me. It's funny how they can type what they should and I don't even think about it. And they usually get it right.

But just now, in IE7, I (well, my fingers) hit return before I got to the .html and I expected a 404 but it never happened. The page actually showed up. And I immediately thought, oh IE, they're just adding one more little shortcut thing. But then I checked it in Firefox for both Windows and Mac (and Opera 8, IE5.5-win, Netscape 4.7 Win, and Safari 1.3) and it does the same thing.

Since when don't you have to type the extension for the file in a URL?? It even works if you make an extension-less link in an (X)HTML document:

try me

And what happens if you have a folder with the same name? Well, I tried that and if you do have a folder with the same name, the browser chooses the folder (sigh of relief). Hmm. Take back the sigh of relief. If the browser has the file in its cache, it may show that instead of the folder contents until you do a Refresh.

keyboard (If you clicked the keyboard.html link first, you may have to Refresh here to see the folder contents.)

And what happens if don't specify an extension but it turns out you have two files with the same name but one with .htm and one with .html. The .htm gets picked every time:

No L

Is that a server thing? Where have I been? It seems sort of a basic thing I missed during the last ten years.

It's kind of cool, but sort of disconcerting in a way for a do-it-by-hand control-freak like me.

A side note and thank you to Mr. Berkman, my highschool typing teacher who taught me one of the most useful skills I have.


Alex said...


I thought your findings were interesting and checked it out myself, because like you i've never noticed this before!

I tried it on IIS, Xtami and Apache. I couldn't reprouce what you were seeing on any of the servers except for Apache.

It looks like it's one of Apache's many plugin/extentions at work!

Can you confirm your results were on an apache server?

Liz Castro said...

Of course, I should have thought it was the server... yes, my site is on Apache.



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