W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > April 2010

Re: URI length statistics "in the wild"?

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 17:15:07 +0200
Message-ID: <n2neb19f3361004080815x6839be13w6d647cb173db3f8d@mail.gmail.com>
To: Bob Aman <bobaman@google.com>
Cc: uri@w3.org
(thanks to Gannon and Erik too for replies)

On Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 5:03 PM, Bob Aman <bobaman@google.com> wrote:
>> Context for this enquiry is an investigation into the use of
>> mechanisms like QR Codes
> Something of a tangent:
> I hesitate to suggest this, since I hate URL shorteners, but in the
> context of QR codes, they don't seem too bad.  In my experience,
> camera phones have much better success rates reading QR codes
> containing smaller payloads, and I think that outweighs the
> disadvantage of URL shorteners.  Plus I'm sure many of the people
> using QR codes to transmit links are going to be interested in the
> analytics that URL shorteners can provide since there won't exactly be
> a referrer.

Yes, well if not using tinyurl.com or bit.ly.com, I think quite likely
that people encoding URIs in QR Codes will have a strong incentive to
keep them short. Most likely uses are for homepages, blogs, of people
and businesses, or lookups into databases (books, inventory etc). I
expect same likely to be true of audio encodings. So rather than have
a hard cut-off, just let the quality tail off naturally so that
above-average lengths are possible just less reliable, and that short
URIs are rewarded.

My specific interest is in stuffing links like
xmpp:bob.notube@gmail.com into machine-detectable form, eg. on a TV
screen. In testing with a 3G iPhone (ie. before they improved the lens
and focussing, I'm told) I get reasonable performance, although not

Examples for the curious:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/danbri/4382103516/ (as you can see, I'm
happily sacrificing data reliability for prettyness, by including
needless eye candy in the codes using
http://lapin-bleu.net/riviera/?p=138 and the audio codec stuff has
similar aesthetic biases...).

...in this particular scenario, a media centre box is passing it's
Jabber/XMPP URI to a nearby smartphone. We had a little discussion on
the XMPP-social list about whether passing a certificate fingerprint
in the link might also be possible, but that's perhaps a bit
ambitious. To know really what makes sense I want to run some tests on
different cameras and displays, but also to gather some more general
info about typical URI lengths.


Received on Thursday, 8 April 2010 15:15:41 UTC

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