This post was published in April 2009 and may contain facts or opinion that are no longer current.

My Rev is Very Canonical

It’s the day before exams start here at university, so needless to say I’ve got my priorities straight and am messing around with things on my blog.

There’s been big discussion on the Internet for a few weeks now, I think, on rev=canonical. If you need to get up to speed, take a quick look at Jeremy Keith’s post titled Revving up. I’ll wait, it’s ok. You can even skim or speed read if you’re desperate to get back here.

So, the benefits should be obvious. Providing short URLs from a domain that you have control of, so as not to rely on a third party service. That’s how I interpret it, anyway. It’s important to note that big sites like Flickr are already implementing this, taking links like and turning them into Cool stuff, definitely.

I have an incredibly short attention span. There, I said it. If you’re like me, with the concentration of a tired racoon, here’s what you need to do. Readers, consumers, everybody: grab the rev=canonical bookmarklet created by Simon Willison and use that to find short URLs before other services. Creators, bloggers, people with a website: if you’re using WordPress, install the WordPress rev=canonical plugin which will provide shortened URLs for your blog or site. Everybody’s trying to reduce the impact that linkrot could have, one step at a time.

And there you have it. Every article on this blog now has a short(er) URL, which you can find using the bookmarklet I linked above. Those links will be good for as long as this blog is around, which is potentially longer than URL shortening services. The link for this post is

Small update

The plugin broke fairly soon after I implemented it this morning, possibly because of a 301 redirect I have going on from to Duncan Robertson, the plugin’s author, replied to my plea for help within half a day with a fix for the issue, so massive thanks to him. I’m sure an updated version will be released on his site that sorts this problem.


By Sam Johnston on 05 May 2009 at 16:10:

You might want to check out rel=shortlink as rev=canonical is quite broken.


By Alex Muller on 07 May 2009 at 14:19:

I’ll have a look at that, thanks Sam :)

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From 12PM on Sunday April 26, 2009

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