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Specification 2009-05-04




Public Domain Contribution Requirement. Since the author(s) released this work into the public domain, in order to maintain this work's public domain status, all contributors to this page agree to release their contributions to this page to the public domain as well. Contributors may indicate their agreement by adding the public domain release template to their user page per the Voluntary Public Domain Declarations instructions. Unreleased contributions may be reverted/removed.


This specification is subject to a royalty free patent policy, e.g. per the W3C Patent Policy, and IETF RFC3667 & RFC3668.


RelShortLink is a brainstorm proposal with the goal of becoming an elemental microformat. The problem-space that rel-shortlink is attempting to solve must be first taken through the microformats The microformats process before any specific brainstorm can be properly evaluated, and potentially added as a microformat. Proposed usage: by adding rel="shortlink" to a [hyper]link, a page indicates that the hyperlink may be used for space constrained and/or manual entry (e.g. printed or spoken) applications and that the destination of that hyperlink carries the same meaning (even if formatting such as sort order and hightlighting is lost). Typical use cases include pasting links into microblogging services such as Twitter and anywhere manual entry is required (e.g. printed or spoken URLs).

XMDP profile

<dl class="profile">
 <dt id="rel">rel</dt>
   <a rel="help" href="">
     HTML4 definition of the 'rel' attribute.</a>  
   Here is an additional value.</p>
   <dt id="shortlink">shortlink</dt>
   <dd>Indicates that the referred resource carries the same meaning as the
       referring page (even if formatting such as sort order and highlighting
       is lost) and that the link may be used for space constrained and/or
       manual entry (e.g. printed or spoken) applications.</dd>

examples in the wild

This section is informative. Note: There are numerous uses of rel-shortlink in the wild, this is very much an incomplete list. If your site marked up with rel-shortlink, feel free to add it to the top of this list. Once the list grows too big, we'll make a separate wiki page (rel-shortlink-examples-in-wild).

normative references

informative references

inferior alternatives

  • RevCanonical
    • rev= deprecated in HTML 5
    • rev= is easily confused with rel=, thus creating extreme danger for clueless webmasters
    • implies that referring URL is the canonical URL, thus should only be used for the canonical URL itself
    • implies that a complete list of referring URLs is offered, when in fact there are infinite possibilities
    • See also mnot's Counting the ways that rev="canonical" hurts the Web
  • RelShortcut
    • Scorched earth thanks to "shortcut icon" (now just "icon" in HTML 5) - rel is a space separated list for HTML at least
  • RelShort[er]
    • Ambiguous as to whether it refers to the URL or the content itself (e.g. abstract).
  • RelShorturl
    • Too many possible permutations: short[_- ]?ur[il] -> shorturl, short_url, short-url, "short url", short_uri, short-uri, "short uri", etc. leads to implementations supporting multiple variations.
    • Intellectual property issues:
      • Trademark status claimed by (shortlink infringes no known common law or registered trademarks)
      • Copyright protected specification (shortlink specification is public domain)
      • Patent status unknown (shortlink carries a patent pledge and has no known patents)
    • No effort to standardise via the usual processes.