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Old 07-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #1
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Default [HOW TO] File Links or URLs?

I've noticed that different members have different practices when adding images to pages on the WIki. Some use file links, and some use the direct URL of the uploaded image. I'm here to say why I use file links and think that whenever possible, others should as well.

What's the Difference?
File links not only display the image, but also make the image a link to its file page. A file link looks like this in wikitext:
Code:
[[File:Example.png]]
The direct URL varies, but it is in this format:
Code:
http://www.webkinzinsider.com/w/images/7/70/Example.png
You can convert from the URL of a wiki-uploaded file to a file link by taking the name after the last slash in the URL. For example, the following URL:
Code:
http://www.webkinzinsider.com/w/images/e/e1/Topazwings.png
Would become the following file link:
Code:
[[File:Topazwings.png]]
Why You Might Not Be Using File Links

You Didn't Know About Them
If you didn't know about file links, you probably just copied and pasted the URL of the image you uploaded. There's nothing wrong with doing this, but there are several disadvantages with this method. There are, however, a few advantages or scenarios in which you'd have no other choice.

Less Distraction
One argument against file links is that the image resulting from a direct URL is not a link to a file page and therefore will not accidentally take users away from the page they're reading. I actually used to do this for that very reason. However, most people don't click on images, and the benefits of file links are greater than the disadvantages of this distraction. File links can even be used to link to a specific page.

Following Old Habits
This practice may have also come from users doing what they saw done on pages that linked to the old pet and item directories from before they were uploaded regularly to the WIki. Since the images weren't uploaded as files to the wiki, they could be conveniently summoned from the existing directory. It's perfectly okay to use direct URLs for images that are in the old database but not in the WIki, just know that you won't be able to do as much customization with those images.

Why You Should Use File Links

Convenience
All the new items and pets are uploaded to File:Itemname.png or File:Petnameavatar.png, which eliminates the need to link to the old directory. If you actually search for the uploaded file and then copy the URL, you're just doing extra work that you don't have to do.

Searchability
If you link to a file, it is actually documented on the file's page that your page links to the file. If you just copy the URL, this function does not work. Therefore, using file links makes the WIki more searchable and more interconnected.

Customization
Using file links, you have much more control over image size, position, borders, etc. that simply cannot be done with URLs. You can also use the image to link to a page. These features allow you to make the page be as attractive and useful as possible.

Consistency and Neatness
Since right now some people use links and some people copy URLs, there's a strange mix of both. This can make editing some tables get pretty messy. If everyone were to switch to file links, tables would be smaller and more consistent in the editor. While the differences between image formats in the code structure of the table have little effect on its appearance to the public, it's nice for those of who edit the coding to have some consistency.

Conclusion
While using direct URLs to show images has a place in the wiki, I think it's best to use file links whenever possible. They are more convenient, more searchable and interconnected, more customizable, and more neat and consistent. Yes, every image being a link to a file pige might be slightly distracting, but I think the benefits outweigh the distraction. Your browser has a back button for a reason. Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts below.

Last edited by hoodedwarbler13; 01-19-2014 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: File Links or URLs?

I used to use the URLs because it was easier if I was updating a collector's Page, because you'd gather items off of one page in a picture gallery, then go to the next, and it was way faster and efficient.

Also, in the case of files, typos happen and not every file is written correctly, so if it doesn't show up, you have to try to find the correct name it was put in as or just use the URL.

But, yeah, I agree file links are much better for searchability, and even if you don't know a file name when editing a page, copy the URL, the file's name is almost always the last few words at the end of the URL at least for newer files. Plus, like you said, File Links are much more customizable! Add those pages your own personal touch!
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: File Links or URLs?

View Post Originally Posted by superpenguin
I used to use the URLs because it was easier if I was updating a collector's Page, because you'd gather items off of one page in a picture gallery, then go to the next, and it was way faster and efficient.

Also, in the case of files, typos happen and not every file is written correctly, so if it doesn't show up, you have to try to find the correct name it was put in as or just use the URL.

But, yeah, I agree file links are much better for searchability, and even if you don't know a file name when editing a page, copy the URL, the file's name is almost always the last few words at the end of the URL at least for newer files. Plus, like you said, File Links are much more customizable! Add those pages your own personal touch!
Yes, to go from a URL to a file link (if the image isn't in the off-wiki database) then you can just use the Filename.png at the end of the URL to make a file link.
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