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Using relative URLs

From: HTML Essential Training (2012)

Video: Using relative URLs

Relative URLs are URLs that don't specify a complete host and path. Let's go ahead and open up relative.html. I'm not going to make a working copy here because we're not going to be changing anything, but I want to show it to you in the editor. And here we have a normal little HTML document. You'll notice that this link here, instead of having a whole URL, it just has a file name, page1.html. So what happens with that is that the browser comes along and it says, oh, a relative URL. So it'll construct a complete URL and it'll use this as the basis of that, and so what it does is it says, well, where did I get this document? I got this document on this host and at this path.

Using relative URLs

Relative URLs are URLs that don't specify a complete host and path. Let's go ahead and open up relative.html. I'm not going to make a working copy here because we're not going to be changing anything, but I want to show it to you in the editor. And here we have a normal little HTML document. You'll notice that this link here, instead of having a whole URL, it just has a file name, page1.html. So what happens with that is that the browser comes along and it says, oh, a relative URL. So it'll construct a complete URL and it'll use this as the basis of that, and so what it does is it says, well, where did I get this document? I got this document on this host and at this path.

I am going to take that host and path all the way up to the file name and I am going to replace the file name with whatever is here. So we have a path here. Let me go ahead and open this in the browser so you can see what that looks like. It's a file path. See, it starts with the file scheme and then it's got this path/users/billweinman blah, blah, blah, all the way up to Chap07/relative.html. So what the browser will do is it says, I'm looking for this page1.html in the path where the current document is, and so just take this relative.html and it'll replace that with page1.html.

And if I hover my mouse over this, you'll notice down here at the bottom of the browser, you'll see that constructed URL. It's everything up to Chap07 and it's page1.html. So when I click on that, I get this page1 document. Let's take a look at that. We'll open that in our text editor, page1.html, and we see here, it's the same document basically, and we have a couple of things. We have a link to, and here it is, a link to page2, but you'll notice that this has a subdirectory.

Again it's a relative URL. It doesn't begin with a slash. It doesn't begin with HTTP or anything like that, and it says subdir/page2.html. So the browser will go through the same process. It'll take the current path to this page1.html that it's opened up and it's found this URL in, and it'll replace page1.html with whatever it sees here, which starts with "subdir/page2.html." So if we look at this in the browser, see, we have our current path has everything up to Chap07.

And if I hover with this page 2, you see down here at the bottom it says Chap07/subdir/page2. And if we look here in our file system, you see we have a subdir, and there is the page2.html. So when I click on this link, it brings up that page2. And let's just bring that up in the editor, and we can look at that. And you'll notice a couple of things in here. One is the style sheet. You'll notice back in our other documents, if I bring up page1.html, you notice our style sheet here, it says main.css in the href. And if I bring up page2 you'll notice it says ../main.css, and the link back to page1 has ../page1. So this ..

is a special thing. Actually, it comes from UNIX file systems, and it means the directory of the previous level relative to this document. In other words, when we look up here at this whole path up to page 2 and we see that the current directory is subdir, what it'll do is it sees that .. so it takes one out, and it'll go back to Chap07, and it'll construct that URL, so you see the URL says Chap07 page1.html down there at the bottom of the screen and here it says ../page1.

The same thing for the CSS, because our CSS file is in the previous directory. See, it's right there. So this href for the CSS works exactly the same way, and you can have relative URLs there too as well. We've been doing that all along. If we look at the URL in page1, it just says main.css. That's a relatively URL. It means in the current directory. So let's go ahead and click on our back-to-page-1 link, and you see now we're back in Chap07 and click on original document. See, now we are back at the original document.

So relative URLs are a great way to refer to objects within the same file space. Be careful though; it takes some effort to maintain relative links as you move your documents around on your site.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for HTML Essential Training (2012)
HTML Essential Training (2012)

82 video lessons · 104117 viewers

Bill Weinman
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      56s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    3. What you need to know about this course
      2m 51s
  2. 22m 0s
    1. What is HTML?
      4m 12s
    2. Examining the structure of an HTML document
      7m 50s
    3. Understanding tags and containers
      6m 4s
    4. Exploring content models in HTML5
      2m 23s
    5. Looking at obsolete elements
      1m 31s
  3. 27m 19s
    1. Understanding whitespace and comments
      3m 53s
    2. Displaying text with paragraphs
      3m 37s
    3. Applying style
      8m 5s
    4. Using block and inline tags
      6m 34s
    5. Displaying characters with references
      5m 10s
  4. 16m 36s
    1. Exploring the front matter of HTML
      2m 9s
    2. Applying CSS to your document
      3m 59s
    3. Adding scripting elements
      4m 54s
    4. Using the meta tag
      3m 34s
    5. Optimizing your page for search engines
      2m 0s
  5. 24m 59s
    1. Controlling line breaks and spaces
      2m 46s
    2. Exploring phrase elements
      1m 44s
    3. Using font markup elements
      1m 5s
    4. Highlighting text with mark
      1m 29s
    5. Adding headings
      1m 38s
    6. Using quotations and quote marks
      3m 2s
    7. Exploring preformatted text
      1m 45s
    8. Formatting lists
      2m 28s
    9. Forcing text direction
      3m 49s
    10. Suggesting word-break opportunities
      2m 29s
    11. Annotating East Asian languages
      2m 44s
  6. 29m 15s
    1. Introducing CSS
      55s
    2. Understanding CSS placement
      6m 55s
    3. Exploring CSS syntax
      10m 34s
    4. Understanding CSS units of measure
      3m 3s
    5. Some CSS examples
      7m 48s
  7. 22m 5s
    1. Using images
      4m 13s
    2. Flowing text around an image
      4m 55s
    3. Breaking lines around an image
      3m 3s
    4. Aligning images
      5m 25s
    5. Mapping links in an image
      4m 29s
  8. 22m 28s
    1. Understanding URLs
      2m 41s
    2. Working with hyperlinks
      3m 28s
    3. Using relative URLs
      4m 20s
    4. Specifying a base URL
      2m 19s
    5. Linking within a page
      4m 12s
    6. Using image links
      5m 28s
  9. 17m 2s
    1. Exploring list types
      3m 52s
    2. List elements in depth
      7m 44s
    3. Using text menus with unordered lists
      5m 26s
  10. 15m 30s
    1. Introduction to HTML semantics
      4m 9s
    2. Exploring an example
      4m 56s
    3. Marking up figures and illustrations
      2m 33s
    4. Creating collapsible details
      3m 52s
  11. 11m 18s
    1. Embedding audio
      5m 19s
    2. Embedding video
      5m 59s
  12. 11m 53s
    1. Creating ad-hoc Document Object Model (DOM) data with the data-* attribute
      4m 53s
    2. Displaying relative values with meter
      2m 57s
    3. Creating dynamic progress indicators
      4m 3s
  13. 4m 49s
    1. Overview of HTML5 microdata
      1m 8s
    2. Exploring an example with microdata
      3m 41s
  14. 7m 3s
    1. Understanding outlines
      52s
    2. A demonstration of outlining
      6m 11s
  15. 13m 1s
    1. Table basics
      7m 29s
    2. Exploring the semantic parts of a table
      2m 32s
    3. Grouping columns
      3m 0s
  16. 9m 55s
    1. Frames overview
      54s
    2. Using traditional frames
      4m 26s
    3. Exploring inline frames using iframe
      2m 7s
    4. Simulating frames with CSS
      2m 28s
  17. 53m 7s
    1. Introducing forms
      10m 24s
    2. Using text elements
      10m 12s
    3. Using checkboxes and radio buttons
      2m 37s
    4. Creating selection lists and dropdown lists
      5m 14s
    5. Submit and button elements
      8m 48s
    6. Using an image as a submit button
      2m 15s
    7. Keeping context with the hidden element
      3m 0s
    8. Setting tab order
      2m 7s
    9. Preloading an autocomplete list using the datalist feature
      5m 26s
    10. Displaying results with output
      3m 4s
  18. 19m 47s
    1. Touring a complete site
      2m 14s
    2. Touring the HTML
      8m 44s
    3. Touring the CSS
      8m 49s
  19. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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