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FAQ: Why did my post print as blank? (misused url tag)

 
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19094
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: FAQ: Why did my post print as blank? (misused url tag) Reply with quote

There is a long-standing bug in the phpBB2 forum software that causes a post to print as blank if it contains [url] tags that are misused in certain ways.

Judging from the questions that I receive, this most commonly happens when something like a spare line feed is included between tags.

For example
Code:
[url]http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=29[/url]

works fine and produces http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=29, but

Code:
[url]http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=29
[/url]

will make the post disappear.

A more subtle form often happens to me when I'm attempting to associate a URL with some other text, for example: "Check in the Frequently Asked Questions forum."

The proper way to code this line (as it's done above) is:
Code:
Check in the [url=http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=29]Frequently Asked Questions forum[/url].

Obviously that works fine.

But the whole post will disappear if the line is mis-coded ever so slightly, for example by forgetting to replace ] by = :
Code:
Check in the [url]http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=29]Frequently Asked Questions forum[/url].


The problem can also be caused by certain special characters used between URL tags. Parentheses are a common example. For example, the following URL will trigger the problem:
Code:
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_(optics)[/url]

In this case the problem can be worked around by replacing the parentheses with their URL-encoded equivalents, %28 and %29, as in:
Code:
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_%28optics%29[/url]

which gives the correct but ugly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_%28optics%29 .

To clean up the visual appearance, you can jump through the additional hoop of using the original form as replacement text for the URL-encoded form:
Code:
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_%28optics%29]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_(optics)[/url]

which gives https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_(optics)

(But of course if you mess up the use of that equal sign, the whole post will again print as blank!)


The erroneous blankness also shows up if you press the Preview button, so this is another good argument for always previewing your posts before submitting them.

--Rik

[Edit 2/11/2018 to include the issue with parentheses]
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