When I’m reading other people’s posts, I often click interesting links open as I find them, but Matt Webb’s post about printed QR codes in books got me thinking about how I’d often like to see a collected list of links in regular blog posts too, particularly if the article or post is a long one.
Terence Eden touches on this as well, in his post about non-fiction footnotes in ebooks - he’s actually complaining about footnotes being a relic from the days of printed text, but I’m a fan of the printed form at least. I like a giant list of references and notes to work your way through, or to refer back to.
I write almost exclusively in markdown nowadays and I’m used to the square-bracket-round-bracket way of linking;
[here's an example](http://example.com), but you can also link in Reference Style like this:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a [hobbit-hole], and that means comfort. : <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobbit#Lifestyle> "Hobbit lifestyles"
You get a nice list of links at the end of your writing, as well as the overall piece being easier on the eye to read. I think I first encoutered reference style links via Stack Overflow in their editor:
This blog is made in Jekyll which has a really nice plugin architecture, and after my first successful bash making jekyll-lazy-gist-embedding plugin which was pretty much a straight copy of an existing plugin, I thought I’d have a go at producing one that can extract all the links in a post and then append them to the end of the article.
Thanks to that, it was super easy to make jekyll-extract-links which you should see in action, at the very end of this post.
For each link in a post, the plugin saves the linking text, the full href and a tidied href, which has any campaign utm or Chrome deep text-fragment links removed, which can often make the URL pretty unreadable.