Hashify – your entire document in a URL
A colleague at Atlassian launched an experiment a couple of weeks ago. It’s intriguing. It’s cool. It may even be useful. It’s called “Hashify” and it puts a whole document into a URL.
David Chambers is one of the Bitbucket developers. He recently posted a link to Hashify on our intranet, with this explanation:
I’ve just released Hashify. It facilitates the sharing of information, which is never a bad thing, but it’s the way in which it does so that’s of most interest.
Hashify does not solve a problem, it poses a question: what becomes possible when one is able to store entire documents in URLs?
I find the concept fascinating – it blew my mind repeatedly for two days after it first occurred to me.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts.
Thanks David, I find the idea fascinating too.
What is Hashify?
At first glance, Hashify is a web page where you can write notes. Notice the short URL just above the editor pane, next to the Twitter link. When you start adding text in the editor pane, you’ll see that the URL disappears and is replaced by “Save.Shorten. Share”. Click those words, and you get a new URL. That is the URL for your document. You can send the URL to anyone, and they can follow the link to read your document.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Except…
- The URL is a shortened URL, supplied by bit.ly. If you copy it and paste it into your browser address bar, it will expand into something much longer.
- If you change the text of your document, you get a new URL.
- In fact, the URL contains the entire text of the document.
Here’s a Hashified document I created when I first read David’s announcement: http://bit.ly/idJWac.
Hashify even supports drag-and-drop for images. See http://bit.ly/iHXGXL.
You can create a Hashify document too
It’s very easy and quick.
- Go to any Hashify page, such as this one.
- Type your text in the editor pane on the left.
- Click “Save. Shorten. Share”. (The option appears above the editor pane when you start typing.)
- Tweet and let the world know about it. If you like, you can add the link in a comment on this blog post too.
So, what’s it for?
Well, David is not sure. The idea came to him in the tub or near a plummeting apple or something similar. It grabbed him and wouldn’t let him go until he gave it life.
So now its alive and kicking.
There’s been a lively discussion on our intranet. Here are some of the less esoteric comments posted:
- Once you’ve created a Hashify URL, it’s permanent and unchangeable. Censorship is not possible.
- Hashify represents a superb transcendence of REST where the representation is the resource. Now the identifier is the resource.
- Josh Graham pointed out that you can compose larger documents using a list of data URI links. He put the whole of Bram Stoker’s Dracula into one URL. Here’s his Hashify (use Firefox to see it): http://tinyurl.com/hashcula
There’s also a lot of discussion happening on Hacker News.
What do you think?
Is there anything cool or innovative that we could do with Hashify, especially in the technical communication world?