Flic.kr links recently began appearing on Twitter and around the web, so I did a little bit of digging. Twitter has brought about a wild storm of URl shortening services, and some issues surrounding them. James Duncan Davidson has a good summing up of these, and some of the solutions.

One of these solutions is to use a link tag on a page to give an alternative short URL. Flickr has started to support this, as so…

On a photo page, say http://www.flickr.com/photos/douglasfshearer/3447346323/, we find in the source:

Twitter clients can now take a pasted Flickr link, and go look up this short url on the Flickr page, without making use of a third party service such as tr.im. Good stuff.

This also works for user accounts, as an example, mine would be http://flic.kr/douglasfshearer.


The short photo URL is the photo ID converted to Base58, so you need to turn one into the other.

The item that really brought this to my attention was Fraser Speirs Base58Encode Objective-C class, ideal for those of you making Twitter clients.

I’ve released a RubyGem for this, Base58, and a CLI script that takes a flickr URL and gives you the short version.