<input type="discriminate">


Fighting the falsehoods about where developers are found online.

I was filling some “professional profile” form (totally not for job hunt!) when I approached this field:

GitHub profile field

In the hope of nobody caring about the exact origin of my “githubish” profile, I entered a URL of my GitLab one, only to get an error (validation says “Wrong URL”):

GitHub profile field - "Wrong URL" error

I’ve seen way too many forms where fields could be perfectly freeform, but got artificially constrained. For some reason, URL inputs seem to be favorite target.

Please stop adding such validations, and feel encouraged to erase them in projects you manage or develop. Seriously, close this article now, fix it and then get back.

I get it: GitHub is the go-to platform for everyone that learns VCS, builds their coding portfolio or wants to contribute to famous open-source projects. But GH being defacto git provider doesn’t justify forcing me to be there, just for the sake of meeting your wrong assumptions about where people host their code.

It doesn’t limit to repositories, of course. Take “careerish” websites. It makes sense for a software developer to craft their resume in JSON, fill some Stack Overflow Developer Story or even stick to some local platform like GoldenLine. Yet, the whole world is going to be asking specifically for LinkedIn profile.

Let’s say I’ve gathered a lifelong worth of code on Bitbucket, serve my beautiful (and always updated) CV as .docx file ofer the FTP and communicate with my friends through OnlyFans since day 1. Then I can’t share any of this merry information with you, because you are tunnel-visioned on the trio of GH/LI/FB, so I feel like a fucking noname and walk away.

I know what’s not the motivation for this state of affairs: monetary one. You aren’t getting 10¢ for every submitted form containing, let’s say, a Twitter handle, are you? So why doing free publicity for them?

Solution: go lazy & friendly at the same time. Allow freeform URL input whenever you wish to see some external content provided by your user, like below:

Going back to my professional profile (again: totally not for job hunt!), it soon became clear that they limited the input to GitHub URLs just because they later present the entered value next to a brand icon. But, they also had shitty validation elsewhere so I ended up with this:

GitHub icon with GitLab link

I can’t be angry with them :)