Parse text and create HTML links where appropriate

I am looking for the following stored procedure:

  CREATE PROCEDURE spActivateLinks

     @text varchar(8000)

  AS
     
       -- all code would go here


  GO



-------------------

I simply want it to activate any potential HTML links that are contained in the text passed to it.
The following text would be parsed and converted to a link:


  * External sites - "http://", "news://", "ftp://" etc etc
  * Local Links - "/news" or "/news/" etc etc

-----------------

Alternatively, this can be achieved in C# but I would prefer it in SQL.
  *
smaccaAsked:
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a1xConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can use SQL server string functions to do what you want.  It is tedious and verbose compared to regular expressions, but it can be done.

Here is a sample that will create a link:

DECLARE @text varchar(4000)

SET @text = 'Turn http://www.yahoo.com into a hyperlink'

DECLARE @StartIndex smallint
DECLARE @EndIndex smallint
DECLARE @URL varchar(4000)

SET @StartIndex = charindex('http:', @text)
SET @EndIndex = charindex(' ', @text, @StartIndex)
SET @URL = substring(@text, @StartIndex, @EndIndex - @StartIndex)

SELECT STUFF(@text, @StartIndex, @EndIndex - @StartIndex, '<a href="' + @URL + '">' + @URL + '</a>')

The sample is very limited.  It only handles one reference in the string.  You would have to add indexes to handle multiple instances of http in the string.  Also, it assumes that the reference ends with space, which may not be the case.  
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smaccaAuthor Commented:
I noticed that Expert Exchange already do exactly what I want to:

  * Notice how the "http://" and "ftp://" have been made into links.

That is EXACTLY what I want to achieve.

Cheers.
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HilaireCommented:
Does you text already have some html tags
like
<HTML>
<BODY>
your text here
</BODY>
</HTML>

??

Could you post a sample text for us to work on ?

Hilaire
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HilaireConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you are in a.Net environment, I'm sure this could be achieved very easily using regular expressions in your C# app.
Using merely 2-3 lines of code.
Maybe you should give it a try ?

Hilaire
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jayrodCommented:
I agree with hilaire here. I'm sure it would be possible to do some sort of string replacement. however the problem is that it would be much more effecient and easier to use a language that supports reg expressions
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arbertCommented:
I agree with the above.  It's not totally clear what you're working with, but usually it's the client application that decides if a link is encoded as an HREF--not the database app....
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HilaireConnect With a Mentor Commented:
here's a link to single lined function that should do the job

http://www.eggheadcafe.com/PrintSearchContent.asp?LINKID=423

I guess you'll manage to update the code so that it handles FTP urls too ...

Hilaire
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MustangzCommented:
I was wondering, does anyone know how to do this in ASP?
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