When browsing a repo that has submodules with relative urls they do not get linked like a submodule with an absolute url does.
I have setup a demo here: https://github.com/apmorton/submoduledemo
Note that all three submodules point to the same repo, but one uses an absolute url and the others use relative urls.
The aboslute url submodule becomes a clickable link that takes you to the submodule repo, the others do not.
Using relative submodule urls is particularly useful when people on your team use different protocols for git (some git over ssh, some https), as the submodules will be cloned with whatever protocol the parent repo is cloned with.
Thanks for this feedback! We're always working to improve GitHub and the GitHub Community Forum, and we consider every suggestion we receive. I've logged your feature request in our internal feature request list.
Though I can't guarantee anything or share a timeline for this, I can tell you that it's been shared with the appropriate teams for consideration.
Please let me know if you have any other questions.
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I know that I have seen this requested from the community for a long time. It's actually somewhat baffling to me that what I consider the more "difficult" case (directly links, which could be to different servers) is supported, but the "simpler" case (relative links, which of course are on the same server) are not.
This is actually very important to the usability of submodules for our GitHub Enterprise users, so I'll give all the +1 that I can to this one...
BTW, another motivation to utilize relative links is to support local servers. Customers using (and paying for!) GitHub Enterprise Server may have multiple servers on their own premises. If a submodule URL is relative, it:
1. Avoids hard-coding a server name that could potentially change
2. Allows it to always point at "this server", which is useful if you have separate servers for testing, etc.