If you want a browser to display a URL as a clickable link, that URL must be inside a properly formated <a>nchor tag. If your users are just entering URLS in the text, and not anchor tags you have two choices.
Train your users to enter proper anchor tags in the data.
Create a processor that will find the url's in the text and dynamically build a URL around it.
The latter is probably easier, but it is not trival. Your best hope would be to find some code where somebody has already done this for you. CFLIB [http://www.cflib.org/] is a great place to try first.
Another thought would be to convert the text input to html. Is there a way to have the form create html from text. Or does the rich text editor insert what is entered as html?
My thought here is to get the html in, and it will be easier to output.
Okay, I have made some progress but not quite there. I am using REReplace with the my outputted variable (I found this regex online). It finds http:// and https:// and they link perfectly... but does not make www. a working link. The www. will be highlighted as a link, but it does not put the http:// in front of it. Here is my code:
<p>#REReplace(my.variable,"((((https?:)\/\/)|(www\.))[-[:alnum:]\?%,\.\/&##!@:=\+~_]+[A-Za -z0-9\/])", "<a href=""\1"" target=""_blank"">\1</a>", "ALL")#</p>
Any help is appreciated (and any easier methods is more appreciated!)
No luck on #1. I am using a cfoutput query, how would I use your #2 suggestion?