Cruft-free URLs

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Blogging
August 19th, 2003 • 10:01 pm

The move to “cruft-free” URLs for blog pages (i.e. URLs with no user-hostile content) appears to be a hot topic these days. Reading an item such as Mark Pilgrim’s “Cruft-free URLs in Movable Type“, however, along with the many, many comments and feedback items listed under it, is giving me a bit of a headache.

I have nothing against it in principle. I too would much rather have a URL scheme for my blog that would be based on URLs such as this:

http://www.latext.com/pm/betalogue/2003/08/19/cruft-free-urls

instead of the current

http://www.betalogue.com/index.php?p=68

The problem is that achieving the desired URL format is far too complicated for the average blog writer. I, for one, have to deal with 1) the limitations of the blogging tool that I use (pMachine); 2) the fact that I know too little about the underlying technologies to be able to do much hacking; 3) the fact that there is still quite a bit of debate over what would constitute the ideal URL format.

For the moment, I’ve followed pMachine’s instructions for producing Google-friendly URLs — and I am hoping that the URLs produced are good enough, not only for automatic search engines, but also for most readers. I wish they were better, but I’m too busy working on all kinds of other things.

The good news about this is that, as far as I understanding, since URLs are created on the fly by the underlying publishing engine, it shouldn’t be too hard to change things in the future — provided that backward compatibility is guaranteed and that, if people have existing links in their pages to pages on my site using the existing URL format, these links will still work.

I guess I’ll have to keep an eye on what pMachine comes up with in the future.

This doesn’t get rid of my headache, but it helps.


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