Editorial request: can some kind ed please get rid of the [repost] in the
Simple URLs are important for deep linking (ie linking to the actual page with
the content you're referring to, rather than the home page or generic topic
page). Deep linking is one of the best things about the web and should be supported
by the web's back-end (server software, protocols etc).
FRAMES ARE EVIL and subvert deep linking and bookmarking. It's well
known in the usability community that Frames
Suck, most of the time. To quote Jakob Nielsen from the previous link: "The
fundamental design of the Web is based on having the page as the atomic unit
of information, and the notion of the page permeates all aspects of the Web.
The simplicity of the original Web contributed to its ease of use and its rapid
uptake." Frames break that unified model.
They are certainly not any kind of answer to long and/or complex URLs... They
can completely bamboozle the person who wants to link to or bookmark a specific
piece of content. And should a clever person work out the link to your content
frame, they'll find it hard to navigate to other areas of your site unless you've
repeated navigation elements within that frame. So you lose the chance to draw
them into the rest of your site.
Holloway uses a good example of deep linking to link to the detailed page about
mod_rewrite. The details were not necessary for the comprehension of his article,
but the link was there for the curious. What a pain it would be if he could
only link to the apache home page and you had to search for the term. Would
you bother? Would it piss you off?
In addition, URLs are often quoted in printed matter - long and/or complex
URLs with lots of =#%& type characters are prone to typos. Another good
reason to simplify them.
As for the issue of dynamic content, having the content as changeable shouldn't
automatically mean that the URL needs to change as well. A page composed of
various elements, a few of which are dynamically loaded based upon context often
use a template system for layout and each component in the template points to
variables that call content from a database. I worked on a site (as project
manager) based on Vignette Story Server,
and we had to use the URL (we called it a cURL, c being for context) to load
the correct content into the correct layout templates. It would have been a
terrific long-term goal of this site (Medweb)
to simplify the cURLS in a similar way to what Holloway describes. In terms
of usability and maintainability, it would have been a big bonus for this site,
which syndicates and co-locates content with other sites.
On a personal note, I HATE having to add .php or .php3 to my URLS! It's ugly
and I am forced to create home pages without PHP code so I can at least have
a decent home URL. grrr! If there's already a way around that, please
let me know.
WIP, SEX, WOW, MQ, LQS, HST...