The best URLs

Simon Willison has a good write-up about the importance of unambiguous URLs, i.e. “that any logical piece of content should have one and only one definitive URL, with any alternatives acting as a permanent redirect”.

Simon gives a good example of how the exposure of one particular site is diluted within a social bookmarking service because its home page has four different URLs. Making sure that a resource has a unique URL has other benefits, most notably in facilitating site statistics and traffic analysis (although most stats packages will provide some way to aggregate "default" index names, aliases and missing trailing slashes, which in a way tends to hide the problem).

This is webmaster trivia, and — besides making them readable, reliable and hackable — good webmasters will knock two birds with one stone by also making their URLs cruft-free, hiding whatever technology they're using under the hood (and making everybody's life easier for future site redesigns or evolution).

(And, of course, I'm not applying the advice here, yet. should redirect to, I'm just getting lost at my own Apache redirect maze :p)

1 Comment

Great point on stats packages - I'd completely forgotten about how frustrating it is to make sense of stats for sites that have the same content in multiple places.

mensuelles Archives

Recent Entries

  • Steve Jobs

    "Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because...

  • Your privacy on MOTOBLUR by Motorola

    After the Nokia Ovi Store carelessness, it's now Motorola who's allowing strangers to get access to your private information on their MOTOBLUR portal. Exactly like...

  • How to resume a broken ADC download

    (I'm documenting this trick for myself to remember, but it can be useful for others…) Apple, on its Apple Developer Connection site, has a bad...

  • WTF is this ‘myEventWatcherDiv’ doing in my web?

    All of a sudden I started to find the following line in most of the web pages I was browsing, including ones I made where...

  • Your privacy on Nokia Ovi Store

    My friend Adam Greenfield recently complained about the over-engineering culture at Nokia: I was given an NFC phone, and told to tap it against the...