• A URL is (maybe not) forever

    May 17 2007

    Last year, I wrote that A URL is forever. Well, like any good hypocrite, I went and changed my URLs yesterday.

    I used to have URLs like:

    /blog/2007/5/a-url-is-maybe-not-forever

    Originally I thought having the date in there would make my site more scalable, so in 100 years (ha!), I wouldn't have a problem of finding a unique URL for my blog posts. Yesterday, I decided I'd rather have shorter URLs and just make myself come up with unique URLs for my blog posts (a matter of taste, really). So now my URLs look something like this:

    /blog/a-url-is-maybe-not-forever

    So yes, my URLs weren't forever. But I didn't just change them all and break all the old URLs. No, the original URLs all still work. To do this, I added a 301 (permanent) redirect to my .htaccess file, like this:

    RewriteEngine on
    
    # need this forever
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/blog/d{4}/d+/.+
    RewriteRule ^blog/d{4}/d+/(.*)$ http://www.thefutureoftheweb.com/blog/$1 [L,R=301]
    

    Now, for the life of this site, I have to support both styles of URLs (at least for all blog posts posted before today). That's a sacrifice I'll have make to have shorter URLs. And that's really what's important: once a URL is released into the wild, it should always bring someone to the page it originally referenced, even if the preferred URL for that page changes.

  • Comments

    1. awflasher at 12:46am on May 18, 2007

    But.. However, the external links suffers a lot after the change of URL:(
    You have to redirect them once and once.
    What do u think of this ?

    2. Jesse Skinner at 5:11am on May 18, 2007

    Yep, that's the sacrifice I'll have to make. But it actually doesn't add much work, because every time I updated my 'about-me' page, I ended up with a new URL, eg. /blog/2006/4/about-me, etc. so I had redirects in place to bring people to my newest one anyway. Now, I've gotten rid of these and just have /blog/about-me. I think the separation of dates from the URL has its benefits.

    3. awflasher at 11:12am on May 21, 2007

    What about the Pagerank you will sacrifice ?
    will the 301 redirect a pr6 page to a pr0 page make sense that the pr0 page will get a pr6 in the next google dance ~?

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