Those of you who read my blog know that I strongly believe in the importance of URL design. For years it bothered me that we’ve see so many URLs on the web that look like the following example of poor URL design from Jeffrey Veen‘s 2001 book The Art & Science of Web Design:
Back in Aug of 2005 I finally got my thoughts together and wrote the post Well Designed Urls are Beautiful. Well, from anecdotal evidence (I don’t track stats on my blog stats very closely) it appears that post has become my blogs my popular post!The popularity of that post combine with the several others facts inspired me to go ahead and launch a website with the following mission:
"Providing best practices for URL design, and to raise awareness of the importance of URL design especially among providers of server software and web application development tools."
The "facts" I referenced above are:
- I continue to feel strongly about URL design yet many are still oblivious to the benefits,
- I still have a lot more to say on the topic, and
- It appears that good URL design is one of the many tenants of Web 2.0 partly because of AJAX, Mashups, and REST-based APIs meaning that it won’t be such an uphill battle!
The name of the website/wiki is WellDesignedUrls.org and for it I have the following goals:
- To create a list of "Principles" as best practices for good URL design,
- To cultivate how-to articles about implementing good URL designs on the various platforms like ASP.NET, LAMP and Ruby on Rails, servers like IIS and Apache, and web development tools like Visual Web Developer and Dreamweaver,
- To cultivate general how-to articles and resources for tools such as mod_rewrite and ISAPI Rewrite and others,
- To cultivate "solutions sets" for mod_rewrite and ISAPI Rewrite and others that can clean up the URLs on well known open-source and commericial web applications,
- To grade web applications, websites, and web development tools by giving them a "report card" on how well or how poorly they follow best URL design practices,
- To document URL structure of major web applications and major websites,
- To recognize people who are "Champions for the URL Design cause" (those who’ve written articles and essays promoting good URL design), and
- To providing resources for further reading about good URL design.
The wiki is clearly new and thus a work in progress, so it will probably be a while before it realizes all these things I mention. However, as I have time and am able to recruite others to help, I think it will become an important advocate for good url design and a great central resource for best practices. And if you’ve read this far, I’m hoping that you’ll consider either contributing when you feel you have something relevent, or at least use start considering the value of URL design in your own web application development and also point people in the wiki’s direction when applicable.Thanks in advance for the help!P.S. I also plan to launch a WellDesignedUrl blog in the near future.
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