Making future-proof archive links

Már Örlygsson has written a howto on creating ‘future-proof’ URLs in Movable type. In short, he suggests storing individual archives at http://www.example.com/archive/2003/06/17/12.35.57/. The archive file will be called index.html. I like this idea, since it will allow me to change my site, without having to change my URLs. If for example one day I decide to use PHP in my pages, all I have to do is change the template and create index.php files. Since the URL’s won’t change, no links break.
Some day I might try to implement this, but I won’t use the directory structure Már proposes (`/yyyy/mm/dd/hh.mm/`). He doesn’t use the title in the URL, since he writes in Icelandic, which has some ‘strange’ characters. I write in English, so I don’t have that problem. The other problem Már describes is that the location of the file changes if you change the title. This is true, but I also think that you think first before you post, and choose the best title possible. I have never changed a title of a post afterwards, and am not planning to do so in the future. I do see that this might be a small risk.
I also won’t use a directory-level for the day. Not only because I don’t post that much, but even if in the future I start posting three entries each day, the 90 files per directory won’t be a big problem. The benefit of keeping the URL short and clear is more important for me. When I want to reread a message, I often just type in the URL. I can’t always remember the exact day, but usually I know the month and the title of the post. With these two bits of information, I can quickly look up a page. So I opt for URI’s like /archives/yyyy/mm/title_of_the_post/.

One thought on “Making future-proof archive links”

  1. Yup, the changing title “problem” isn’t really a problem for everybody. People have different posting habits. I find it sometimes a little bit difficult to find “the right” title for my entries so I often tweak the title a little bit several times after I’ve posted. Just me being anal retentive I guess 🙂
    Anyway, there’s always more than one way to do things. Good luck. 🙂

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