A URL Policy for Web Projects
Post from August 22, 2013 (↻ June 9, 2021), filed under Web Development (feed).
This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development.
Do your projects suffer from URL inconsistencies? I just noticed how mine do. I also noticed that I did some unnecessary things, like omitting protocols when they were actually useful. And I noticed that I’ve seen similar problems in corporate projects before. So I jotted down a quick “policy.”
Use the shortest available, non-redirecting URL. For example, make all site references relative if possible; root-relative URLs (
/foo) may be allowed on pages that serve as their own error pages. And, of course, omit “index.html” and other files names if they effectively serve as a DirectoryIndex. (Reason: more focused.)
Don’t omit the protocol unless the host site is available through both http and https. (Reason: faster—to avoid http to https redirects, assuming a http host site with links to target sites that live on https.)
Prefer https over http references. (Reason: more secure.)
Be consistent per site. (Reason: more maintainable.)
Mileage may vary, so this is more of an idea for other projects’ URL policies. Maybe you have a preference for absolute URLs. Maybe you have an SSL certificate, in which case you want to force https. Maybe you’re not as concerned about consistency. And maybe you see something that I missed, or found something to work better?
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
Maybe this is interesting to you, too:
- Next: The Art of Saying Thank You, One Thousand Times
- Previous: Surveillance Kills Democracy
- More under Web Development, or from 2013
- Most popular posts
Looking for a way to comment? Comments have been disabled, unfortunately.
Get a good look at web development? Try The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.