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Friendly URLs (permalinks)


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Friendly URLs are, in my opinion, an essential element of any content management system. No one likes a long, ugly URL. But more importantly, no one likes link rot—least of all the site owner who may lose their precious search engine rank when a URL changes. For this reason, a URL should never be dependant on the underlying platform. Here's an example of such a URL, from Blesta's Knowledge Base plugin:


Aside from being unnecessarily long, the URL also includes the following, platform-specific data:

  1. Blesta's Knowledge Base is a 'plugin'.
  2. The plug-in is called 'Support Manager'.
  3. The article is the 12th one that was added to the database.
  4. The article belongs to the 5th category that was added to the database.

Each of these is a point at which the URL is likely to break if and when the underlying software platform changes. A platform agnostic URL, or permalink, is a URL that should never change, and it's a critical element of website design/development. Tim Berners-Lee stated this firmly in the 1998 article, Cool URIs don't change, where he espoused the concept of URI design.

I request that Blesta introduce a permalink feature, which is accessible via the UI, easy to use, and central to the design of the whole system. The Knowledge Base, perhaps, needs special attention, so that database table row IDs are never part of the article URLs. (routes.php does not fulfil these requirements.)

Without this feature, the user must go to considerable effort to manually create many individual redirects using Apache configuration files or .htaccess files.

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