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#1 Vapor

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

In the planning stages of coding a bulletin board software and was wondering why all the "popular" software uses often confusing and ugly urls?
Why give us an option for "pretty urls" if they know they are ugly? Are they coded like crap from the beginning and then they just give up on clean urls or is there a bonus to ugly urls that I do not see?

Example:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=492786.0
https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=571070
http://community.mybb.com/thread-132481.html

Why can't urls be like so:
http://yoursite.com/forum-category/a-cool-post-title
http://yoursite.com/support/help
http://yoursite.com/marketplace/bad-behavior-plugin

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#2 premiso

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:34 AM

Because no one has felt like attempting to code it and do it.

Last I checked phpBB was OpenSource, you could code it and submit the patch / plugin to get the URLs you want. And also with forums that have tons of users, duplicate topics will probably happen, and it is just easier to use the id's as appose to coming up with an algorithm to handle that. 

Edited by premiso, 17 January 2013 - 11:35 AM.

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#3 Vapor

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:51 PM

Yes, I understand about topic id numbers but why wouldn't you keep that in the database? Why does the id number need to jumble up the url ?
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#4 premiso

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:56 PM

why wouldn't you keep that in the database? Why does the id number need to jumble up the url ?


Because it is the unique identifier? Either or, I would say give it a try to pretty up the URLs and see how it goes, maybe you will then understand why. 
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#5 Mad programmer

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:22 AM

Hmm a while ago I wrote a furl like system for my proprietary forum software. It created the urls like this:

http://forum.dev/category/forum/(id here)/topic-title-goes-here

With this furl it is possible to have duplicate titles since you match the url on the id.

#6 cpd

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:08 AM

What's the point in having the title in the resource identifier at all if it works on the ID?
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#7 RobertP

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

What's the point in having the title in the resource identifier at all if it works on the ID?


SEO of course
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#8 Vapor

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:31 PM

Well it seems we are going back to our original plan of forking mybb.

It has a built in feature for seo too :)
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#9 premiso

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

SEO of course


You do realize that those URLs do nothing for SEO. They are just friendlier to use / prettier to look at.
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#10 Jessica

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

You do realize that those URLs do nothing for SEO. They are just friendlier to use / prettier to look at.

Pretty URLs are used in SEO. 
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#11 cpd

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

Friendly URLs aren't used for SEO, they're used to make it easier for the end user to navigate websites. If a URL is used at all its the domain name not the trailing information. The likes of wikipedia use them so users can go straight to a page as opposed to going through a search engine or their search feature. If you had to remember a long URL to find a page it wouldn't be as friendly. That's why I questioned why the the title is in the URL if it doesn't help locate the resource at all.
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#12 Jessica

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

URLs including the entire URL - DO matter for SEO. Search engines DO look at keywords in the URL. 

Edit: Here's an article that explains more in depth how each part of a URL is interpreted by a search engine. For example it talks about the difference in using _ and -. 
http://searchenginel...ractices-134218

Edited by Jessica, 21 January 2013 - 02:36 PM.

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#13 requinix

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:41 PM

Re: IDs in the URL (which I think has already been addressed)

What's to stop two people from creating threads with nearly identical titles? Especially something like "HELP"
http://www.example.com/forums/php/help
and the more urgent "HELP!!!"
http://www.example.com/forums/php/help
The title alone isn't unique. The ID is a very easy and low-impact solution: stick it somewhere in the URL so that you can pull it out and make the rest look as pretty as you want.
(meanwhile the forum name is probably unique enough to be by itself, but there's something to be said about the consistency of "name-id" for both the forum and the thread)

Re: Friendly URLs

They're one more thing search engines can look at. Certainly relevant, though I don't think they matter as much as some people think they do. It's not like changing the structure of your URLs will suddenly bump you up in the rankings. Page content matters a helluva lot more than the URL (which the prevalence and effectiveness of phishing demonstrates). "Oh but that's what the user sees, not the search engine!" The whole point of a search engine is to get people to the pages they want to see when they don't actually know where it is. They have to rank pages according to how real people see them; if they ranked otherwise then they would be pointless because they'd be so ineffective that nobody would use them. Quite logically, the most effective search engine will be one that sees pages the same way users do. Blah blah blah.

#14 premiso

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:03 PM

Edit: Here's an article that explains more in depth how each part of a URL is interpreted by a search engine. For example it talks about the difference in using _ and -.
http://searchenginel...ractices-134218


Sorry, I tend to take articles written by self proclaimed SEO experts very lightly.

http://goo.gl/Qfc9w

That is a PDF written by Google about SEO Practices for their search engine. They state that no matter URL format used, they do their best for the relevant content and not just the URL. Now, for other search engines other than Google, it may matter. However, I doubt it matters as much as people think it does and as far as it being the effort just for SEO, I think it is not worth it. However, if you want people to be able to know what they are going to by the URL, then it is worth it.

My 2 cents from my experiences.
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#15 Vapor

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:02 AM

Ok, how can this be achieved?

1. Joe starts a thread titled "molson ice beer is the best"....
2. Ben starts a thread titled "moson ice beer is the best"....

Can this somehow be coded that duplicate titles merely get a numeral added Or an ajax warning message gets thrown to the op to re-title the thread?
Becoming:
"molson ice is the best"
"molson ice is the best2"
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#16 kicken

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:01 AM

You could, but:

merely get a numeral added


Is really no different than sticking the ID# in the URL and

ajax warning message gets thrown to the op to re-title the thread?


would frustrate your users to no end as more and more topics get created and the likelihood of a collision increases.


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