Discussion for Permalinks Considered Harmful.

The basic questions are:

  • Are PermaLinks annoying and unintuitive to users?
  • What should be done to them?
  • Is browsing (with a web browser) really the natural way to access weblogs?
  • How to cope with URL brittleness?

Here are a bunch of uncollected things that somehow relate to this matter:

-- JanneJalkanen, 27-May-2003

That's an excellent summary and extension of the ideas we discussed, thanks! Some comments:

I think the main functions of a weblog are to be read and to be written. Being discussed about is seen as a secondary requirement and thus the main discussion-enabling feature, the PermaLink, is not given much weight. PermaLinks are thought of as additional attributes rather than as the main identifiers of blog entries.

How about trying to make a weblog front page look and feel like an Rss reader? Or even to get completely replace the front page with some central Rss-Html gateway?

-- JukkaZitting, 27-May-2003

Or just evangelize RSS more than it is now? Hm. How about trying an RSS-only weblog? Though, the front page of the WebLog is a selling point - nobody is going to order an RSS feed just to see what it contains. Also, most search engines do not understand RSS yet.

-- JanneJalkanen, 28-May-2003

I'm not sure about that approach. Maybe in some limited cases, but for the rest of the world the browser will still be the tool of choise for many years to come. Unless RSS support is properly integrated in the major browsers (mostly IE), I don't see that as a viable option. Practically every client computer attached to the network has a browser nowadays, and you can expect to browse your favorite weblogs from anywhere without problems.

There's also the problem of multiple different user interfaces. I myself do not use RSS readers because I find it easier to use just one tool for all my web browsing. It's the same reason why almost no-one uses separate FTP programs anymore to download files from FTP servers. It's all in the browser.

-- JukkaZitting, 30-May-2003

This BTW is one of the reasons I use nntp//rss as my RSS aggregator - it integrates so nicely into my Mozilla :-).

-- JanneJalkanen, 30-May-2003

Dang, I was just about to mention nntp//rss!

-- LanceLavandowska, 30-May-2003

So here's a thought - although I'd never recommend it, the main problem here is that weblogs break the metaphor of 'taster' content versus 'full' content that's been well established elsewhere. That is to say that if each entry only displayed a paragraph on the front page, and then had a 'read on' link, then the problem wouldn't exist. The problem exists because we refuse to accept the idea of presenting incompleteness and that's where the problem lies. An alternative suggestion would just be to put a list of recent entries' titles on the front page of a site. All this stuff breaks the fact that we want to keep things complete and immediate... So it won't work...

Best thing I can come up with is a replacement of the permalink with an immediate 'blog this' embedded piece of javascript or something that rather than linking through to the post in question, triggers a posting window with the correct permanent link already filled in. But that doesn't solve the problem of people wanting to throw entries around between themselves and their friends by e-mail...

-- Tom Coates, 12- June- 2003

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« This page (revision-17) was last changed on 04-Jul-2010 12:56 by Harry Metske