Permalinks – Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell on date-based permalinks:

We’re all familiar with those URLs. The date of the post is explicit, so you need never wonder when it was written, or how recent it is.

Here’s the thing, though: they’re horrible.

On the other hand, I don’t think date-encrusted URLs are horrible at all. In fact, I often wish they were mandatory on anything even remotely time-sensitive.

They’re visually ugly.

Not really. They contain information and information is beautiful.

The page itself has the date of the post on it anyway. In the few cases where it doesn’t, that’s a deliberate design choice, and you’re not meant to be focusing on it.

I can’t think of a single form of writing anywhere for which the publish date is unimportant. Deliberately hiding the date may be a design decision, but it’s a terrible one.

I’d like to invite you to shorten your URLs, and get rid of the date cruft. By all means show the date of each article on the page, but get it out of your permalinks.

Ok then, I’ll accept your invitation. Perhaps I’ve been wrong. One way to find out: my links just went from /2015/02/my-title to /my-title.

UPDATE 2015-02-25: That lasted about 10 minutes. I hate having no idea when something was written before clicking and having to scan around the page looking for the date. I agree that shorter is better so I’m now only including the year, so /2015/my-title. I think we can afford 4 (technically 5 with the “/") extra characters.