Simon Willison on Using rev=canonical To Help Solve The Short URL Problem

I was going to write a post about short URLs over the weekend and share my view on some possible solutions, but Simon beat me to the punch. Since his knowledge of web technologies is far greater than mine, I highly recommend reading his post.

What I’ll add is my own plan for FarukAt.es, which I’ll be upgrading to WordPress 2.7 for as this link shortener plugin (which is 2.7 and above, only) is capable of implementing the solution I had in the works for when I can turn this website into a custom-made Django one.

So here’s what I’ve been planning ever since I discovered how Newsvine handles their URLs:

  1. Canonical URLs on my site follow this format: http://farukat.es/journal/<YYYY>/<MM>/<ID>-<slug>, for example:
    http://farukat.es/journal/2009/02/170-please-give-us-the-context

  2. Short URLs for each of them will exist at the following address, each of which will perform a 301 Redirect to their Canonical version. The example above would have this Short URL:
    farukat.es/p170

  3. Each post will also come with a visible text field (readonly) with the Short URL in it for easier sharing, and/or I’ll have a “Share on Twitter” button that will use the Short URL.

Pages elsewhere on my site will most likely not require a Short URL, but if they do, my choice of using the prefix “p” for my blog posts allows me to specify them using a different letter or short-code.

Again, I highly recommend reading Simon’s post about this matter and following suit to make your own site provide accessible Short URLs for your own pages and/or blog posts. The more sites that do this, the better we’ll all be off in the long run.