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How to create and test links to "folders?"

Like most web servers, the server on which my web site is hosted is configured to serve a default page ("index.html") when a request is made for a subdirectory of the site (e.g., entering "http://mysite/subdirectory/" returns the file "http://mysite/subdirectory/index.html").

Darren Collins discusses this topic on his site (see http://www.pool-room.com/CodeCraft/CityDesk/IndexPages.html ).

I make extensive use of this feature on my site, in keeping with the notion of "URL usability" (see http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/us-cranky8.html?dwzone=usability ).

Here's my question:

My site, which I'm in the process of converting to CityDesk with much success and pleasure (Thanks, Fog Creek Software!), has only one template. The template includes a navigation menu for the major sections of the site. In my hand-created version, I marked up these links as href="/subdirectory/". On the server, the leading slash resolved as "http://mysite/" and the "index.html" file in directory "subdirectory" was returned. I'd love to be able to navigate my entire site in CityDesk's Preview tool, but so far it seems my only options to accomplish that are:

1. Continue to mark up the links as "/subdirectory/", which "breaks" CityDesk's Preview, OR

2. Link to the Magic Name of the index.html article in each folder. This results in links being published as "http://mysite/subdirectory/index.html", which "breaks" my neat, clean URLs by including "index.html" needlessly.

Is there a way around this--other than hoping for a change in the next release :) ?

To the Fog Creek team:

While realizing the advantages of Activity Based Planning ( http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000065.html ), here are my two cents on how to implement this in a future release (should you choose, or need, to do so) :)

1. Provide the ability to right-click on folders (and the site's "root"--the top-level site icon) and "Copy Magic Name."

2. Provide a site preference/property, that allows the user to specify default files (i.e., a link to http://mysite/folder, returns http://mysite/folder/index.html).

Stephen Wilkinson-Gruber
Sunday, June 30, 2002

Stephen,  CityDesk has made me leave some of my "old ways" behind so I could take full advantage of CityDesk's features and ultimately make my life easier.  Future version may let us return to the old ways.

Let me know when you finish your site and I'll add it to my list.

tk
Sunday, June 30, 2002

I don't see what's so wrong about having "index.html" at the end of your URLs. Users don't need to type it, so it won't bother them. The only place they'll see it is in the browser address bar, and most people won't even look there.

I realise it's not strictly necessary, but I don't think it's worth much effort to try to work around it.

Darren Collins
Sunday, June 30, 2002

Thanks to TK and Darren for your replies.

Darren, you're right. Most users won't really care.

If there's an instance when I expect someone to remember and type in a URL (for example, I direct people to a section of my web site in print advertising: "Buy cool stuff at mysite/store!"), it will still work.

To the average visitor clicking on links, it's probably a non-issure.

Chalk this issue up to an old-school HTMLer (my first pages were written in vi ca. 1993-1994) trying to use new technology to do the same old thing :)

Stephen Wilkinson-Gruber
Sunday, June 30, 2002

Actually, I disagree that most users don't care. URLs quite commonly get looked at and pasted around. Major site sections relating to directories is a very good model, IMO, and not something you should give up lightly.

Honestly, I'm not even sure what the problem is. You can still use the directory style links. CityDesk doesn't require every link to be PTMFOG. *shrug*

Brad Wilson
Tuesday, July 02, 2002

But using directories won't work in preview since absolute links are not available, nor is the publish location (something mentioned in other treads ;-)

I agree that a magic name for subdirectories would be nice; only it won't work in preview unless Citydesk is clever enough to map it to index.html for preview and to directory/ for the server

Adriaan van den Brand
Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Adriaan, is exactly right. I'd like to able to create a link using the Magic Name of a directory (folder) that would be published as a link to a directory+trailing slash but have CityDesk configurable to show the index.html (or whatever I designate) file.

Brad, I'd like not to give this up. It *is* a good model. (I even found another reference: http://alistapart.com/stories/slashforward/ .) However, my own anecdotal evidence supports the idea that the notion of looking at and cutting/pasting/editing URLs is an advanced-vs.-average-user issue. You do it. I do it. But my mom doesn't.

Stephen Wilkinson-Gruber
Tuesday, July 02, 2002

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