[wp-hackers] Some Thoughts/Enhancement Ideas In And Around TheCategory Side Of Things

Dougal Campbell dougal at gunters.org
Thu Feb 11 20:20:17 UTC 2010

On Feb 11 2010 9:51 AM, Otto wrote:
> [...]
> URIs are not path structures. They are distinct identifiers. They do
> not inherently have hierarchy. The URI of /category/whatever is not
> some kind of subclass of /category, and just because
> /category/whatever works doesn't mean /category is a legitimate URI.
> [...]

True, technically. But can you honestly say that you've never tried 
traversing up through a deep-linked URL structure in order to reach a 
more general page? For example, if you have a deep link to a particular 
printer model at a manufacturer's site, but it's not the exact model you 
need, so you hack off the end of the URL in hopes of getting a list of 
products in the same family?

I don't know about you, but I've done that countless times over the 
years. While URLs do not *have* to be hierarchical from a technical 
point of view, the fact is that they often *are* hierarchical in 
practice. That's less true today, with all of our fancy-schmancy CMS 
software and URL routing gizmos. But in the past, the URL structure very 
often was fed directly from a disk directory structure. So it's pretty 
natural for many people to 'hack' a URL by peeling layers off, in order 
to manually navigate to a desired area (I think there's even a Firefox 
extension that lets you do just that, with the press of a toolbar button).

And while I don't disagree with your "who cares, because it's not 
technically a valid URL?" position, I do think that it would be nice to 
be able to map those empty URLs. At the very least, we should be able to 
have a theme template that gives an appropriate archive listing for the 
taxonomy in question. For you and I, "who cares" is fine. But for 
somebody else, it's an oversite that looks like a site flaw.

And going further, I do think that we should probably be thinking about 
more robust URL routing as Mike Schinkel has mentioned several times. 
The current system, while it serves us well for the most part, has 
evolved over time on top of a particular set of assumptions about how 
WordPress would manage content. But more and more people are stretching 
WordPress in ways that get farther away from its blogging roots, and run 
up against the limitations imposed by those assumptions.

This is a Good Thing. As we continue to challenge our own assumptions 
about just exactly what WordPress *is*, we continue to push forward what 
WordPress *will become*. In trying to work around yesterday's 
limitations, we often end up defining tomorrow's features.

Sorry, I got a little philosophical there. But what I'm trying to say is 
that just because this particular issue isn't *technically* a bug, 
there's no reason why we shouldn't make it work better and to our advantage.

Dougal Campbell <dougal at gunters.org>

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